Sump Pumps & Massachusetts

Sump Pump in your basement? The sump pump endorsement is a MUST.

During the spring Nor’easters, plenty of folks in eastern Massachusetts, including myself, experienced prolonged power outages. It was bad enough not to be able to charge our devices, but my sump pump shut down allowing the water to flow out into the basement.

I said to myself, “Bummer. But it seems like a pretty straightforward, covered claim.” Wrong! Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t have the special sump pump endorsement on my policy. Without that endorsement, if the sump pump shuts down for ANY reason, you are out of luck.

I took a look at the Exclusions section of my policy and was horrified to see right there in black and white that water which overflows or is otherwise discharged from a sump, sump pump, or related equipment is not covered. So, even though the power in the whole neighborhood was out through no fault of my own, my sump pump failure was not covered.

I found it counterintuitive for this to be excluded. A homeowner mitigates risk of flooding by installing the sump pump in the first place. A power outage occurs, and the sump pump fails. It has nothing to do with poor maintenance or lack of due diligence. But apparently, insurance companies consider this such a common occurrence, they decided to make it an endorsement rather than a standard coverage.

Chalking it up to a good learning experience, I called my insurance agent and added the endorsement to my policy the next day. It wouldn’t help me for this incident but would if it ever happens again. The endorsement provides limited coverage for sump pump failure – usually $2,500 or $5,000 – and it should cost less than $100 per year. If you have a sump pump, you should have this endorsement. Your agent may not ask you if you have one (mine didn’t), so you need to let them know. Check your current policy. If it’s not there, add it. You don’t want to be surprised after the fact like I was.

Contact Us Today!

At Robert L. McCormack Public Adjusters, we offer many services, and can truly help you throughout the course of your claim. Contact us today via email, or by giving us a call at 508-588-4243 .

What’s a Flood?

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Don’t just assume that a flood is not covered by your regular homeowner’s policy. The insurance industry uses the term “flood” very specifically as water that has crossed the ground and entered the house uninvited. This is the type of flood that needs to be covered by flood insurance from the federal government – the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

To regular people, a “flood” is just a lot of water where it’s not supposed to be. Several years ago, a contractor broke a pipe in my apartment. To me, six inches of water on my floor looked exactly like a flood. To the insurance company, it was called a “pipe burst” and it was covered by my policy. A short time before that, water came in across the ground and through my windows, which were at grade level. That was a “flood” and the damage it caused was not covered.

Here are some more examples of the differences between what type of water damage is covered by your regular homeowner’s policy and what needs a special flood policy from NFIP.

Covered by the homeowner’s policy

  • If your home or building is damaged from the outside by a covered peril (wind, fire, explosion, etc.) and rain gets into the house because of that damage – through a hole in the roof for example – that is a covered loss on the regular homeowner’s policy.

  • If the water originates inside the house like from burst pipes, plumbing overflows, dishwasher/washing machine malfunctions, or kids putting in too much detergent – all covered.

Covered by the National Flood Insurance Program

  • If a storm overflows a body of water near you and water comes over the ground and into your home, that’s an NFIP claim.
  • If there’s a heavy rain and water seeps into your house from the yard through the foundation, that’s an NFIP claim.

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Rule of thumb: as soon as water touches the ground outside and then comes into the house, it’s NFIP.

If you’re unsure, call us to find out.

For more information on the NFIP, click here.