Basement Sump Pumps: Why Does the Homeowner’s Plan Not Cover It?

Protecting your most valuable asset, a home, is the most important insurance decision a homeowner will make. Unfortunately, for many homeowners ensuring the right coverage is in place is a difficult task. Weeding through basic HO 0003 forms and added HO homeowner’s endorsements can be daunting. For homes with basements, and installation of a sump pump, understanding the provisions of the insurance coverage, in addition to the endorsement options, becomes crucial to ensuring the home is insured against significant water damage.

In a home with a basement, there lies a common area called a sump pit. The sump pit is simply a hole, dug into the floor of the basement, exposing the ground beneath. Because water can enter a basement through a variety of avenues, ie. ground surface water, flooding, water seepage through foundation walls and floors, the sump pit becomes vitally important in maintaining a drainage mechanism to prevent water damage to the home.

Within the sump pit lies a sump pump used to pump water out of the water table under the foundation, or even from within the basement. The sump pump moves water away from the home and drains it back to the municipal water line. Because the sump pump is vitally important to water drainage, operation must be checked frequently and standard maintenance, including sand removal, dirt and debris, is recommended every three to four years. Additionally, the sump pump should be inspected for electrical performance as the failure of a sump pump to operate, during periods of heavy rain or an overflow of ground water, will result in sigificant water damage to your home.

In addition to regular sump pump maintenance, every homeowner should ensure the dwelling HO 0003 homeowner’s policy carries an endorsement or language insuring a sump pump failure. At present, most HO 0003 homeowner’s policies specifically exclude damages attributed to a sump pump failure. All too often, this is important coverage is missed when the policy is purchased and when the claim is filed, the homeowner is alerted to a tragic issue. No coverage for water damage.

When considering the purchase of a home with a sump pump, or if you currently own a home with a sump pump, review the homeowner’s policy documents to determine what, if any, coverage is available for sump pump failures. Because failures are attributed to overflow, electrical shortage and mechanical breakdown, adding the additional coverage, through a homeowner’s policy endorsement, will ensure your home is insured adequately against sump pump failure and residual water damage.

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