Does House Insurance Cover Blocked Drains?

Keith Baker

By Keith Baker

Last Updated on May, 2024

Blocked drains are a homeowners worst nightmare!

DIY plumbing and quick fixes might not help for those massive sewers underground.

These issues are better left to the pros, which can be expensive and time-consuming.

But did you know your homeowners insurance policy may cover those clogged drains for you?

In this article, let’s find out if you’re covered for blocked drains, common exclusions, what to do about your clogged drain, and everything you’re looking for.

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Quick Summary

  • Home insurance policies may cover clogged drains caused by accidental damage, such as tree roots or lightning strikes.
  • Negligence or poor maintenance may result in insurance claim refusal.
  • It is important to prepare for potential drain issues by keeping an eye out for early signs, taking preventive measures, and considering additional coverage options offered by insurance providers.

Does Home Insurance Cover Block Drains?

a covered drain on the roadside walking pathway

Does your house insurance cover drains which are clogged? 

The short answer is POSSIBLY YES.

However, it depends on various conditions and requirements since insurers are selective on claims.

If your drains are clogged due to one of the following causes, then you may just be covered:

Accidental Damage

Generally, a home insurance policy covers protection against unexpected sudden, accidental damages to your drains. 

What events does exactly fall under ‘accidental damage’?

  • Trees and tree roots invade and damage underground drains, causing blockage and damage to the pipes.
  • Lightning strikes your property, causing an explosion or damaged sewer lines.
  • Sometimes, a few providers include chilly weather or pests, causing blockage to be covered.

Home insurance companies generally cover accident damage caused by the above events. Still, damage caused by neglect or misuse is excluded (we’ll discuss this in the next section).

Connecting Drains in the Neighbourhood

Is the underground drainage system exceeding your property lines? If so, you might be safe from expensive repair or replacement costs because your insurer will only cover drains on your property.

Contact a professional plumber to find the blocked drain’s root cause. Suppose the problem is found on the neighbour’s property or communal land. In that case, they’ll become liable to ensure the necessary repairs are made promptly, not you.

What Won’t My Insurance Company Cover?

Here comes the twist! 

Your insurance company may not cover a blocked brain for various reasons. 

Here are a few standard exclusions to be aware of:

Negligence or Poor Maintenance

If a blocked drain results from negligent behaviour, such as flushing garbage or waste using the toilet or kitchen sinks. And ignoring warning signs like lousy odour, wastewater leak, or broken pipes, it is unlikely to be covered by home insurance coverage.

Additionally, Insurance policy providers typically cover accidents and sudden events rather than scheduled maintenance issues, including improper installation, ignoring leaking pipe, etc.

This is why maintenance is crucial. Cheque your plumbing system regularly with a professional for long-term relief.

However, reading the policy in detail is essential to understand what is covered and what is not.

DIY Plumbing

Trying to become that professional plumber without expert intervention may be all right in the short term, but did you know it could lead to insurance claim refusal?

See, the average lifespan of regularly maintained sewer pipes or drains is 50 to 100 years. That’s significantly a long time, but if you’re the second or third owner of the house, the drainage system will require maintenance or replacement at some point.

Therefore, before attempting DIY repairs, consult your local plumber and your homeowners insurance cover provider to understand the limitations and requirements.

Common Drainage Issues

Several situations contribute to damage and issues for your drainage system.

A few of the most common causes are:

  • Crack or Burst of Drains

This is a serious concern because it can cause wastewater to leak into the surrounding area, which can lead to structural weakening and mould growth.

  • Overflowing Gutters

Blocked gutters due to waste build-up can cause water to overflow. If left untreated, it can lead to damaged foundations and basement flooding.

  • Roots in Drainage Pipes

This is a common cause where the roots of giant trees or plants dig deep into the drainage system, leaving holes or severe issues for the sewers.

  • Flooding

Flooding around properties can lead to inadequate drainage or a failed drainage system. Severe flooding can block driveways, damage gardens, or burst pipes.

In the next section, let’s explore how to prepare yourself before a tragedy happens to your drains.

Prepare Yourself Before an Accident Happens

water dispatching from a drainage pipe

Even though drains are installed for long-term use, problems can arise unexpectedly at some point. Natural damages caused by flooding, earthquakes, and tree roots are out of your control, and you can’t do much about it.

However, as a homeowner, the best you can do is to prepare yourself before an accident happens, such as,

  • Keep an eye on the early signs. Water for toilet water levels rising or draining slowly, gurgling noises from drains, and unusual smells.
  • Preventive measures. Avoid pouring fats and grease down drains, use drain covers to prevent clogs, keep trees away from broken sewer lines, and properly dispose of paper and hygiene products. (But wait!!! Is it Illegal to Cover a Drain Cover in the UK?)
  • Call the professionals. If you note any signs, seek a professional plumber’s help immediately. They offer drain cleaning service, regular checkup, and use drain camera inspection to locate the exact issue and clear blockages.
  • Consider additional coverage. See, few providers only cover blocked drains and may not provide insurance claims for maintenance or damaged drains. In these cases, it’s advisable to consider additional covers offered by your provider. Which can save thousands of pounds in the future in case of an unexpected tragedy.

Are You Covered? Final Thoughts

As you know by now, your home insurance cover may or may not offer clogged drain coverage due to various technicalities and exclusions. 

It also majorly depends on your insurance policy provider and what type of insurance coverage they provide, like accidental damage.

If you’re considering taking a cover, it’s advisable to compare different options and review the policy documents in detail to find out what’s covered and what’s not.

Blocked Drains: Frequently Asked Questions

No, blocked drain insurance is not legally required by laws. It might be included in homeowners insurance for accidental causes such as tree root damage or burst pipes. For specific coverage details, consult a licensed insurance agent.

Yes, broken drain pipes are usually covered if the damage is sudden and unforeseen. Coverage does not typically include maintenance issues due to negligence or normal wear and tear. Always check with your insurer for specific details and exclusions.

Homeowners are responsible for blocked drains on their property; landlords must handle clogs in rental properties. Tenants should prevent clogs proactively. Responsibility for communal sewer blockages typically does not fall on individual residents.

Unblocking a drain in the UK costs between £200 to £400 for moderate blockages and may exceed £500 for severe issues. Costs vary by location, blockage severity, and repair complexity, such as tree root damage or burst pipes.

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