How to protect yourself from sewer back-ups

Habitation How to protect yourself from sewer back-ups

When wastewater that needs to be removed from your property travels in the wrong direction, you can end up with quite a mess. Learn more about what a sewer back-up involves and how adding an endorsement to your home insurance policy can protect you from it. 

Causes of sewer back-ups

Heavy rainfall during extreme weather events or snowmelt can sometimes result in more water than your building infrastructure can handle, leading to overflow or back-up. What comes up into the building from the sewers is far from clean. These incidents damage floors, walls, furniture, appliances and other property, and require extensive clean-up and decontamination work. Renovations or reconstruction are often necessary to repair or replace damaged property and materials. 

A common and costly loss

In Quebec, sewer back-ups and ground infiltration account for one-third of water damage incidents. The average claim value for this type of loss is over $12,000. This amount can be even higher in the case of a ground floor condo, a finished basement with a family room and bedrooms, or if valuable items are stored in the affected area. 

Additional home insurance coverage

Even with an all-risks coverage, certain losses are usually excluded from home insurance and require an endorsement

This includes Ground Water and Sewers coverage to insure your property against sudden and accidental damage caused by water from leaks, overflow or back-up from sewers, French drains, septic tanks and sumps. This endorsement also applies when ground or surface water enters buildings through walls, foundations, soil or openings (such as basement doors and windows).

What to do in the event of a sewer back-up

Here’s how you can limit the damage:

  • Remove the water immediately. You can use a portable pump and hose to drain water away from the building
  • Protect your property. Transfer your belongings to the upper floors. If possible, move your furniture and appliances or elevate them using construction materials.
  • Notify your insurer as soon as possible for help with the next steps.
  • Clean and dry exposed surfaces and property to prevent contamination.
  • Keep your receipts for any expenses related to the incident.
  • Document the damage and your losses with photos or video.

 

Other topics that may interest you:

endorsements

water damage

prevention

home insurance

condo insurance

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