Home Insurance: What is Water Back-Up Insurance

Jul 8, 2022 | Personal Insurance

Home insurance, also called homeowner’s insurance, is a type of property coverage that protects a private residence. It is an insurance policy that combines various personal insurance protections. This can include losses that may happen to one’s home, its contents, loss of use, or loss of the homeowner’s other personal belongings as well as liability insurance for unfortunate events that may occur within the property. Or at the hands of the homeowner within the insured premises. A standard homeowner’s insurance plan insures your house’s structure and belongings in a destructive event, such as a fire. While insurance for condominiums and co-op- apartments generally covers your belongings, liability, and certain parts of the interior structure as defined in the by-laws or proprietary lease. In this article, we will discuss what water backup insurance is. So, kindly read along.

Standard Homeowners Insurance Policies

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers certain types of water damage as long as it’s sudden, accidental, and originated on the insured property. That means water damage caused by a burst pipe or broken HVAC. Or, a protective sprinkler system would all be under standard coverage.

Wind-driven rain that enters your residence through an opening due to such perils would also be covered. Water backup insurance is among the most essential and widely-utilized homeowner’s insurance coverage enhancements—and for a good reason. It also protects the backup of water or waterborne materials through a sewer or drain and water or waterborne material that overflows from a sump, even if the backup of water is due to the mechanical breakdown of the sump pump.

Coverage includes damage to covered property but excludes the sump pump and any related broken equipment. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the number of reported sewer backups is increasing by around 3% annually.

Furthermore, the country’s 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are around thirty years old on average. Water is one of the major causes of damage in houses and represents many insurance claims. Water damage to your home can result from several sources, such as: 

  • Plumbing and appliances
  • Severe weather or storms
  • Accidents
  • Infiltration through openings, windows, or doors

More About Standard Homeowners Insurance Policies

It is helpful to know what your insurance will cover for a water damage claim. Since the cost to repair water damage on your own can be a bit expensive.

If water damage is sudden and accidental, there is a probability that you may be part of the coverage by most standard home insurance policies. This will depend on the type of insurance policy you have. Your standard homeowner policy will include the following:

  • Damages are due to the weight of ice, snow, or sleet.
  • Discharge and overflow of water, even if it resulted from an accident.
  • Burning, cracking, tearing apart, bulging of steam, or heating system.
  • Freezing of plumbing and pipes.

Some types of water damage are pretty straightforward. It’s helpful to be familiar with three of them. When you call to make a claim and to find out if you’re part of the coverage, the insurance company may use terms like:

  • Sewer backup or water backup 
  • Overflow and discharge
  • Flood

Water or Sewer Backup Coverage

Sewer Backup happens when something blocks the normal flow of wastewater from your house to the city’s sewage system. And that same wastewater starts to back up into your home’s pipes. It describes what happens when water enters your house through the pipes from sewer or drainage systems. It is a very unpleasant sort of water damage. Since it often involves dirty water from the drainpipes that will damage your private property and affect your health due to being unsanitary.

There are several potential sources of sewer backup:

  • Blockage of a city sanitary main: If the city main gets blocked, it may cause water to back up into your home through your pipes. 
  • Aging sewer systems that need an update or repair. 
  • Tree roots: When you have older pipes, sewer lines, and water entry pipes, tree roots can find their way into the pipes and cause blockages. You can check for this problem on your own lines by having a plumber check your pipelines with a camera. And do some basic preventative maintenance in your residence. 
  • City-related pipeline issues like combined pipelines or problems in the sanitary main: When the system you are using combines the sewage and stormwater into one pipeline instead of having a separate pipeline for each, these are combined pipelines. The system can get overwhelmed in a storm, and the water can return to your house. 
  • Back-up or Overflow of the sewerage systems in your home. If your gutter or rainwater pipes are blocked or have a lot of debris or experience a sudden water flush, it may cause a back-up into your house.

Overflow and Discharge Water Damage

Accidental discharge or overflow from plumbing is usually part of standard home policies. An overflow occurs when water bursts from the confines of a sewage system due to reaching its limit. Such as, bathtub water spilling over and spreading all over the bathroom floor is an overflow. Discharge occurs when water is flowing out from, say,  a leaking pipe. Nothing is blocking the water flow, and there’s no overflow, but it is just leaking in the wrong place. However, homeowners’ insurance may help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental. Such as the washing machine’s supply hose suddenly breaking or the pipe bursting.

Flood Water Damage

Insurance would look at a flood claim as a body of water overflowing to the point that it causes a flood and enters your home. It is a general and temporary situation of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and properties of normally dry land. To understand whether you have an accurate flood or water damage claim to determine if more than one home is affected. If only your place is affected, you probably don’t have a flood claim even though you feel flooded. It could be a covered water damage claim if it is sudden and accidental.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies accommodate cover water damage if the cause is unexpected and unintentional. Two types of coverage with the homeowners’ insurance policy may apply.

Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling Coverage helps pay for damage to the structure of your residence if a covered peril damages it. 

Personal Property Coverage

Personal Property Coverage helps pay for damage to your belongings if a covered risk damages them.  However, coverage limits may apply, so check how much coverage your policy includes or provides.

There are types of water damage that are not included, such as:

Damage from Unresolved Maintenance Issues

The coverage generally will not be applied if the damage results from an unresolved maintenance issue, such as continued leaking near a faucet or other plumbing fixture.

Repairing or Replacing the Source of the Water Damage

Most homeowners’ insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage. Your policy may cover the cost of tearing out and replacing that damaged floor, you must not expect it to cover the cost of replacing your broken dishwasher or washing machine.

But remember, there are several exclusions to be aware of with this endorsement. For one, it won’t pay to repair or replace a broken sump pump—you’ll need equipment breakdown coverage. Additionally, it doesn’t cover water damage that results from flooding, surface water, waves, tsunamis, tidal water, or overflow of any body of water, including your pool.

However, even if the damage is covered, it is still easier to have any water damage. The following tips can help prevent water damage in your home:

  • Inspect and replace hoses going to and from washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
  • Be careful to ensure water supply lines are clear and open. If they run under other objects, ensure they are not crimped or pinched.
  • Drain water heaters twice a year to prevent sediment build-up
  • Prevent frozen pipes by keeping them warm and insulated.
  • Hire a water damage contractor in your area to treat the damage promptly. Your independent insurance agent can help you find someone if needed.
  • A wi-fi connected thermostat that prevents your place from becoming cold enough for pipes to freeze may help.


It is important to know about Water Back up Insurance and keep up with home maintenance to help prevent unsanitary perils and avoid damages caused by water. It is also a good idea to check with your agent or provider about what is and isn’t covered by your homeowner’s policy for extra protection and coverage. You should ask if any additional coverage is available that may be appropriate or fit for your residence. 

And if you’re ready to take that step in getting the help you need with coverage for a possible flood-prone area or just want clarification on your policy, do not hesitate to contact us today here at Team AIS in Denver, CO. Say “hi!” to us in our chatbox at the lower right-hand of your screen. We will respond at the soonest possible time.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that some of Advantage Insurance Solutions’ articles may have affiliate links from the Amazon Associates Program, with no additional charge to the reader. Before we publish a review, we utilize and evaluate the products we recommend. In addition to the products we’ve personally tested, we’ve received recommendations from many of our readers. That said, we want to make sure it is clear that if you use our links to purchase something, we will receive a small compensation from it. Thank you.