For homeowners with a basement, moisture can be a problem. In fact, more than 60% of homeowners in the U.S. have some type of moisture in the basements or crawl spaces. In order to prevent the buildup of moisture, many homeowners install a sump pump.
The bad news is, sometimes sump pumps fail and basements flood. So, will your homeowners insurance pay for the water damage of a flooded basement or other damages incurred by sump pump failure? The answer might surprise you.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sump Pump Failure?
For a standard homeowners insurance policy, the simple answer to that question is no. On many policies, water damage or a flooded basement from a sump pump failure/overflow or sewer backup is considered an uncovered peril. Fortunately, you have some options when it comes to a failing or inadequate sump pump.
For some homeowners, it’s as simple as adding a secondary (or backup) sump pump. Why invest in an additional pump? Because it doesn’t take much water to cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home. Damages can include flooded basements that result in personal property being destroyed, electrical problems that create power outages, and mold and mildew problems that make your home uninhabitable — the list goes on! And why take that chance? In addition to a backup sump pump, you can also opt for what’s called an insurance endorsement.
What is an Endorsement and How Does it Work?
An endorsement, also known as a rider, is an adjustment made to your insurance policy to provide coverage for an excluded peril, in this case, a sump pump failure or water backup. And while you pay more money on your policy for the endorsement, you’re now protected if your sump pump fails and you need water backup coverage.
Just like with the rest of your insurance policy, if your sump pump fails or water backs up and floods your basement, you’ll have to pay a deductible first before your insurance company will start to pay out. Depending on your insurance company, you might be able to lower or eliminate the deductible for the sump pump endorsement, but this will raise how much you pay on your policy each month.
What Does a Sump Pump Failure/Water Backup Endorsement Cover?
If your sump pump does fail or you have a water backup in your home, the endorsement will cover any damage to your home and your personal possessions affected by the backup. Keep in mind that the endorsement won’t cover anything if the backup occurred because of negligence on your part. You can also usually choose more coverage to cover the cost of replacing a broken sump pump.
The endorsement won’t cover the cost of hiring a plumber and the installation of a new sump pump if needed. In addition, if you have to move out of your home while the problem is fixed, the endorsement won’t provide coverage for that, although you can add additional water backup coverage that pays for this cost.
When Should You Replace a Sump Pump?
Replacing a sump pump before it fails is a great way to ensure that your home remains protected, even if you have purchased water backup coverage. But how do you know when you need to replace your sump pump? Here is some important information about knowing when your sump pump might be on its way out.
Loud Noises: If your sump pump starts making loud noises, then chances are it might be getting ready to break down. At the very least, have a repairman inspect it. Maybe they will discover a fixable repair. If not, they can tell you if it needs replacing.
Constantly Running: Sump pumps aren’t designed to run constantly. If yours is, it’s an indication that something is wrong. A sump pump that is constantly running is also a strong indicator that your pump is too small for the job and might need to be replaced with a bigger unit.
Sump Pump Age: Also, sump pumps that have been in your home for over 10 years should be replaced. Wear and tear will start to have a toll over time, and the older your pump is, the greater likelihood it’ll start to act up or break down.