If Your Home's Sewer Line Bursts in Massachusetts, Will the City Pay for It?

Find out which coverage can protect you against busted sewer lines, and who's responsible for paying for the damage.
Restoring the complete outdoor home sewer. If Your Home's Sewage Line Bursts in Massachusetts, Will the City Pay for It?

Homeowners need to anticipate problems ahead of time and prepare for financial losses by equipping themselves with the right type of insurance to reimburse them. When first moving in, you might not be expecting certain disasters that can arise later on in your home's lifecycle, such as busted sewer lines. When a sewer line bursts, it can flood your home, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

But a simple homeowners insurance policy might not be enough to protect you from this type of disaster. Fortunately, an independent insurance agent in Massachusetts can help you find all the additional coverage you need against burst sewer lines and the resulting flood damage to your home. But for starters, here's a breakdown of who's responsible for the damage if this happens to you.

If a Busted Sewer Lines Floods Your Massachusetts Home, Does the City Pay?

Homeowners often fail to realize that they're actually responsible for their portion of a sewer line. The city becomes responsible for the sewer line at the point that sits past your property lines, or the main underground pipe. Wastewater in this line gets carried out to treatment plants.

If there's a break in the sewer line before the main underground sewer line portion, you're responsible for that as the homeowner. That's why it's critical to review your coverage before this type of disaster ever strikes. Flooding from burst sewer lines can be extremely expensive, not to mention messy.

How Much Does Sewer Line Repair Typically Cost? 

Sewer line repair is a hefty process, and not a cheap one. In fact, the average cost to repair a sewer line is $2,556, but costs can range from $3,000 all the way up to $25,000 depending on the extent of the damage in the break and the repairs required. If the damage isn't as serious, simpler techniques like spray lining can be used to seal cracks in the piping.

If damage is more extensive, portions of the pipe may need to be fully replaced. Depending on the extent of the damage, repairs can take several hours or even days to complete. While a sewer line is being repaired, you might need to live somewhere else, since you won't be able to run your water until it's complete.

How Does Homeowners Insurance Help?

According to insurance expert Jeffery Green, sewer backup coverage is not standard on most homeowners policies. You'd need to add an endorsement to your policy to have coverage for your burst sewer lines.

Home insurance can cover many other threats, though. Even without a sewer backup endorsement, standard homeowners insurance comes with these coverages: 

  • Dwelling coverage: Reimburses you for losses due to the damage or destruction of your home's structure or dwelling by covered perils like vandalism, snow, lightning, etc.
  • Contents coverage: Reimburses you for losses due to the damage or destruction, or loss or theft of your personal property like furniture, silverware, clothing, etc.
  • Liability coverage: Reimburses you for losses related to third-party lawsuits for claims of personal property damage or bodily injury.
  • Additional living expenses: Reimburses you for losses related to temporary housing and extra expenses if you must live somewhere else, like a hotel, while your home undergoes repairs due to a covered peril.

Having a sewer backup endorsement is crucial for getting reimbursed after a pipe bursts and floods your property. Without this endorsement, you'd be responsible for covering the entire mess on your own. Sewer backup endorsements, however, pay for the cleanup of the flooding as well as the cost to repair other damage.


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Will My Rates Be Affected Even Though I’m Not Responsible for the Bust?

That would first depend on whether your home insurance even covered the sewer line bust at all. If you had a sewer backup endorsement and your home insurance did respond to the incident, you might experience increases in your premiums afterward. Even filing one claim through your home insurance can signal to your insurer that you're more likely to file additional claims in the future, leading to an increase in your rates.

How Common Are Sewer Line Bursts in Massachusetts?

Sewer line bursts can be tragic incidents and happen more often than you might think. Here are some fast stats about sewer line bursts for Massachusetts and the US as a whole.

  • There are more than 850 sewer line breaks every single day across the US.
  • Sewer lines can break for many different reasons, even weather changes.
  • A temperature fluctuation of just 10 degrees one way or the other can be significant enough to cause a sewer line to rupture. 

With Massachusetts' extreme temperatures in the winter, sewer lines can certainly burst due to weather-related issues. Other causes of sewer line bursts can be due to shifts in the soil, or natural aging of the pipeline.

Seven Common Signs of Sewer Line Problems

You might be able to prevent a burst sewer line from being severe. Fortunately, there are a few signs and symptoms of sewer line problems that, if spotted early, can be used to treat issues before they worsen.

  1. Toilet backups: If you're getting backups in your toilet every time you flush, it could be a sign of an actual backup in your sewer line.
  2. Strange odors: You can smell sewer problems much quicker than you can see them, so if you notice a new sewage odor on or around your property, this can be cause for alarm.
  3. Mold issues: Mold inside the home can point to sewer line leaks behind your walls, and closer inspection should is warranted.
  4. Slow draining appliances: If you notice slow drainage in your toilet, sink, or bathtub, this could also be a sign of a backup or blockage in your sewer line.
  5. Picturesque grass: Noticing any patches of your lawn that look greener and healthier than others can actually be a sign of a bad thing, as it can point to leaks in your sewer line which has been fertilizing your grass.
  6. Cracks in the foundation: Cracks in your home's foundation can be a cause for alarm, as they could point to a sewer line leak and should be inspected ASAP.
  7. Pest problems: Rodents and other pests that are known to hang out in sewers, such as rats, hanging around your property all of a sudden can be another signal that something is wrong in your sewage line.

A burst sewer line and other issues can be a real headache, but having home insurance with the right sewer backup endorsement can help prevent a financial catastrophe. Since these incidents are unexpected yet common, it's helpful to review your coverage ahead of time with your Massachusetts independent insurance agent.

Why Choose a Massachusetts Independent Insurance Agent?

Massachusetts independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.

Massachusetts independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance and sewer backup coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

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