Does Home Insurance Cover Damage or Leakage From Your Septic Tank?
Caeva O'Callaghan | January 19th, 2022
A septic tank leak can make an unpleasant mess, but is it covered by your home insurance?
Yes – although most people don’t realise that this is the case.
Here at QuoteMe.ie, we don’t encounter leaking septic tank claims very often, but when we do it’s often a pleasant surprise to the homeowner that it’s covered by their home insurance.
However, there are some facts you need to be aware of if you have a septic tank, so read on to find out more.
In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:
- Is my septic tank covered by my insurance?
- What happens if my septic tank leaks?
- How can I prevent a septic tank incident?
Septic tank and septic tank insurance claims are not something you want to trifle with, so make sure you’re aware of what’s involved before you proceed.
Is my septic tank covered by my home insurance?
Yes. Your septic tank will be covered by your buildings insurance, which is part of any standard home insurance. As it’s a permanent fixture in your home, involved in the treatment and disposal of household waste, it’s treated the same for insurance purposes as other fixtures such as pipes and plumbing.
However, most claims related to septic tank leakage are far from straightforward. Your insurance company will likely try to defend the claim when it is made, stating that the leak was as a result of normal wear and tear, which is never covered under standard house insurance.
As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to maintain your property and its fixtures. If you do not, it’s your fault if they break down as a result of this negligence. But it can be difficult to prove if your septic tank has leaked as a result of damage or fault, so it’s important to establish the cause of the damage and leakage.
This is why we recommend that you engage a specialist claims handler to negotiate on your behalf. They’ll argue with your insurance company, providing evidence to back up your claim and fighting for the best result possible.
What happens if my septic tank leaks?
In short, a big stinking mess. Septic tank leaks are – quite rightly – the stuff of any homeowner’s nightmares.
The first sign that a septic tank is leaking is often a foul odour. If you smell sewer gases, this may mean that one of the system’s lids is either damaged or out of position, which is an easy fix. Or, toxic gases could also be escaping from the tank body itself, meaning that the tank body may have cracks or holes.
Another sign your septic tank may be leaking is unusually lush vegetation around the tank. As waste material and extra water leaks into the soil, it causes plants to become fertilised with the material. A soggy, or bog-like area may form around the tank, encouraging different species to grow.
The soil around your leaking tank may also compact if there is a leak, and the ground could sag and drop down as a result. This is especially likely if the area surrounding your septic tank consists of loose backfill that was dumped there after the septic tank was placed in the hole. Look out for standing water.
Finally, if your toilets and sinks are backing up or are slow to drain, this is another warning sign that something has gone wrong.
How can I prevent a septic tank incident?
If your property has a septic tank system, there are many things that you can do to help prolong its life and avoid an insurance claim.
First of all, divert excess surface water away from the drainfield. A saturated drainfield can’t absorb enough septic waste, so plan landscaping, roof gutters and surface drains so that excess water is diverted away from the soakaway area.
Don’t overload your system: try and use less water in your household to reduce the impact on your septic tank, as well as the environment. If your septic tank pre-dates the current regulations, it is probably too small and struggling to cope with current flow rates.
Saving water can be accomplished by fixing leaking taps, fitting aerators, and running washing machines and dishwashers only on full loads.
Don’t ever flush anything that shouldn’t be flushed: cat litter, unflushable beauty wipes and more get put down the toilet, and will clog up a septic system very fast. This applies to cleaning solutions and chemicals, as well. Overuse of antibacterial products can kill the beneficial bacteria in a septic tank system which digest the solids.
Having a septic tank leak is never a pleasant situation, but your home insurance will cover it as long as you can prove it’s not your fault. If you want to make sure of where you stand with your insurance provider, give us a call today. Call us between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.