Updated Jan 10, 2023
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Common sewer line issues like pipe corrosion, mystery clogs, and mainline leaks not only stink to deal with but are expensive to resolve out-of-pocket. Beyond professional excavation and leak detection fees, the average cost of a general sewer line repair starts at around $2,500. Partial replacements will cost you between $50 and $250 per foot of pipe.
Here are the top picks to protect your pipes.
Purchasing a home warranty plan ahead of time ensures you won’t owe thousands of dollars for an untimely sewer line stoppage or pipe break. It also guarantees that you’ll have instant access to a qualified plumbing service ready to tackle the job in a matter of hours.
Read on for more information on what sewer line insurance coverage includes, where to find the best home warranty provider on the market for sewer lines, and how to keep your home’s drainage system free-flowing from the start.
Our in-house research team vetted dozens of top-performing home warranty providers and settled on the following five companies specifically for the scope of their sewer line coverage, transparent contract expectations, and fair cost-to-coverage ratios.
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House Method’s Experts collected and analyzed 2000+ critical data points to identify what makes a great home warranty company in the eye of the consumer. Our reviews team used this data to assess over 60 home warranty providers for coverage extent, annual cost, and national availability to provide unbiased reviews so homeowners can confidently navigate key decisions about their homes.
Choice Home Warranty (CHW) is one of our top picks for sewer line protection. Both of its base policies — the Basic Plan and the Total Plan — automatically include plumbing and drain line stoppages, which also applies to exterior sewer lines up to a certain point beyond the home.
In its sample policy, CHW states it’ll cover clearing mainline and lateral drain sewer stoppages through an accessible cleanout up to 100 feet from the primary access point. Choice won’t cover maintenance for sewer ejector pumps without the purchase of its septic system add-on coverage.
For more information, read our Choice Home Warranty Review.
Select Home Warranty (SHW) is a home warranty industry leader, particularly well-known for its generous seasonal rotation of promotions and unique offerings for new joiners. Select Home Warranty divides its standard coverage into three main plan options: Bronze Care for appliances, Gold Care for systems, and Platinum Care which is a combo plan.
Both SHW’s Platinum and Gold Care plans include stoppages in drains and sewer lines up to 100 feet from the access point. Select won’t, however, cover pipe breaks, leaks, or collapses beyond the main foundation of the home. It also excludes sewer line issues caused by tree root infiltration as that doesn’t constitute age-related deterioration.
Read our Select Home Warranty review to learn more.
As one of the oldest home warranty providers in the game and with an impressive customer base of over 1.8 million members, American Home Shield (AHS) has all the credentials of a reputable provider.
Not all top home warranty companies cover sewer line leaks due to sediment, rust, or corrosion, but American Home Shield does. AHS is an ideal option for customers who recently purchased an older home because its home warranties also include coverage for pre-existing conditions that go undetected by property inspections.
Specific to sewer line coverage, American Home Shield covers mainline stoppages clearable through an already existing access (without excavation). AHS will also cover one round of septic tank pumping per policy period, only if the stoppage is a septic backup.
Read our American Home Shield review to learn more.
The Home Service Club (HSC) is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for prompt coverage, allowing customers to start using their coverage just ten days after enrollment. HSC also offers 24/7 customer service, so you can request service for your sewer line as soon as an issue arises.
Unlike other providers mentioned above, HSC offers sewer line coverage as an optional item through its Utility & Home Service Line package. HSC customers are covered with this rider for basic plumbing clogs, mainline, lateral, and sewer stoppages up to 100 feet from an access point. Root infiltration and drain obstructions due to foreign objects are among some things HSC won’t cover.
Continue reading about HSC in our complete The Home Service Club review.
With an A rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an impressive track record of positive customer feedback, Liberty Home Guard (LHG) offers all-around dependable home warranty coverage.
Liberty Home Guard categorizes its standard coverage levels by type with an appliance-only plan, a systems plan, and a comprehensive combo plan. Both the Systems Guard and Total Home Guard levels cover clogs and sewer line damage up to 100 feet from the access point. Mainline stoppages are only eligible for coverage if no excavation is required to access the pipe.
LHG won’t cover repairs for galvanized or polybutylene pipes, slab leaks, drain camera inspections, or blockages that can’t be cleared with a drain snake or cable.
To learn more information, visit our Liberty Home Guard review.
A home warranty plan is a service contract that provides coverage for major appliances and home systems as they begin to fail due to age-related use. Along with whole-house interior plumbing and toilet maintenance, sewer line coverage is also typically deemed a standard inclusion in most home protection policies.
Yet, because your sewer lines will typically be considered under the same plumbing inclusion clause as all other plumbing in your home, most home warranty companies won’t cover sewer line issues that occur beyond a certain distance from the main foundation of the house.
