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Septic Systems: Avoid a Crappy Situation

By March 22, 2023March 24th, 2023Personal Insurance
a shot of a mans feet and underwear sitting on a toilet reaching for toilet paper, using it properly to avoid septic system damage.
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If you live in a semi-rural or rural area, you probably have a septic system to dispose of solid and liquid waste. Septic systems typically feature an underground septic tank that disperses wastewater into a leach field. They’re usually located some distance from your house for safety and hygiene reasons.

Limited Coverage

Under a typical homeowners insurance policy, sudden damage to the tank is covered. However, damage resulting from neglect or lack of maintenance is not.

Covered incidents typically include: 

  • Sudden breaks caused by defective or malfunctioning pipes
  • Toilet backups caused by faulty pumps or other equipment
  • Damage caused by water freezing in pipes
  • Damage caused by riots, vandalism, and volcanoes

It’s unlikely that your homeowners’ policy covers any costs associated with repairing, cleaning, or maintaining your home’s septic tank. Although your septic tank is probably quite expensive to maintain and repair, it’s considered an “add-on” or “other structure” rather than an integral part of your home’s structure.

Even if an event is covered, many standard home insurance policies limit coverage of these other structures to 10% of the dwelling limit. For example, if your home is insured for $300,000, your septic tank (and other structures like a shed or fence) are covered only up to $30,000.

Suppose your septic tank ruptures and floods your neighbor’s yard or damages their property in some other way. In that case, they will likely ask you to file a claim with your insurance to pay for cleanup or repair costs.

Most Common Damages Relate to Lack of Maintenance and Human Error

Unfortunately, septic tank damage is often caused by human error, improper installation, and/or overlooked maintenance. None of these is covered by homeowners insurance.

“Honestly, we’ve seen it all.”, says Phil Connolly of Connolly’s Plumbing. “I highly recommend following these tips to maintain your septic system: avoid putting grease or fats into your drain as they’ll harden and clog up your system, always run your appliances on full loads, say no to chemicals like Draino, and never flush wipes or feminine products. They may say they’re flushable, but let me tell you, they’re not! Follow these tips, and your septic system will thank you for it.

Mother Nature can sometimes prevail in the form of tree roots that grow through or crack septic lines; however, this is generally out of a homeowner’s control.

We’re Here to Help (Avoid a đź’© Situation)

Coverage differs from policy to policy, and it’s easy to get confused. If you have a septic tank on your property, read your policy carefully and discuss any questions with your Account Manager. We’re here clear up any confusion and help you prepare as well as possible in the event of septic tank damage.

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Author Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross leads the Marketing and Communications team at Wedgwood Insurance, renowned as one of Atlantic Canada’s premier independent insurance brokers. Bringing a wealth of experience amassed over many years at some of Canada's most esteemed advertising agencies, Jamie transitioned to the insurance industry in 2017. This pivotal move has marked a period of significant professional growth and contribution to the field. A native Nova Scotian, Jamie has been a resident of St. John's, NL, since 2011, where he has become an integral part of the local community. Learn more about Jamie.

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