The Icky Truth About Septic Tank Failure

Septic tank failure is risk you might think you’re covered for.  In the insurance industry, it’s known as sewer backup, water back-up or sometimes “rising water” (not to be confused with flood) coverage.

Would you believe this coverage is NEVER part of a standard homeowner’s policy or the National Flood Insurance Program?!   Instead, this type of coverage is an endorsement to the homeowner’s insurance policy that covers property damaged by water that backs up into the home through drains, sewer, pipes, water-service, septic tank and any other type of fluid transfer system from the house.

What Happens When You Aren’t Covered
Septic Tank Failure Leads to Sewer Water Backup

“Black Water” is highly contaminated and originates from toilet, sewer and septic system back-ups or overflows and contains human and/or animal waste.

This type of damage is the worst type of water loss you can have—a “black water” loss. Black water may contain human waste, pathogens and infectious materials and is teeming with thousands of disease causing viruses, bacteria and protozoa that can cause very serious illnesses if not properly treated.

Because black water losses are dangerous to the health and safety of building occupants, they must be restored to a higher Standard of Care according to the ANSI-Approved IICRC S500 and S520 standards. Anything less can result in serious and even fatal illnesses to occupants as well as significant diminishment of the property’s value.

These severe losses require the removal and replacement of contaminated items and the use of specialized decontamination techniques that cost far more than a clean water loss to restore. And if you don’t have this type of coverage you will have to pay for this restoration out of pocket—an amount that can easily cost $10,000.00 or more!

What to Do Next

Call us at Chapman Insurance and ask if you have an endorsement for septic tank failure, sewer back-up, water back-up or rising water coverage on your homeowner’s policy. Be clear that you are not inquiring about flood insurance (which is another issue altogether).This type of coverage is typically quite reasonable in cost and a small price to pay to protect you from substantial risk to your home. If this can fit into your budget, purchase this coverage immediately!

If you are covered, congratulations!  You may want to check the amount of coverage and if more is available, get that quoted and increase your coverage.

Should you submit a claim for damage caused by a septic tank failure the adjuster may want to inspect your septic tank to make sure it was properly serviced and maintained. If it isn’t in good working order or is clogged because you failed to keep it operational your claim could be denied and your insurance rate may go up! To avoid this, you can contact your local plumber to have them perform a septic tank inspection as well as discuss several available back-up options.

THIS INFORMATION is courtesy of:  Accutech Restoration & Remodeling

As a restoration contractor we are the company called in to clean up after a wide variety of water, sewer, fire and storm damage situations. One of the nastiest of these is when a septic tank fails or a sewer backs up into a home or business.

It’s bad enough when a policyholder comes home to find 2” of raw sewage in their basement but to find out they have no insurance coverage for the loss can be devastating!  As the strategic restoration partner of your insurance agent we want to provide you with information that most people only discover the hard way—after they’ve had a loss like this that isn’t covered.