Is your septic tank covered by homeowners insurance - even if your insurer says no?

Claims handling | By Sam Warren

Most of us don't want to think too much about what happens to the contents of the loo when they're flushed away. But if you're having septic tank problems, you might find yourself having to deal with the whiffy reality of where it goes when your drainage system stops working. Your toilets might start taking longer to flush, you might hear gurgling in the pipes in your property....or worst of all, nasty stuff might start bubbling up in your garden.

If that happens, you'll want it all sorting out, and pronto. But then you might start wondering how much it's all going to cost. Nobody really wants to have to pay out their hard earned money for something that sits under the ground, and a shiny new septic tank is not exactly something you can show off to the neighbours. Here at UKDP, we get plenty of calls from customers suffering with nasty niffs and puddles of dubious looking stuff in their garden, and what they want to know is whether their septic tank is covered by homeowners insurance?

After all, that's what homeowners insurance is there for, to cover things that get damaged in your property. So, how on earth do you find out if your septic tank is covered by homeowners insurance? Insurance policies are a minefield at the best of times, with pages and pages of information and definitions. And if your insurer has already said no, does that mean you're not covered?

Let the specialists at UKDP take away the confusion

Here at UKDP we are specialists in two things - septic tanks (and other off mains drainage systems such as cesspits and sewage treatment plants) and drainage insurance claims. I know what you're thinking, what lucky souls we are to have found ourselves in such a glamorous world. Ok, so it is a little niche (and more than a little lacking in glamour) but we do know an awful lot about septic tank insurance cover. We're not much of a hit on the public speaking circuit but we're a godsend for anyone with a damaged septic tank!

Accidental damage versus wear and tear

The short answer is that most policies do provide cover for 'accidental damage' to your septic tank. So far so good. But what actually constitutes 'accidental damage', especially when your drainage system is underground and you can't see what's happened. You know that your septic tank has stopped working, but how do you know what's caused it? And how do you prove that it's not been caused by something like wear and tear, which wouldn't be covered by insurance?

Of course, homeowners insurance isn't there to cover everything, and there are times when your septic tank problems wouldn't be covered. For example, if you've not had the septic tank emptied in the 20 years since you've lived at your house, and you're starting to have a few issues, your insurer would be likely to say no to any claim as you'd not emptied the tank regularly. Fair enough.

The problem is that we see far too many instances in which an insurer declines a claim because they (or their appointed 'experts') think that the problems with the septic tank might have been caused by wear and tear. The thing is, it's not enough just to have an opinion that a septic tank can have been damaged by wear and tear, an insurer has to be able to prove it.

Sounds complicated? It can be.

This is why our team exists - to find out whether your septic tank problems are covered by your homeowners insurance, and then to present a claim to your insurers if they are. It doesn't trouble us if they say no, because we know from our detailed assessment that your claim should be covered, and we can follow a formal complaints process to get the right decision. We're pretty successful at challenging insurer decisions, even if we do say so ourselves.

If you have already spoken to your insurer (and we would always recommend letting our team deal with your insurer, as we know how to deal with all the technical arguments) and they've told you that you're not covered, give us a call. Your insurer might be right, and we'll let you know if that's the case. After all, there's no point wasting our time or yours pursuing a claim if we're not certain its covered. But your insurer may have got it completely wrong, and in that situation we can work on your behalf to get things put right.

So, in answer to the question 'Is your septic tank covered by homeowners insurance?', most policies do provide cover for damaged septic tanks. And if your insurer has already said no to your claim, don't take it as gospel. Insurers get it wrong all the time, and if they have we can help.

The team at UKDP are on your side from the moment you call us, so let us take all the confusion, stress and hassle out of getting the costs of repairing or replacing your septic tank covered. We have broad shoulders!

0800 028 9903