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Number One Liability Risk for NJ Homeowners: Sewer Backup

The How, What and Why of Property Insurance Protection

In this informative article PRIME Insurance highlights one of the most prominent homeowner risk exposures.  Besides contributing to a health threat, a sewer water backup can lead to serious damage in relation to flooring, carpeting, walls, furnishings, electric systems and more.  

An Interview with PRIME Insurance Sewer Backup Specialist, Laizer Schonbrun

Question: What are the primary triggers of a sewer backup?

Answer: The thousands upon thousands of dollars in sewage system backup home damage can be attributed to a number of factors.

  1. An older system runs the risk of backing up, leading to overspills, basement floods, etc.
  2. Due to its inability to handle excessive water levels, a system that shares sewage with storm water drainage is at risk for sewage backup in basements, etc., in the event of a storm.  
  3. Tree roots can enter small cracks in the system’s pipes and cause far-reaching problems. As time passes and the tree grows, so do its roots, leading to severe blockage and much home backup damage.
  4. The municipality’s main can also be the source of your private home’s sewer backup through the floor drain.
  5. Basement water can develop as a result of soil settlement near your home’s structure. This can lead to a stream of rainwater on your foundation’s outer wall. If your drainage system is not up to par and there are cracks in the wall, the water will get to your basement.

RELATED: how to ensure you are covered against flooding

Question: Is there any way to avoid a sewage backup?

Answer: Do your utmost to prevent and correct a recognized trigger before you encounter a problem. As a homeowner, you are answerable to your home’s maintenance, including the municipality’s main piping running between your home and the public road.


Question: What should I do if a sewer backup occurs?

Answer:  Before clearing up the water buildup, you will need to take a picture of the damage so that you can present it along with your insurance claim. Immediately thereafter, remove sewage water and cleanse anything that came in contact with the sewer water, including floors, walls, carpeting, draperies, plumbing piping and fittings as well as ducting.  After the repair, restoration and cleanup, take another picture of the affected areas and write a list of any pertaining losses. Keep track of any related receipts. Once you have taken the above steps, do not waste any time in getting in touch with your insurance agent to officially file a claim.

Question:  Does my standard homeowners insurance cover sewer backups?

Answer: Save for a policy that has added sewer backup damage coverage, a standard homeowner policy does not typically protect against backups. Reviewing your policy with an experienced independent agency, like PRIME Insurance, is your best bet to ensure coverage. If your homeowner policy does not include sewer backup coverage, it is highly recommended that you include it as a rider.


PRIME Insurance is a winner of numerous industry awards and authorized to conduct direct business with more than 40 leading insurance companies. Offering nationwide coverage at competitively low quotes, PRIME also specializes in NJ general liability insurance, homeowner insurance, auto insurance, commercial insurance, life insurance, workers comp insurance, etc.

For more on sewer backup coverage, see us online at, email us at PRIME [at] primeins [dot] com, or call Laizer directly at 732-886-5751, extension 205.



“I’m confused. Does my NJ homeowner insurance cover sewer backup?” PRIME answers your questions in this enlightening article.


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