Sump Pump Failures: Insurance Claims Denied if Pump Doesn’t Pass Inspection

Flood Insurance Does Not Cover Sump Pump Failure

For Midwest homeowners, adding flood insurance is common practice, but they might not know that neither flood insurance nor a homeowner’s policy covers sump pump failure. Sump pump failure riders or endorsements are available, but even they won’t protect against sump pump failure if the post-flood inspection finds the pump wasn’t maintained properly.

Sump Pump Riders Don’t Cover Damage If Pump is Not Maintained Properly

When submitting an insurance claim for sump pump failure, claim adjusters look for ways to prove your due diligence so they can prove your case to underwriters. Your pump will be inspected. If it isn’t found to be in good working order or you failed to keep it operational, your claim could be denied based on improper or lack of maintenance. You could also face an insurance premium increase.

What Is Proof of Proper Maintenance?

Having your pump regularly inspected and maintained by professional plumbers eliminates sump pump operational issues and gives you proof for insurance companies that a professional inspected the pump. Maintenance is critical to a sump pump’s function.

However, even a properly maintained pump can fail at any time due to age or inactivity, so regular inspections are needed.

Does My Sump Pump Need a Battery Backup to Satisfy Insurance Companies?

Even the best-maintained pumps will cease to run during the power outages typical of Midwest storms. Battery backup sump pumps are needed as well. Not only do battery-backup sump pumps act as added “insurance” during power outages, but they also help carry the load of the regular sump pump if it is unable to pump water quickly enough during heavier rains.

If you have a sump pump rider with your insurance company, call them and clarify whether your sump pump has to have a battery backup in order for water damage claims to be paid.

Why Do Insurance Companies Try to Avoid Paying Sump Pump Failure Claims?

The reason insurance companies will try to avoid paying sump pump failure claims is because of what happens when a sump pump fails and the tremendous financial cost attributed to fixing it. Fixing the damage caused by an indoor flood is a complicated and time-consuming process. Besides the repair or replacement of the sump pump, several steps must be taken before and after the repair to get your home back to normal.

All electrical items in the vicinity of the flood will have to be unplugged, and if they cannot be accessed safely, the main electrical supply will have to be shut off. Then, a water extraction service may have to be contracted to remove standing water before repairs can begin.

After standing water is extracted, damage to floors, walls, and household items must be repaired. Flooring, furniture, and electronics that cannot be repaired will have to be replaced, and irreplaceable keepsakes that are damaged may be lost forever.

The moisture remaining even after the standing water has been removed must be eradicated by opening windows, running fans, and setting up dehumidifiers. Finally, homes must be tested for mold and mildew growth that the invasive water may have caused, and replacement of drywall and insulation might be needed to stop the spread of mold and mildew throughout the home.

In short, paying for a sump pump failure is extraordinarily expensive.

What to Do After a Sump Pump Failure

flooded basement due to sump pump failureSince homeowner’s insurance does not always cover sump pump failures, and if you didn’t spring for special sump pump insurance coverage, then you’ll have to figure out how to fix at least some of the mess on your own if you want to minimize your costs.

Here is what to do if your sump pump fails. First, determine the severity of flooding. If your sump pump failure has left multiple inches of water in your basement, it’s best to call in the professionals to deal with it. If the flooding from a sump pump failure is more on the minor side, say less than an inch of water, it’s possibly within your reach of cleaning it up yourself.

The first step is to get rid of the water. Check your sump pump and ensure that the failure wasn’t just debris blockage or a power outage. If you can’t easily fix your sump pump, call in a professional to take care of it. In the meantime, you can start removing water from your basement.

The easiest way for homeowners to move water is with a Wet/Dry vacuum. If you don’t already own one for use in your garage, you can purchase or rent one from your local home improvement store. Use it to remove the water from your home.

If the basement is finished, remove the baseboards to allow the drywall to dry. Remove all objects you can reasonably remove from your basement so they can dry. You can rent high-power industrial fans and dehumidifiers from the home improvement store as well. You’ll want several of each, probably for a week. Don’t delay on this; the longer it takes the drywall to dry, the more likely mold will take over, and you’ll have to rip it out to get rid of all the mold.

Carpet or flooding may need to be peeled up to allow it to dry. Consult a professional on the best way to proceed and to see if it can be saved.

Automated Flood Detection: Cell Phone Alerts Add Extra Insurance

Installing an automated flood detection and prevention system in your home is an easy and affordable way to receive alerts on your cell phone or tablet when flooding starts while you are sleeping or away from home.

Flood prevention systems utilize water sensors placed near sump pumps and other water sources that activate an automated system when water is detected, sending alerts to your phone, emitting an audible alarm, and providing an electronic water main valve shut-off feature that engages automatically or allows you to do it remotely.

The home automation experts at Anthony Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling can install our Water Guardian system, which will equip your home with water sensors that will alert you of a possibly failing sump pump.

Don’t Take Chances, Call Us Today

The professional plumbers at Anthony Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling can take the guesswork out of your sump pump maintenance and handle all your indoor flood prevention and plumbing needs. For more information, contact us today.