What is Sewer Malfunction Insurance and Do I Need It?

Sewer malfunction insurance will cover damage to sewers on your property that your homeowners policy won’t cover.
Written by Payton Ternus
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Sewer malfunction insurance covers sewer damage caused by trees, vermin, collapse, rust, deterioration, and other perils.
Your standard homeowners insurance likely won’t cover many instances of sewer damage. That means if there’s a sewage backup or chronic issue, you could be stuck paying the bills out of pocket unless you have sewer malfunction insurance. This extra coverage could potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
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What is sewer malfunction insurance?

Sewer malfunction insurance refers to extra insurance coverage specifically designed to cover sewers and service lines. Homeowners insurance may help cover certain damages to a sewer line on your property, but chronic issues and sewer backups are not covered
This coverage is typically offered as endorsements that can be added to your existing homeowners insurance policy. These endorsements usually cost an extra $30-$50 per year for $10,000-$20,000 in coverage.
Key Takeaway Sewer malfunction insurance can protect your home and property from sewer damage that a standard homeowners policy won’t cover.

What does sewer malfunction insurance cover?

The exact coverage of your sewer malfunction insurance will depend on the endorsements you choose. There are generally three kinds of endorsements considered to be sewer malfunction insurance: 
  • Sewage backup endorsements
  • Service line endorsements
  • Water backup coverage endorsement

Sewage backup endorsement

One endorsement you can add to your homeowners insurance policy is a sewage backup endorsement. It covers the damages associated with a sewage backup, but the physical damages are not included.
Sewage backup endorsements usually cost around $40-$50 per year for $10,000 in coverage. In the event of a major sewage backup, this coverage may not provide much financial help. Severe sewage backups can destroy homes and cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. 

Service line endorsement

If you’re wanting broader coverage for your sewer malfunction insurance, consider investing in a service line endorsement. This is not as commonly offered as other endorsements, so you may need to switch insurance companies to find it (which
can help with!)
A service line endorsement will protect your sewer lines in addition to cable lines, fiber optics, and steam pipes. This coverage will cover damage to your sewer lines caused by:
  • Collapse
  • Corrosion, decay, deterioration, and rust
  • Insects, rodents, and other vermin
  • Roots and trees
  • Wear and tear
  • Weight of animals, equipment, people, and vehicles
For an extra $30-$40 per year, you can usually get this endorsement to provide somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 in service line coverage. This is an excellent endorsement to find since it covers sewers and other service lines.

Water backup coverage endorsement

Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by water, drain, or sewer backup. If you add a water backup coverage endorsement to your homeowners policy, you’ll be covered for water damage from a sewer backup. 
This endorsement will cover the cost of repairs from water damage. It can help you replace anything that was damaged, including furniture, personal belongings, flooring, and more. Adding a water backup coverage endorsement costs between $30-$70 per year for $5,000 in coverage, and each additional $5,000 in coverage can add another $25-$35 to your total.
MORE: 6 early warning signs of sewer backup

Do I need sewer malfunction insurance?

Sewer malfunction insurance is not legally required, and you won’t be penalized if you don’t have it. However, it’s highly recommended to purchase some form of extra coverage to protect your property from unforeseen sewer malfunctions.
Sewer damage and malfunction are all-too-common perils for homeowners, so having extra insurance to cover the damages can provide a little peace of mind. A small additional yearly expense could potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs!

How to take care of your sewer lines

Taking precautions with your sewer lines may help you avoid future claims with your insurance provider. Here are the best ways to take care of your sewer lines at home:
  • Replace any metal pipes with plastic pipes 
  • Keep an eye on trees and plant roots around sewer lines
  • Conduct regular plumbing inspections
  • Avoid flushing any non-biodegradable items at all costs
You may not be able to avoid all sewer damages, but doing your part is important to keep your sewer lines functioning properly over the years.

How to save on homeowners insurance

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MORE: Does homeowners insurance cover sump pump failure?


If the damage is minor, you may be able to stop the source of the leak, vacuum the water out of the carpet, clean the carpet and let it dry. However, replacing the carpet is usually the best course of action to avoid mold and mildew that can be harmful to your health.
The cost of sewer malfunction insurance depends on which endorsements you buy and if you buy more than one. One endorsement usually costs around $30-$50 for the year, and it could potentially cost an extra few hundred dollars per year depending on the amount of coverage.
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