Featured News 2012 The Scoop on Property Sewer Backup

The Scoop on Property Sewer Backup

Spring brings rain. While we normally welcome this natural watering system, excessive rain can cause flooding in urban areas. Oftentimes streets and houses are designed with drainage systems to get rid of this water, and it waterfalls into the city sewage system. While this may be an effective way to keep water out of your house or from crowding the streets, it can have an odorous and dirty repercussion. When too much water pools into the sewage system, it can cause raw sewage back-up. This means that the sewage in the drains leading from your home to the main underground sewage lines is over capacitated because of the excess water. The raw sewage that you flush away will resurface, and this can create serious plumbing problems on your land. Sewage backup causes damage to your ceilings, floors, walls, carpet, furniture, plumbing systems and electrical wiring.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are several different causes for sewer backup. Sometimes aging sewer systems can contribute to the problem. The Civil Engineering Research Foundation says that the amount of backed-up sewer systems increases by three percent each year. They assume that this is because the sewer systems are becoming old and failing to function like they once did. The American Society of Civil Engineers found that America has about 500,000 miles of sewer systems underneath the nation, and most sections are over 30 years old.

Along with this issue, combined pipelines can create a sewage back-up. This happens when cities combine their storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. The rush of liquids during a rainstorm is too much for the sewage pipes to handle, and the lines get backed up until they leak into people's homes. Other times, a tree root will grow so that it blocks the pipeline. Trees and bushes will feel their way into cracks in pipelines when they are seeking more nourishment from the water in the system. This can cause serious damage to the entire plumbing system, and back up the lines so that no liquids can pass through. If your sewage back-up is due to this problem, then you will want a lawyer to determine who is responsible for the plant that caused the problem.

Sometimes a city-owned tree will be the cause of the problem and the city can reimburse you for the out-of-pocket costs. The sanitary main can also cause sewer back-up. When a clogged drain is not detected in time, sewage from this main city line will back up into buildings through the floor drains and cause extensive damage. This is normally a slow, moving problem so the real estate owner will have time to contact a plumber and assess the situation. If the city is responsible for your damages, then you may be able to gain compensation.

The Insurance Information Institute writes that this problem is not normally covered in homeowner's insurance policies, nor is it provided for in flood insurance policies. Due to this, thousands of homeowner's have suffered the out-of-pocket financial consequences of sewage back-up during the rainy season. If you are worried about sewage back-up in your home, you should purchase a special insurance package which includes this type of housing damage. Most insurers will cover sewage problems such as a back-up issue for an additional $40- $50 added to the annual premium. It would be well worth it to tag on this cost in order to avoid thousands of dollars in damages.

If a home is damaged to the point where it is unlivable, homeowners' insurance policies may provide Loss of Use coverage. This will give the homeowner's a reimbursement for their lodging, food, and other expenses that they may accrue when living somewhere else during refurbishment. If you are a renter, then the Loss of Use coverage will reimburse you for the rent that you needed to pay while you were outside of the home. When you detect sewer back-up, take photos of all of the damages on your property and list any property losses along with the values. Save all the receipts for payments related to the issue, and contact a real estate lawyer and your insurance company to help you get the funds you deserve.

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