Back To Top
Page Illustration


FAQ: What Is Sewer Backup Coverage?

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Shopping for home insurance? You might feel overwhelmed with all of the options out there, which is why BIG is here to help. Maybe your broker has offered Sewer Backup Coverage and maybe you’re unsure of what it is or whether you need it or not. Look no further! In this blog, we will discuss Sewer Backup Coverage to help you make an informed decision for your home insurance policy.

What is Water Damage Coverage?

Before we discuss sewer backup coverage, let’s start with the fact that most home insurance policies in Canada will already include basic coverage for water damage caused by sudden and accidental water escape. Examples may include damage caused by certain weather events, watermain breaks, leaking pipes or roof, overflow from household appliances, and swimming pools. Be sure to check with your broker about the coverage you have on your policy.

What is Sewer Backup?

Sewer backups happen when wastewater flows back into your home from municipal sewer lines. Sudden downpours, heavy rainfall or melting snow can overburden sewers and stormwater infrastructure and lead to sewage backup by seeping into your basement through floor drains. It can also be caused by a blockage in your plumbing or sewage systems.

Sewer backup water is, well, dangerous and disgusting. Sewage water carries dangerous bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness. It may also contain toxic pesticides, residuals from pharmaceutical drugs, and protozoan, all of which pose a significant danger to people and pets.

Dealing with a sewer backup can quickly become a costly ordeal because it requires professional training and equipment to ensure that this type of contamination is dealt with safely, which is why you should consider sewer backup coverage.

What is Sewer Backup Coverage?

Claims that involve sewage are not included in a standard home insurance policy. When you add sewer backup coverage to your policy, it would pay to repair damage to your home and contents from sewer backup, minus the deductible you select on your policy (What is a deductible?). These are some situations where you may be covered by sewer backup coverage:

  • Backup or discharge from a sewer, septic tank, or storm drain
  • Incidental damage from sewer backups, including the cost of cleaning or replacing walls, flooring, and furniture
  • Overflow from a sump, a sump pump, or other related equipment

As mentioned, sewer backup coverage is optional and can be added to your home, tenant, or condo insurance package. Always check with your broker and your individual policy wording to confirm what you’re covered for. 

Should I Get Sewer Backup Coverage?

Some homes are at higher risk than others, which is why sewer backup coverage is optional. It’s especially important to get sewer backup coverage if:

  • Your neighbourhood is older and has an ageing sewer system
  • Your neighbourhood has a lot of trees and shrubs, whose roots can cause blockages in sewer lines.
  • Your pipeline system carries both sewage and stormwater
  • You live in a valley or other low-lying region
  • Your home does not sit at least 30cm above the nearest upstream manhole of the sewer main at its lowest point

How to Prevent Sewer Backup

Aside from having the peace of mind from sewer backup coverage, there are also some ways that you can try to prevent sewer backups from happening. There’s no guaranteed way to stop it, but these preventative measures can help lower your risk.

  • Properly dispose of oils, fats, and cooking grease. Never dump them down the drain – this can form blockages in your plumbing.
  • Repair and replace old or damaged plumbing, including the pipes that run between your home and the sewer main. Update old clay or cast-iron sewer lines to plastic or PVC pipe.
  • Install a sump pump to pump out any water that collects at its lowest point in your basement.
  • Get a backwater prevention valve that will allow water to pass through a pipe in only one direction. In the event of a backup, the valve will close up, preventing water and sewage from coming up through the drains.


With a better understanding of sewer backup coverage, we hope that you can make an informed decision on this optional coverage. If you’re looking for reliable and cost-effective home insurance that doesn’t compromise on coverage, you have come to the right place! With access to many insurance companies across the company, BIG can get you a quote in just minutes. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote to see how much you could be saving.