By Chris Bevington, Farmers Insurance
A few months ago, my son flushed a toy train down the toilet at his pre-school. A short time later, Dad got the bill from the school director. Total plumbing repair costs were $700. Fortunately, I only had to pay a small portion of this, as some additional work was done on the drainage system.
Sewage back up in apartment buildings, especially older ones, can be a very common problem. Many of the readers here may have experienced a large-scale sewage/plumbing problem at their property as opposed to fire damage or another major loss. Basic insurance plans have limited sewage back up coverage or perhaps no coverage at all.
Check your property policy to make sure you have adequate coverage for your building. Sewage back up problems can be caused by tenants and the items they decide to dispose down the toilet. Roots growing into the drainage system or a drainage pipe that is crushed under the weight of a vehicle driving across the yard are other common causes of sewage back up.
The larger the size of your property, the more severe the problem can become, especially if the back up commences during a heavy use period, such as a weekday morning when all of your tenants are getting ready for the workday. Educating your tenants on the items that should not be flushed down the toilet is a good idea. Protecting your property by adding adequate sewage and drain back up to your policy is good common sense. Some insurance companies provide endorsements to cover sewage and drain back up that can be tailored to fit the size, age and location of your property. Contact your insurance carrier to see if you are covered.
Bevington is an Agent with Farmers Insurance. He offers business insurance to property owners and renters insurance to your tenants. He is a member of AAGLA and a property manager since 2005. You can reach him at 310-418-1500 or at email@example.com.