What to do when sewer backs up

Sewer back up happens during the rainy season when there is so much water and sewage flowing into the sewage system that the system is overloaded. You can also have sewer back up from tree roots, flushing disposable diapers and other improper items or from the sewer pipes collapsing. So what do you do when this happens?

These are the first steps you should take if you have a sewer backing up:

  • During a rainstorm, heavy hailstorm, unusual continuous precipitation check your basement frequently. At the first sign of flooding, move your belongings upstairs to prevent water damage.
  • Contact your insurance agent or broker as soon as possible. If you call and it is after office hours there is usually an emergency number available. Your agent will arrange for an adjuster to contact you.
  • Do not garbage any damaged items. Keep them so that when the adjuster comes they can see what damage has occurred.
  • Start making a list of damaged items. This list should include when the items were purchased, how much was paid for them and if your have any receipts or proof of purchase then this is very helpful. It is important that you be accurate but it is okay to say "estimated" when you do not know the exact date or amount.

How to clean up after a sewer back up

Taking control of your insurance is important. Understanding how the claim will work is your right. Ask questions of the adjuster and be willing to work with them on reaching a fair settlement of your claim. Remember, insurance companies are in the business of paying claims and they are very good at determining actual values of loss. Of course, you asked if you had sewer back up coverage when you met with your broker or received your renewal? You do know what your limit is?