Although septic systems are generally out of sight, out of mind for most homeowners, accidents can happen that cause damage. If you are wondering whether home insurance covers damage to your septic tank, the answer is it depends.
Homeowner’s insurance may cover septic tank damage under a specific set of circumstances and up to a limit defined in your policy. If your policy includes septic insurance coverage, it is typically found under the “other structures” portion of your policy.
Other structures are defined as elements of your property that are not attached to the house, like detached garages, sheds, garden structures, in-ground swimming pools or spas, and – in some cases – your septic tank. (While your septic tank is technically attached to the house through the sewer pipe, the tank itself is separate.)
To qualify for other structures coverage, damage must typically be sudden, unexpected, and caused by a “covered peril.”
What Is a Covered Peril for Homeowners’ Insurance?
Most homeowners insurance policies cover the following types of perils:
– Fire and smoke
– Windstorm and hail
– Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
– Vandalism and malicious mischief
– Falling objects (trees, branches, satellites, etc.)
– Water damage (from a burst pipe, leaky roof, etc.)
Note that not all policies cover all of these perils, so be sure to check with your insurer to see what is included in your policy. In addition, some policies may have additional coverage for other perils not listed here.
What Is Not Covered by Homeowners’ Insurance?
There are also many types of damages that are typically excluded from homeowners insurance coverage. Some of the most common exclusions are:
– Termites and other pests
– Neglect or poor maintenance
– Intentional damage (vandalism or arson)
Other exclusions may apply, so be sure to check with your insurer to see what is included in your policy.
The Importance of Septic Tank Maintenance
There is one particular exclusion in the list above that homeowners with septic systems should pay special attention – neglect or poor maintenance. If your septic tank is damaged and you cannot provide evidence that you have maintained it properly, your homeowners’ insurance claim may be denied.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your septic system is to have it regularly inspected and have the septic tank pumped out. Be sure to keep records so that you have proof of proper septic maintenance in case you ever need to file a claim.
Here are a few of the other reasons why septic tank maintenance is so important:
- To prevent sewage backup. Regular septic service will help to ensure that your tank does not become overloaded with sewage, which can cause a backup into your home or business.
- To extend the life of your septic system. By having your septic system regularly inspected and pumped out, you can help to extend its lifespan.
- To reduce the risk of environmental contamination. When septic tanks are not properly maintained, the septic drainfield or the tank itself can leak sewage into the ground, which can pollute groundwater and surface water.
- To save money. Regular septic tank maintenance can actually save you money in the long run by preventing costly septic repairs or replacements. It is much easier to spend a minimal amount on maintenance than to wonder how to pay for septic repair when there is a problem.
Keeping Your Septic System Functioning Properly
In addition to routine septic tank pumping, inspection, and maintenance, homeowners should be sure to follow the general guidelines for living with a septic system, including:
- Do not put anything in the septic tank that does not break down easily. This includes feminine hygiene products, paper towels, cigarette butts, and grease.
- Be mindful of what goes down your drains. Avoid pouring chemicals, oils, or other harmful substances down the drain. These can disrupt the functioning of the bacteria in the septic tank and hinder the processing of the wastewater.
- Do not park or drive on or near the septic drainfield or the septic tank. The weight of vehicles can cause septic tanks to crack or can cause soil to become compacted, which will make it less able to filter the wastewater.
- Do not plant trees or other plants with long roots near the septic tank or the drainfield. Roots can eventually break through pipes, leading to clogs, which can in turn lead to backups in the home.
- Limit water usage by installing low-flow faucets and showers, and toilets that use less water to flush.
- Try to spread water usage out throughout the week by doing laundry on several days instead of all at once.
- Be aware of the size of your septic tank. When your system was initially designed and installed, it was based on the size of your home and the number of residents. Increasing the number of people living in the home can dramatically increase the amount of wastewater that needs to be processed.
- Avoid or at least limit the use of a garbage disposal, since even small food particles can eventually clump together to create clogs or blockages.
By following just a few simple guidelines, you can help keep your septic system healthy and working properly for years to come.
Septic Service In & Near Lakeland
When you need a septic company in & near Lakeland, contact the professional team at Septic and Drainfield Depot. Our septic company has been serving homeowners’ and business owners’ septic needs for years, and we have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to take care of any septic problem you have.
Our services include commercial and residential septic tank pumping and cleaning, drainfields, lift stations, and more. In Septic & Drainfield Depot, our services are available 24/7, and we offer free estimates and septic financing.
Contact us today!