Sump Pumps 101 - Resource for Homeowners and Contractors
Insurance Coverage and Warranties
Usually, a Homeowners Policy will not cover for sump pumps, or any existing drainage system failures. This shortage of coverage is often overlooked by new homeowners shopping for insurance. A normal Homeowners Policy will not cover water that is: blocked or backed up through any drain, sink leaks or discharge, toilet, or sump pump etc. Most people are surprised their agent didn’t inform them of this lack of protection. After all that is why people buy insurance. The reasons are pretty obvious. These claims are not only the most common, they are also among the highest claims losses a homeowner will require.
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Insurance agents are of course, trying to be competitive in their estimates and including this coverage to someone who has not experienced any of these problems first-hand may seem like ‘overselling’. Often, if you don’t ask, agents won’t mention it. Also, some agent’s commissions are affected by claims on a policy and, again, these are common and expensive claims.
Policies before 1998 tended to have better coverage in this regard and they were set within normal policy limits. If you insured your home for any structural or replacement damage for $300,000 you would be covered the same for a flooded basement. Now the caps on these policies are set to $5,000 to $20,000 tops. Content and structure coverage are counted together preventing enough coverage to replace, repair, or restore lost items. But, if your basement is finished you may need more than $20,000 in coverage in the event that there is an major flood.
If you do have a sump pump protection rider or separate water back up policy it often will cover back up or failures of sump pumps, drains, or toilets. But the same policy will not cover your personal property.
Flood Insurance coverage can be pretty specific, from small leaks to when water is pouring over your foundation wall i.e. there’s boats in the street. This is insurance typically designated for a flood zone, or very low lying areas. If you live in such an area it is disclosed when you buy your house and you must have insurance. You most likely will not have a basement if you live in one of these areas.
Most manufacturers warranty from 3 to 7 years a few offer lifetime warranties yet these are often never less than a 3/4 HP. Typically too much for residential use as this can apply too much stress to the 1.5”-2’ discharge line. There are virtually no waterproofing companies that offer lifetime warranties past the stated manufacturers warranty. These lifetime warranties are often based on the system and not the pump. Unfortunately, these systems rely pretty heavily on the pump performance. We only know of two companies that offer lifetime warranties on the pump past the manufacturer; Value Dry and Basement Detective and of these only Basement Detective covers the replacement labor.