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Plumbing Overflow or Backed Up Drain? It pays to know the difference!

There’s a disturbing trend in property claims management regarding plumbing overflow damages, which are undeniably covered by most policies. Carriers are purposefully misclassifying these claims as “sewer back-ups”, or “drain back-ups” to avoid or severely limit coverage.

What’s the difference between an overflow and a back-up? First of all, an overflow is typically covered by the policy and a back-up isn’t, but more importantly, it’s the point of origin of the water that defines the true cause of loss.

Quite simply, if the municipal sewer system, outside the property backs up into the property, the event is a sewage back-up and it is typically not covered. If water which originates inside the property overflows from any drain, sink, toilet or similar plumbing fixture, the event is a plumbing overflow and is covered by the policy. So it’s the point of origin of the water which defines coverage.

Unfortunately, most property owners do not know this important difference and many insurance companies are now taking advantage of it. Misclassifying any event in which water escapes from a drain as a “back-up” can save a carrier millions in claim pay-outs.

Some carriers offer an optional coverage endorsement, for an increased premium of course, which provides coverage for back up of sewers and drains. Typically, these endorsements have low value coverage limits, usually $5,000.00 or $10,000.00 for a homeowner’s policy. When a customer has a plumbing overflow claim the carrier erroneously hides behind the back-up endorsement and limits the claim payout to the predetermined $5K or $10K limit, even if the claim is really worth much, much more.

Don’t let your claim be wrongfully denied or severely limited by your insurance carrier, instead, contact the experts at Richard Green and Son Public Adjusters. And remember, your insurance company protects you from disaster, and we protect you from your insurance company.