Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on November 29, 2021. It has 0 comments.

damaged sewer line covered by a sewer line backup insurance policy

Welcome to every homeowner’s worst nightmare: foul sludge bubbling up from your pipes into the tub or your yard. It gets everywhere, smells disgusting, and costs thousands in damage. Sewage backups and line damage wreak havoc on homes all the time.

Will your homeowners insurance policy cover sewer line replacement? Here’s what you need to know.

Sewer Lines and Homeowners Insurance

Sewage backups are almost never covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. You may be able to add a rider or purchase standalone sewer insurance to cover it, though. Sewer line replacement is rarely covered but in special circumstances, it might be.

“Acts of God” tend to be broadly defined in homeowners insurance policies, so if a tree falls in a storm and breaks the sewer line that way, your homeowners policy may cover the repairs and replacement.

“Acts of another person/third party” are included in your standard policy but this would mean damage from someone like a contractor or a tenant. A contractor should have their own insurance, though, so you may not need to file a claim. Tenant damage is only likely to be covered if you have proper insurance for property you’re renting. Purchasing a standard homeowners policy and not disclosing that you rent out your home will likely end in a denied claim.

Damage caused by an earthquake would fall under an earthquake policy while damage caused by a flood would likely be filed under your flood insurance. Neither instances are automatically included in your homeowners insurance and must be purchased as separate policies.

Most sewer line problems occur from tree roots growing into the pipes and causing damage or clogs in the pipes. Both are unlikely to be covered by your homeowners insurance policy at all.

How to Make Sure Your Sewer Lines Can Be Replaced

The best option for sewer line replacement (and sewage backup coverage) is to purchase sewer insurance. Add-ons and riders to your policy tend to offer limited coverage. Standalone policies offer the most coverage.

Every policy will be a bit different, but in general, coverage can include:

  • Clogs and backups
  • Corrosion
  • Collapses
  • Defects
  • Freezing
  • Deterioration
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • Wear and tear

While every homeowner should consider sewer insurance coverage, homes built in the 1970s and earlier and homes on wooded lots regardless of age definitely need to think about it. Age, wear and tear, and tree roots all contribute heavily to sewer line damage.

Take Care of Your Sewer Lines

The best way to avoid an expensive sewer line replacement or dealing with a sewage backup is to take care of your sewer lines. The first step is to know where they’re located. Once you do, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Plant shrubs and trees away from sewer lines. Tree roots are a common cause of sewer line damage.
  • Avoid parking over your sewer lines or storing anything heavy over them. The weight and pressure can damage the lines.
  • Only flush waste and toilet paper down the toilet. “Flushable” wipes aren’t really flushable and can cause clogs and damage over time.
  • Never pour grease down the drains. It will definitely cause a clog.
  • Pay attention to what’s going on in your home and lawn like: the sound of water dripping, indentations in your lawn, slow draining, sewer smells, rodent problems, mold, slow drains, and more. Get these problems looked at as soon as possible.
  • Have your plumbing inspected annually to take care of problems sooner, rather than later.
  • Consider having your metal pipes replaced with plastic ones.

Ready to add sewer coverage to your home insurance policy? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote and to find the best policy for your home and your budget.

Insurance for Full Time RVers – Avoid These Mistakes

Written By Charlotte Insurance on November 26, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a retired couple standing in front of their RV thinking about their need for full time RV insurance

RV life appeals to more people now than ever before. From retirees to 20-somethings, many are making their RV their full-time home. No matter why you’ve sold your house and put everything into your home on wheels, you need to protect it with the right insurance coverage.

Make sure you don’t make these common RV insurance mistakes.

Mistake: Not Telling Your Agent You’re a Full Time RVer

The type of RV insurance coverage you need as a part-time user is much different than living in your RV full time. Not only do you need coverage for the RV itself, but liability and personal property coverage become more important. Plus, not all RV policies cover full-time living, so if you don’t disclose that, you might not have coverage when you need it most.

Mistake: Taking the First Policy You Find

It’s important to shop around for your RV insurance because not all insurers offer the same level of coverage or for the same price. Working with an independent insurance agency like ours makes this an easy process. One person does the work for you to get you multiple quotes so you can pick the best policy for you.

