Basements are a breeding ground for moisture, mold and mildew. The dark, cool spaces combined with warm, moist air from the outdoors can create condensation, much as an ice-cold glass of sweet tea will begin to form beads of sweat on a hot summer day.

Rain or groundwater can also lead to damp basements, which is why it’s important to have a sump pump installed to eliminate moisture and prevent the possibility of flooding. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, over 60 percent of basements in existing homes have a moisture problem.

Sump pumps move water from your basement to outside of your home. But does a standard homeowners insurance policy cover a flooded basement if you sump pump fails? The short answer is, probably not.

Water backup coverage is often an optional endorsement that must be added to a standard homeowners insurance policy. Without this add-on, if your sump pump fails, you’ll be stuck with repairing the damage out of your own pocket.

Beyond sump pump failure, water backup insurance also covers damage caused by backed-up drains and clogged sewer lines. At roughly $50 to $250 annually, the endorsement is a fairly inexpensive option that may bring peace of mind and could potentially save you money in the event of flooding due to a failed sump pump or backed-up drain.

Water backup coverage is not to be confused with flood insurance. Unless the water damage you’ve experienced is directly caused by a natural flooding event, flood insurance will likely not cover it. If you’re worried about natural disasters, adding flood insurance may be a good idea.

Because policies may vary from insurer to insurer, if you’re unsure what is covered in your water backup policy, you should check with your insurance company. Events such as owner negligence or intentional acts of flooding will likely not be covered under the option. Replacement costs are typically not covered in water backup insurance, so if you need to replace your sump pump, you’ll need to pay out of pocket or add on equipment breakdown insurance.

If you’re on the fence about adding water backup insurance, consider the risk you may be taking. Aside from the fact that you would need to tackle the repairs monetarily in the event of water backup, it’s important to consider the risks pooling water may pose in your home. Mold and bacteria can create a hazardous environment that may affect the health of you or your family. Having a professional come to address the damage rather than attempting to handle it yourself is another benefit of filing a water damage insurance claim through a water backup coverage option.

Related: Damage caused by sewage backup also requires water backup insurance coverage. Read more at

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