A homeowners insurance policy is made up of a number of separate coverages and endorsements, and one that is often misunderstood is the policy’s Backup Coverage Endorsement.
You may not understand what it’s for, why you may need it, or how much it covers, and that’s completely understandable. An insurance policy can be a confusing document.
But recently, when I needed to use my own Backup Coverage following an insurance claim, I realized just how little the average homeowner understands this coverage and, more concerning, how many homeowners didn’t think it was worth having!
What is Backup Coverage?
Most insurance policies cover a Pipe Break, but what happens if water backs up through your sump pump? What happens if your sump pump fails or can’t keep up during a heavy rain? What if Sewage Backs Up from the municipal sewer system into your home? Well, that’s where your Backup Coverage comes in.
This coverage, which generally has its own limit defined in your policy, covers damage that results from a Water or sewage backup and can be used for mitigation services, replacement of damaged items, or repairs!
How much Backup Coverage is enough?
This all depends on what may be damaged if you ever experience a water or sewage backup, but please consider that a backup can range from an inch or less to a couple of feet! In my particular instance, my sump pump failed and my basement soon had 2 feet of water in it. This was particularly surprising to me, as my basement has never before had a water issue, let alone one this severe.
Ultimately, the amount of water in my basement was enough to result in significant damage to my furnace, hot water heater, and chest freezer. So, it’s easy to see how quickly the costs escalated. While the hot water heater was able to be repaired at a nominal cost, the furnace and chest freezer did not fair quite so well. The chest freezer had to be replaced and, while a repair was attempted on the furnace, ultimately the furnace had to be replaced as well.
And that doesn’t take into consideration the mitigation and drying services necessary to avoid further damage and mold growth! So, ultimately, my claim cost came to nearly $ 9,000…
While this is certainly an extreme example, damages such as these from a backup ARE possible, and if you have, for instance, a $ 5,000 Backup Coverage limit, you will ultimately be responsible for the remainder. This is why it’s so important whenever you’re determining how much insurance coverage you may need to look at what you have, what could ultimately be damaged, and what those repairs may potentially cost. Because having extra coverage is far better than not having enough.
Where do you get Backup Coverage?
Backup Coverage is an endorsement added to your existing homeowners insurance policy, so speak with your local insurance agent to make sure you’re adequately protected, and have an appropriate amount of coverage.
Similarly, if you’re not sure if you have Backup Coverage, we recommend contacting your local insurance agent to review your policy to determine if you have the proper endorsements and if your coverage limit is adequate.
Most commonly, you’ll find Backup Coverage available in either $ 5,000 or $ 10,000 limits, but the options available may differ from insurance company to insurance company and from policy to policy.
We hope this helps you ensure you’re protected in the event of water or sewage backup. If you ever experience a water or sewage backup, please don’t hesitate to Contact Our Offices, we’re always happy to help!
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*This story originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Connections Magazine, as part of a monthly contribution made by Disaster Blaster, Inc. Please check out the current issue of Connections Magazine for this month's story!
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