Mistake: Not Having Enough Liability Coverage

Your liability risk increases as a full time RVer. It’s important to consider your liability similarly to a homeowner. What if your dog bites someone? What if someone falls near your RV, even if it’s in a common area? You want a large enough policy to take care of any potential lawsuits and medical bills if someone gets hurt.

Mistake: Not Having Enough Personal Property Coverage

Because you’re living in your RV all the time, you’re hauling around all of your possessions. This is what you need to live. You’re not on vacation, so you likely have laptops for work, valuables you don’t want to put in storage, and everything you need to function in your RV. It’s important to have enough personal property coverage to replace everything, if necessary.

Mistake: Not Asking About Replacement Cost Coverage

RV insurance tends to function like both homeowners insurance and auto insurance at the same time. With auto insurance, the default is to replace a totaled automobile based on its current value while home insurance replaces a lost home at the cost to rebuild (up to the policy limit). Since your RV is your home, you need to know it will be replaced after a major accident. Replacement cost coverage will help you do that, but it’s not always automatically included in an RV policy.

Mistake: Thinking RV Insurance is Too Expensive

RV insurance is often more affordable than people realize. A full time RV policy will be more expensive than the policy you need for casual use. However, if you’ve been living in a home with homeowners insurance, you may be surprised at how affordable your RV policy is by comparison. Working with an independent insurance agency will help you find the best price.

Living in your RV full time is a big adventure and a major life change. You want the freedom to go where the road takes you. Don’t let one accident ruin it all. Make sure you have the right RV insurance and enough of it for your new RV life.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a new RV policy!

Self-Employed Business Insurance: What Do You Need to Protect Yourself?

Written By Charlotte Insurance on November 24, 2021. It has 0 comments.

someone working at their computer researching self employed insurance options

someone working at their computer researching self employed insurance options

You finally did it. You left the nine to five, made the leap, and now work for yourself. There’s a lot to worry about once you become self-employed, including what you’ll do when things go wrong.

Make sure you protect yourself and your new business with the right self-employed business insurance coverage. Every business is unique, but there are a few forms of coverage that every business needs to consider. Start with these types of insurance.

General Liability

The most common of all business insurance coverages, it’s also the most important. A person interacting with your business – a vendor making deliveries, a client you meet at a coffee shop, a shopper in your booth at the craft fair – can easily hurt themselves or sustain property damage in the course of working with you. When that happens, you’re liable for the damages. General liability is what pays for those damages and it helps you if you’re sued because of the damage done.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Yes, even self-employed people who work from home and “never go anywhere” need to consider commercial auto insurance. Why? Because all business owners need to drive for business at some point. More importantly, your personal auto insurance won’t cover you if an accident occurs while you’re driving for business purposes. Trips to buy supplies, drop off an order, and meet with a client all count as “business purposes.”

Errors & Omissions or Professional Liability

For self-employed individuals who provide a service or who use their expertise to provide goods, you need professional liability (aka errors and omissions) coverage. This protects you when an unhappy customer or client accuses you of causing harm because of a professional mistake. Maybe they think your advice wasn’t very good. Maybe you made a mistake in your service and it cost them money or reputation. Professional liability pays the damages and covers you if you’re sued.

Commercial Property Insurance

Working from home? Your homeowners insurance likely won’t cover your business property. If it does, it will only provide a certain amount, anywhere from $1000 to $5000. This may not be enough to replace equipment, inventory, materials, supplies, or anything else you need to operate your business. Some policies may not cover business property at all. If your business property is damaged or destroyed, you need to get back to work as soon as possible – commercial property insurance will help you do that.

Health Insurance

Yes, you need health insurance when you’re self-employed. Not only do you not want to face massive medical bills, you’re also now fully responsible for a business. Taking care of your health, especially with preventative care, allows you to continue to work. Neglecting your health because of a lack of insurance could lead to more serious injury or illness which stops you from working and building your business.

Life Insurance

A lot of people don’t think about life insurance, in part because their employer may offer coverage as a benefit. Once you work for yourself, you have to provide your own benefits, and life insurance is an important one. No matter your family structure, married or single, with or without kids, your life insurance policy will help those you leave behind. It reduces the financial strain many families feel and is one your final chance to take care of those you love.

Workers’ Compensation

If you’re new to the self-employed life, you likely can’t imagine hiring employees. But it’s not unheard of for solopreneurs to grow to the point of needing help. When you hire someone as an employee, you will be required to purchase workers’ comp coverage. This pays for their medical bills and lost wages if they get hurt or sick in the course of working for you. It also protects you in case they decide to sue.

