Sewer Backup

Sewer Backup Insurance

Most homeowners do not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline between the city's sewer main pipe and their home. Most standard homeowners insurance does NOT include sewer backup coverage. Sewer backup insurance, if available from the homeowners insurance company, may be added as a rider. Premium for $5000 to $10,000 in damages can run about $75 to $150 annually according to FEMA. Typically, there is a deductible as well. Homeowners can call their insurance company to make sure sewer backup insurance is available. Sewer backups can cause thousands of dollars in damage and cleanup and possible plumbing repair. With more demand placed on sewer treatment plants and the aging infrastructure, sewer backups happen with increasing frequency. According to the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, incidents of sewer backups are increasing at an annual rate of 3 percent. The aging of the nation's sewer systems and of the homes they serve, serves to increase the chance of a backup. However, only 55 percent of homes have insurance that covers damage from sewer backups

To lessen the chances of a backup, properly dispose of items such as grease, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, diapers, etc. Improper disposal of these type items (such as flushing down the toilet or in the sink) can greatly increase the chance of a backup occurring.

How to Deal with a Sewer Backup

Wastewater can backup into your home or on your property when a sanitary sewer pipe is blocked. These problems may occur in your private sewer line or in the public sewer main. A backup within the public sewer system will create an inflow of wastewater into your home. The inflow will most likely be continuous. If a drain or plumbing fixtures is overflowing only when you are using water, the problem is most likely within your private sewer line. If you are experiencing periodic backups or slow flowing drains, the problem is due to a blockage within your private sewer line and you should call a plumber to clean the line.

In the unfortunate event of a sanitary sewer backup within the public sewer system that is causing a wastewater flow into your home or on your property, please follow these steps:

1) Contact Utilities Department.
  • Between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, contact Wastewater Division at 913-422-7242 or the Utilities Department at 913-422-8117
  • During all other hours including holidays, please call 913-791-2871 for emergencies.

2) Wastewater Division staff will be dispatched to investigate the condition of the public sewer. City crews will evaluate the condition of the public sewer main during normal business hours at no cost to you. If a customer requires that City staff respond to backup condition after-hours and the backup is NOT an INFLOW condition that is due from a City sewer main blockage, a $75 Inspection Fee will be charged.
  • If no blockage is found in the public sewer, the blockage is in the private sewer. The property owner is responsible for blockages in the private sewer.
  • If the blockage is in the public sewer, the supervisor will be the person to contact (contactor) and a call for the resources needed to remedy the problem will be made.

3) Wastewater Division staff will clear any blockage discovered in the public sewer.
Your private sewer line (lateral line) will not be evaluated by the City.
  • Crews are authorized only to evaluate the condition of the public sewer and repair problems found in the public sewer.

4) The homeowner must take steps to mitigate their damages.
  • Crews are not authorized to spend public resources, such as equipment and labor, to pump out basements or help you with cleaning up your private property. Even if the back up resulted from problems in the public sewer, you are responsible for cleaning up and making necessary repairs.

5) Claim Adjusters determine if you are eligible for reimbursement of costs.

  • Document any damages in writing, by taking photos and by saving any receipts.
  • You may report any damages to your homeowners’ insurance company. You may or may not be eligible for reimbursement of your costs from your homeowners insurance.
  • If the blockage was in the public sewer main, any damages may be reported to the City's Third Party Administrator. You may or may not be eligible for reimbursement of your costs from the City. To report the claim to the City, contact Carol Sharp, Risk Manager; City of Bonner Springs at 913-667-1707. The report will be forwarded to the City's Claim Administrator. The Claim Administrator will assign an adjuster who is responsible for determining whether your costs can be reimbursed
Although the City performs routine and periodic maintenance, blockages can still occur. Most sewer blockages are the result of people putting grease, trash or other inappropriate materials down the sewer lines or in manholes. The City's insurance company cannot be held responsible for the damages which result from such inappropriate materials.

Additional Information:

Basement Flooding - SS Backup

Repairing Your Flooded Home