Will my homeowners insurance coverage pay for water damage caused by a sewer pipe that was not hooked up?

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2012

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UPDATED: Apr 9, 2012Fact Checked

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Asked April 9, 2012

1 Answer

Flooding is a very special type of peril to insurance companies, but your problem does not sound like flooding. If it were, your homeowners policy would probably not cover the damages because flooding is not included in any standard home insurance policy and flood insurance is typically purchased separately. Flooding is defined as water damage caused by rising waters, or by water that has overflowed its usual containment. For example, a clogged storm drain on your street cause flooding of your home, but the lack of a sewer connection is a different sort of damage entirely, and that could be to your benefit.

The question is going to be whether the sewer was connected and came loose, or whether it was never properly connected at all. Broken sewer connections would be included in most home policies, and repairing the damage would fall on your insurance company. However, if the sewer pipes were never connected properly at all, then the damage is due to a combination of poor workmanship and human negligence, neither of which are covered by a homeowners policy.

The key to whether your policy will save the day will be how the policy is worded. In some cases, water damage may be classified broadly, and that would mean your situation is covered. If, however, water damage is well-defined in your policy, then the poor workmanship problem arises. Insurance companies do not take responsibility for badly finished construction jobs, and almost all policies have exclusions that specifically relieve the insurance company of obligation when the problem was caused by human error that was never corrected.

The bottom line is that you are probably not going to have the insurance company on your side for this situation. However, if the problem is due to poor workmanship, even if it was performed many months or years ago, you still have the option of contacting the contractor who did the work and let them handle the case. If shoddy workmanship or human negligence on the part of the contractor are the problem and the contractor refuses to correct the problem and repair the damages, you still have the option of taking that company to small claims court and suing for the cost of repairs.

Answered April 9, 2012 by Anonymous

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