Coverage Specific to Your Business

Every business is unique, and there will be some insurance coverages that apply to one business and not another. It’s important to work with an independent insurance agency who understands this and can offer unique coverages that help you protect your business. You don’t need a cookie-cutter policy because you’re not a cookie-cutter business.

Contact Charlotte Insurance today to discuss your self-employed business insurance needs!

How to Prevent Moisture From Damaging Your House

Written By Charlotte Insurance on November 8, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a rain storm

Water is essential for life to exist, but it also has powerful destructive potential when not properly managed. As unwanted water makes its way into your home, it can lead to safety concerns, negatively impact the comfort and functionality of your living spaces, and ruin the aesthetics of your property. As a result, the best way to prevent moisture from damaging your house is to build with water-resistant materials. The following breakdown looks at some of the elite materials in this regard and how they can prevent moisture from damaging your house. 

Upgrade the Roof

a new roof being installed

There isn’t a more obvious place for water to enter your home than via a leaking roof, making quality roofing an essential component in preventing moisture damage. Common roofing products, such as asphalt shingles and wood shakes, provide reasonable protection against rain, snow, and hail when new. However, these products can begin to crack, blister, and/or raise in as little as 10 years, creating an insidious network through which moisture can infiltrate your home.

More durable, long-lasting products, such as slate or metal, often come with a prohibitive price tag. For example, it can cost a whopping $16 per square foot to have a slate roof installed.

To find the perfect balance between cost and durability, it is worthwhile to consider the benefits of synthetic roofing solutions. There are countless colors, designs, and styles, such as composite asphalt, wood, and slate roof shingles, that are nearly indistinguishable from their traditional counterparts. However, composite roofing comes with a 50-year limited warranty and comes with an industry-leading impact rating, providing the confidence homeowners need for sealing their roof against moisture damage. 

Modernize the Siding

yellow siding on a house

Like roofing, quality siding is another necessary component in sealing the building envelope from moisture damage. Also like roofing, traditionally popular materials may not be the best choice.

Wood planks offer a natural, rustic appearance when new. However, they must be regularly painted, oiled, or otherwise treated (typically at least every other year) in order for them to maintain their appearance and insulative properties. If left untreated, wood planks will readily absorb moisture that will compromise the integrity of the home and ruin its aesthetics. 

Brick is another popular material that is often thought of as an indestructible siding choice. While brick does have the potential to withstand the elements, it is also highly porous, making it likely that brick will crack during any freezing and thawing.

Therefore, it is worthwhile to consider some more innovative house siding options. One particularly strong idea is fiber cement, which is made from a mixture of sand, silica, cellulose fiber, and Portland cement to provide elite impact resistance and prevent moisture damage with little maintenance required on the part of the homeowner. 

Replace the Windows

window installer installing a new window

As windows age, the frames tend to rot and the seals begin to crack. In fact, many older homes likely have dark splotches around their old wooden window frames where moisture has entered and caused a mold buildup.

To prevent moisture from entering via degraded window frames, vinyl windows make a particularly strong choice. Fabricated in a number of attractive designs to mimic the appearance of natural wood frames, vinyl windows are completely resistant to inclement weather and maintain their appearance with little effort required by the homeowner. 

Install Nonporous Countertops and Flooring

new countertop being installed

Sometimes, moisture damage does not occur as a result of Mother Nature, with the ways we use water in our day-to-day lives a threat to also undermine our homes. Whether it be spills in the kitchen or drips in the bathroom, water damage can be a normal part of the wear-and-tear process in the home.

As a result, it is critical to install nonporous countertop and flooring options in the kitchen and bathroom. Solid surface and quartz are a couple of trendy countertop materials that are completely nonporous, while luxury vinyl tile makes for a more affordable, nonporous flooring alternative to porcelain tile. 

Don’t Neglect the Exterior

exterior of a house

When people think of moisture damage to the home, they often think about the ways in which moisture can enter the home’s interior and diminish the comfort, functionality, and safety of interior living spaces. While this is definitely a concern, homeowners should not forget about the ways in which moisture can damage the exterior of the home.

