What is water backup coverage?

Water backup coverage is a home insurance endorsement that provides coverage for a type of water damage that is excluded by standard policies.

Water damage coverage on a homeowners policy is complex; some types of damage are covered, while others are not. If a pipe suddenly bursts, the damage is covered. However, if water backs up into your home, that’s excluded. Water backup coverage adds coverage for that type of damage to your policy.

What does water backup coverage cover?

Water and sewer backup coverage covers several ways water (or even worse, sewage) can get into your home and do damage that is otherwise excluded. A water backup endorsement covers:

  • Sump pump failure and overflow
  • Clogged or blocked pipes, causing water or sewage to back up 
  • Clogged gutters causing backup of water
  • Mold caused by water backing up

Water backup coverage covers your home and personal property for damage caused by the above.

What is not covered by water backup coverage?

Water backup coverage doesn’t cover overland flooding. Home insurance excludes flood damage, even with a water backup endorsement. You will need a flood insurance policy to cover water that enters your home from an overland source, including heavy rain or a storm surge.

Damage due to wear and tear or maintenance issues is not covered by homeowners insurance, even with a backup endorsement.

“This coverage will not cover [replacement of] a sump pump, just the items or area damaged by the sump pump. It will not cover flood damage caused by flooding, waves, tsunamis, or tidal water, or maintenance issues or negligence,” Mckenzie says.

Do I need water backup coverage?

Water damage can be incredibly costly, so water backup coverage is a wise choice for any homeowner.

As with any coverage, you will need to weigh the additional cost of the coverage against the risk of that type of damage occurring and the cost if it does.

How much water backup insurance do I need?

Water backup coverage limits vary, and you can choose the amount of coverage you want, which ranges from a few thousand dollars to the full replacement cost of your house, although most are less.

“Coverage limits will vary depending on the insurance provider, most commonly the coverage can be as little as $5,000 and up to $25,000 for each occurrence,” Mckenzie says.

Water backup is unlikely to do enough damage to require the complete rebuilding of your home, but it can do significant damage. Discuss the amount of coverage you need with your insurance agent or representative to make sure you aren’t underinsured.

When should you buy water backup coverage?

You should buy water backup coverage when you take out your home insurance policy, but you can add it later if you want it.

You can change your insurance coverage throughout the policy term as your needs evolve; don’t wait until renewal and risk damage that isn’t covered.

How much does water backup coverage cost?

According to the insurance company The Hanover, water backup insurance costs range depending on the amount of coverage from $50 to $350 a year, depending on the coverage limits you choose.

Prices will vary depending on the insurance company and where you live, in addition to the coverage level.

Home insurance FAQs

Does homeowners insurance cover septic backup?

No, septic back isn’t covered by homeowners insurance unless you have a water and sewer backup endorsement.

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer backup?

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover sewer backup without a water and sewer backup endorsement. 

Is water backup coverage worth it?

Yes. Water backup coverage is inexpensive, and the damage that water and sewer backup can cause is very expensive to repair.