Q: The power went out and my sump pump stopped running, but there wasn't a flood. Am I covered?
I know that if I have damage in my home caused by a flood, I need a special flood policy to cover that, but what about water damage that is not the result of a flood? My area gets severe storms at certain times of the year, and I want to make sure I am covered if something like this happens.
A: Possibly. It all depends on whether or not you have coverage for backup of sewers and drains as part of your homeowner's insurance policy. This is a good example of why, when people say that all insurance policies are the same, I say “Baloney!” Some home insurers include this coverage automatically, others require you to purchase an additional rider in order to get it, and still others do not offer this coverage at all.
An endorsement for coverage for backup of sewers and drains will add to your overall premium costs, but it is a great thing to carry, particularly if you have sump pumps protecting a finished basement. This is because unlike flood insurance, this insurance will provide coverage for the contents in your finished basement if they are damaged by water due to a drainage backup, and this damage has the potential to amount to thousands of dollars.
A less expensive way to mitigate your risk of sump pump overflow caused by power outages is to simply install pumps that feature battery-backup, and periodically check that the batteries are still operational. This will allow the pumps to keep running while the power is out—provided it comes back on within a reasonable time frame. If you prefer to have the insurance coverage as well, these battery-backup sump pumps may help to reduce your coverage rates a bit.
If you are unsure whether or not your policy includes coverage for backup of sewers and drains, you can speak with a local Trusted Choice® independent agent who can review your current policy with you. If your provider does not offer this coverage and you want it, your agent can help you find a competitively-priced policy that does.