On top of the obvious landscaping rule of making sure that your lawns slope slightly away from your house to prevent stormwater from flowing toward the home and compromising the foundation, moisture control in the home’s exterior is essential for maximizing the curb appeal and functionality of outdoor spaces. Some ways to accomplish this include:

  • Replacing your concrete driveway with a permeable gravel driveway that will not crack due to moisture absorption
  • Installing a new pool deck drain that utilizes an understated slot drain to keep your pool area free of standing water
  • Erecting pergolas with louvered roofs to help protect grills, patios, and outdoor kitchens from precipitation  

Choose the Best Moisture Preventing Materials

In order to prevent moisture from damaging your house, it is critical to choose water-resistant materials when building and renovating. To this effect, composite roofing, fiber cement siding, vinyl windows, quartz countertops, luxury vinyl tile flooring, and exterior slot drains are a few of the most innovative products on the market that can keep moisture from damaging your house. 

Roger Marx is a contributor to the Innovative Building Materials blog. He is a content writer for the construction and home improvement industries with an interest in landscaping, outdoor remodeling, and home renovation. Roger is focused on educating homeowners, contractors, and architects on innovative materials and methods of construction that increase property value and improve sustainability.


Sewer Backup Insurance – Gross But Necessary

Written By Charlotte Insurance on November 1, 2021. It has 0 comments.

a flood basement in a home with sewage backup insurance

No one wants to think about sewer lines, waste, and a sewage backup. We wash things down sink drains and flush toilets to make sure we don’t have to think about it. Sewage is gross.

What’s grosser still is a sewage backup. Finding yourself ankle deep in sewage in your basement, bathroom, or front yard is a homeowner’s nightmare. Sewer backup insurance won’t stop all backups but it will help you deal with the grossness when it happens.

Here’s what you need to know.

What About Your Homeowners Insurance?

Under no circumstances will a standard homeowners policy cover sewage backup. In certain specific instances it might cover sewer line repair. But getting the sewage out of your home and everything cleaned up will be your responsibility.

You can add sewer backup coverage to your existing policy through a rider, endorsement, or add-on. The problem, though, is that these add-ons tend to provide fairly limited coverage. In a major backup, it likely won’t be enough to cover all the damage.

You may have flood insurance but don’t count on it to help you with a sewage problem. Any sewer backup flooding that’s directly tied to the septic won’t be covered under a flood insurance policy.

You Need Sewer Backup Insurance

Sewer backup insurance is made for the ultimate in grossness – a sewage backup in your home.

  1. It covers standing sewage in your tub, toilet, basement, or anywhere in your home.
  2. Some policies may also pay for the repair of your sewer line, up to where you connect to the city lines, depending on the cause of the damage.
  3. Your policy may also pay to get the sewage and water out of your home.

A policy likely won’t cover any damage to the sewer lines that occurred through a lack of maintenance. There are ways to prevent problems and if a lack of care led to the damage, your claim might not be paid.

Sewer backup policies also won’t cover standing sewage if it’s determined the problem was the fault of your city or municipality. You will need to work with them to get the costs covered.

Who Needs Sewer Backup Insurance

In short, everyone needs sewer backup insurance. If your home is brand new and your pipes are plastic, you may have some time before damage to sewer lines is a concern, but not as much time as you think. Clogs can lead to sewer backups, too, and those happen easier and faster than you realize.

Who needs sewer insurance right now?

  • Anyone in a home that was built in the 1970s or earlier.
  • Anyone with trees and shrubs near your sewer lines.
  • Anyone in a home on a wooded lot

In these cases, tree roots may have had time to grow into the sewer lines and the sewer lines are old enough to be more easily damaged.

But if you want to give yourself peace of mind, purchase sewer backup insurance even if your  home is newer or your lot has no trees.

How to Prevent Sewer Backups

Even with the best insurance coverage money can buy, no one wants a sewage backup in their home. Here’s what you can do to help prevent it in the first place:

  • Dispose of grease correctly. Don’t pour it down the drain. Instead allow it to cool in a container and then throw it away.
  • Only flush waste and toilet paper. Never flush diapers, feminine hygiene products, or even wipes labelled “flushable.”
  • Maintain, repair, and replace your sewer lines as needed. An annual inspection of your sewer lines by a plumber is recommended.
  • Install a backwater prevention valve. This will allow the sewage to go out without letting it come back in.

Ready to protect your home from the high cost and grossness of a sewer backup? Contact Charlotte Insurance today for a free quote on a sewer insurance policy!