Get your online insurance quote

What Is Sewer Backup Coverage & Do You Need It?

Sewer Backup Insurance Coverage Explained | KBD Insurance
Curtis Killen

As president of KBD, Curtis aims to simplify insurance for his clients. He’s helped lead KBD to become one of Canada’s fastest 400 growing companies according to the Globe & Mail.

Published on:

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about sewer backup coverage. From what sewer coverage is, to exploring your insurance options, keep reading to learn what you need to protect your home.

So, what is sewer backup coverage, and do you need it?

Short answer: yes. 

Securing sewer backup coverage is critical for homeowners and renters in Canada if they don’t want to foot the bill in the event of a disaster. 

Whether you live in an apartment, condo or home, being covered for sewer backup can save you thousands in damages if there’s an accident. 

Below, we’re explaining the details of sewer backup coverage so that you can be prepared to choose the right coverages in your home or tenant insurance

OR, if you’d rather speak to one of our home insurance brokers directly, you can do that too. 

Click below for an online home insurance quote, or give us a call.

Keep reading, or click below to find what you need:

What is sewer backup coverage?

Sewer backup coverage is an insurance policy specifically designed to shield homeowners from the financial ramifications of sewage backup incidents. 

So, what does sewer backup insurance cover?

 Here’s a specific breakdown of what sewer backup insurance typically covers in Canada:

  • Property Damage: Sewer backup insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing property damaged as a result of sewage backup incidents. This includes structural damage to the home, flooring, walls, furniture, appliances, and personal belongings affected by sewage infiltration.
  • Cleanup and Restoration: The policy typically covers the expenses associated with cleanup and restoration efforts following a sewer backup. This includes the cost of removing sewage, disinfecting affected areas, and restoring the property to its pre-loss condition.
  • Temporary Housing Costs: In cases where the home becomes uninhabitable due to sewer backup damage, sewer backup insurance may cover temporary living expenses, including hotel accommodations, rental costs, and meals while the home undergoes repairs.
  • Replacement of Damaged Items: Sewer backup insurance provides coverage for the replacement of items damaged beyond repair due to sewage contamination.
  • Professional Service Fees: The policy may cover professional service fees incurred as a result of sewer backup incidents, such as plumber fees, sewage specialists, and restoration contractors hired to mitigate damages and restore the property.
  • Preventive Measures: Some sewer backup insurance policies offer coverage for preventive measures like the installation of backwater valves, and sump pumps.
  • Additional Living Expenses: In cases where homeowners are temporarily displaced from their homes due to sewer backup damage, it may cover additional living expenses.

Be sure to speak with your insurer to confirm the exact coverages included in your policy, as exclusions may apply. 

Need sewer backup insurance?

Call us. 

What does it mean when the sewers backup?

Sewer backup refers to when the sewer system becomes overwhelmed, causing wastewater to flow back into homes through drains, toilets, or basement fixtures. 

When sewers backup, it can be due to a blockage or overflow in the municipal sewage system or the homeowner’s private sewer line. 

Factors like heavy rainfall, flooding, tree roots infiltrating sewer lines, or improper disposal of grease and debris can also contribute to sewer backup incidents. 

Have a specific question about your coverage?

Speak with our brokers today. 

Call us. 

How much does sewer backup insurance cost?

On average, sewer backup insurance can range anywhere from $40 to $200 per year, but again, it depends on several factors. 

For example, if you’re living in an area prone to heavy rainfall or where the sewer systems are a bit outdated, you might end up shelling out more for coverage. 

Cities like Toronto, Calgary, or Ottawa might see higher premiums because of the increased risk of sewer backups due to weather patterns or aging infrastructure.

Next up, the size of your house, the type of plumbing you have, and whether you’ve taken steps to prevent backups (like installing a backwater valve) can all impact your insurance costs. 

Bigger homes with more plumbing are typically pricier to insure, while homes with preventive measures in place might score lower premiums.

In addition, if you opt for higher coverage limits or a lower deductible, you’ll likely pay more upfront for your sewer backup insurance. 

Different insurers offer different rates and coverage options, so it pays to shop around and compare quotes to find the best deal for your budget.

Do I need sewer backup insurance?

Sewer backup incidents are more common than many homeowners realize, particularly in regions with aging sewage systems or areas prone to heavy rainfall and flooding. 

That said, sewer backup insurance is highly recommended for homeowners and renters, especially those residing in areas prone to these incidents. 

It’s important to speak with your broker to ensure you have the appropriate sewer backup coverages for your home, condo or apartment. 

Call us. 

What to do if your sewer backs up

If your sewer backs up, it’s essential to take prompt action to minimize damage and ensure your safety and health. 

