Should you get insurance for your home water or sewer line?

A sewer or water line failure can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Paying for private utility insurance to protect yourself may sound like a good bargain. This may not necessarily be the case.

NUD takes no position on private plumbing insurance. NUD maintains the lines in the public right of way—outside of easements, plumbing on private property is the homeowner’s responsibility. (This interactive diagram helps show the division of public and private responsibility.)

But to help you make an informed decision, here are a few things to consider before you enroll:

Your home plumbing age and material type

Different materials have different lifespans. If your home is newer, you may not want to pay for coverage you won’t need right away.

What the insurance actually covers

Read the fine print carefully. Insurance policies often have exclusions that limit coverage. Check for:

  • Line length and depth limitation—if your water or sewer line falls outside the limit for length or depth, repair claims could be denied.
  • No coverage for “acts of nature,” accidents, maintenance or negligence issues. “Maintenance” issues can be broadly defined—for example, insurance may not cover failures from a pressure reducing valve on a water line, or root intrusion issues on a sewer line.
  • Coverage limitation for “pre-existing conditions.” If a portion of your line failed prior to coverage, a repair claim for a new break in the same area may be denied.
  • Coverage to repair, but not replace water/sewer lines. Paying multiple deductibles for repairs could cost more than replacing the line.
  • Coverage for water line repairs, but not water loss costs.

Other limitations or exclusions to watch for:

  • Landscape restoration (often a hefty expense).
  • Waiting period before coverage starts.
  • Requirements to use the insurance provider’s contractors, rather than your own plumber.

An insurance policy may buy you peace of mind that, should an issue occur, you’ll have a safety net. Or, you might find it more valuable to invest in your own home emergency fund. We hope this info helps you make the best decision for you.