Here are the general steps to take:

  • Stay Safe: Sewage backup can pose serious health risks due to contaminants. Keep children and pets away from the affected area and avoid direct contact with the sewage water.
  • Stop Water Usage: Immediately stop using water in your home to prevent further backup and flooding.
  • Identify the Source: Determine whether the backup is isolated to your property or if it’s a larger issue affecting your neighborhood.
  • Call a Professional Plumber: Contact a licensed plumber with experience in dealing with sewer backups. They can assess the situation, identify the cause, and take appropriate measures to fix the problem.
  • Contact Your Municipality: If the issue is affecting multiple properties or if you suspect a problem with the municipal sewer system, contact your local municipality department. They can send someone to investigate and address the issue if it’s on their end.
  • Document the Damage: Take photos and videos of the damage caused by the sewer backup. This documentation will be helpful when filing an insurance claim.
  • Notify Your Insurance Company: Contact your home insurance provider as soon as possible to report the sewer backup and initiate the claims process.
  • Keep Records: Keep detailed records of all communication with your insurance company, including claim numbers, the names of representatives you speak with, and any paperwork related to your claim.
  • Follow Cleanup Guidelines: If the sewage backup has caused extensive damage to your property, follow recommended cleanup guidelines provided by your insurance company or local health authorities.

Dealing with a sewer backup can be stressful, but acting quickly and following the proper procedures can help minimize the damage and ensure a smoother recovery process.

How common is sewer backup?

Sewer backup incidents are more common than many homeowners realize, particularly in areas with aging sewage systems or regions prone to heavy rainfall and flooding. 

Factors such as tree roots invading sewer lines, improper disposal, and structural defects in sewer systems can contribute to sewer backup incidents.

Homeowners and renters alike should consider it a no-brainer part of their insurance coverage.

How to prevent a sewer backup in your basement?

Preventing a sewer backup in your basement requires proactive measures to protect your property.

Here are essential steps to prevent sewer backups:

  • Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine inspections of your sewer lines and drainage systems to identify any signs of blockages, leaks, or damage. Addressing minor issues promptly can prevent them from escalating into major sewer backup incidents.
  • Proper Waste Disposal: Avoid flushing items such as paper towels, wipes, and grease down the toilet or drains, as they can contribute to sewage backups. 
  • Install Backwater Valve: Consider installing a backwater valve on your main sewer line to prevent sewage from flowing back into your basement during heavy rainfall or sewer system overflows. A backwater valve automatically closes to block sewage flow, protecting your property from backups.
  • Tree Root Management: If you have trees near your sewer lines, monitor and manage their roots regularly. Tree roots can infiltrate sewer pipes, causing blockages and backups. Consult with an arborist or plumber to address tree root intrusions effectively.
  • Sump Pump Maintenance: If your basement has a sump pump, ensure it is in proper working condition by conducting regular maintenance checks. Test the pump periodically and replace it if it shows signs of malfunction.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of sewer backups in your basement and protect your property from costly damages and disruptions.

What puts you at risk of a sewer backup?

Several factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing a sewer backup in your home.

Understanding these risk factors can help you take proactive steps to prevent sewer backups and protect your property. 

Here are common factors that put you at risk of a sewer backup:

  • Aging Sewer Infrastructure: Homes with aging sewer systems are more susceptible to backups due to deteriorating pipes, cracks, and corrosion.
  • Heavy Rainfall and Flooding: Intense rainfall and flooding can overwhelm municipal sewer systems, causing sewage backups into residential properties. Homes located in flood-prone areas or regions with inadequate drainage infrastructure are particularly vulnerable to sewer backups during heavy rain events.
  • Tree Root Intrusions: Tree roots can infiltrate sewer lines, causing blockages and structural damage. 
  • Improper Waste Disposal: Flushing non-biodegradable items down the toilet or drains can lead to blockages and sewage backups. 
  • Lack of Backwater Valve: Homes without backwater valves on their main sewer lines are more vulnerable to sewer backups during sewer system overflows or heavy rainfall events. Backwater valves prevent sewage from flowing back into homes by automatically closing during backup situations.

Can you stay in a house with a sewer back up?

Although it depends on your unique situation, it’s not recommended to stay in a house with a sewer backup.

Sewage contamination can pose health risks, so it’s typically best to evacuate until the issue is resolved and the area is thoroughly cleaned.

Contact a professional plumber and your insurance company immediately, and follow their guidance for safe cleanup and restoration.

Do you need sewer backup coverage in a condo?

Condos can also experience sewer backup incidents. 

While the responsibility for maintaining the sewage system may vary between homeowners and condominium associations, the consequences of a sewer backup in a condo can be equally devastating.

So, if you don’t have sewer backup coverage as a condo owner, you may find yourself facing hefty repair bills and cleanup costs in the event of a sewage backup.


Now, let’s recap. 

Investing in sewer backup coverage provides financial protection against the costly aftermath of sewer line backups. 

It covers cleanup, repairs, and replacement of damaged property and belongings. 

By prioritizing sewer backup insurance, homeowners can safeguard their homes and finances effectively.