Many people incorrectly assume that their municipal utility company is responsible for any problems in water and sewer lines, but in reality, homeowners are liable to maintain the lines running through their property and into their houses. Most cities are only required to ensure installation is completed correctly.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy probably isn’t going to cover these kinds of problems, either, unless you purchase a special rider for your policy that covers sewer backups or similar issues. For that reason, many municipal utilities urge their customers to buy a warranty for protection.
Though investing in a home warranty with sewer line coverage is a good idea for all homeowners, we especially recommend it for older homes with their original sewer systems.
Newer homes typically use ABS or PVC pipes which are far more durable than other traditional pipe types like clay, cast-iron, and Orangeburg. Homes built in the 1950s and 1960s usually have pipes made of Orangeburg, a fiber conduit material notorious for collapsing over time.
As residential water infrastructures age, line breaks become more common. A Utah State University study found that water main breaks rose by 27% from 2012 to 2018 in the United States and Canada. For cast-iron pipes specifically, breaks were up by 43% within that time frame.
Sewer line coverage is designed to help homeowners amend pipe leaks, clogs, and breaks caused by natural wear and tear over the years, all at a discounted rate. If you have checked your service contract prior to signing to ensure sewer line coverage, a broken sewer line is covered by insurance. However, coverage inclusions aren’t always the same from provider to provider, but there are a few sewer line scenarios that are fairly ubiquitous.
Standard sewer line coverage usually includes:
Remember that all these services will be covered within a certain annual coverage limit, usually between $1,500 and $3,000.
Sewer line coverage covers a relatively broad range of service needs, but there are still some limitations to be aware of.
Most home warranty companies won’t approve claims for sewer line issues related to:
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On average, the monthly cost of a home warranty plan usually ranges between $30 and $60, however that price point is subject to change based on whether or not you choose to build your policy out with elective coverage add-ons. You may also have the option to pay annually or for a multi-year policy, depending on your provider.
Because the vast majority of home warranty companies offer coverage for sewer lines in their base plans, you won’t have to worry about paying any additional fees to protect your sewer system.
Homeowners with septic tanks rather than access to a shared public sewer system, however, will likely need to purchase supplementary coverage for their sewage maintenance needs. Because decentralized septic tanks are installed underground and away from the home, they won’t be covered as a primary home system in the same way that localized sewer lines are.
Aside from the lingering odor of sewage in or around your home, there are few telltale signs that your sewer system may be damaged or obstructed, including:
If you already have a home warranty that covers outside plumbing with sewer line protection and suspect there’s something wrong with your sewer system, here’s what you’ll need to do to access your coverage benefits.
The first step you’ll need to take is notifying your provider of the issue at hand. Most home warranty companies offer 24/7 customer service, so call to contact a representative or log into your online member portal.
After reporting the issue, your service provider will usually take 24-48 hours to verify the claim and ensure that the problem at hand is covered under your warranty. Once your claim has been approved, your provider will dispatch a pre-screened technician to your property to assess the issue.
You’ll need to be prepared to pay the service call deductible as disclosed in your contract at this diagnostic appointment. The contractor dispatched to your home will use this time to diagnose your sewer system’s problem and then draft a quote for the servicing necessary to resolve the issue. This quote will be communicated back to your service provider.
After a diagnosis is made, the repair appointment for covered items only will be scheduled. Depending on the course of action that your service provider decides to take, you’ll be spared the cost of any maintenance that occurs within your annual coverage limit. All other necessary work that exceeds your coverage maximum will be left to you to pay for.
For all parts and elements listed within your contract, the sewer line repair will be covered by insurance. However, your service policy will have a list of exclusions that will not be covered by insurance.
Home insurance policies don’t typically cover these issues unless you specifically purchase a rider for sewer line coverage. Not every insurance company will offer this rider, but if your policy is from a national company, like State Farm or Allstate, they’ll probably have it.
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover septic systems because they’re located away from the home’s main structure and therefore aren’t considered part of the house. Some insurers offer a rider that covers septic tanks, but home insurance doesn’t cover the normal wear and tear that often results in septic system breakdowns, so you might want to look into a home warranty that includes your septic system.
Probably not. Homeowners insurance protects against specific disasters or accidents that occur suddenly and unexpectedly. A tree root intruding into a pipe is a gradual process, making it unlikely that your insurance will cover it. Still, for confirmation, check your insurance documents or ask your agent.
Because sewer lines aren’t located in plain view, it’s easy for a leak or break to go unseen until significant secondary damage has already occurred. And while regular maintenance is the only proactive way to stay ahead of inevitable pipe failures, routine inspections and line cleanouts can add up quickly — not to mention any future replacement costs.
With a home warranty in your back pocket, you’ll not only be covered for your residential sewer lines, but also a surplus of other home repairs that a regular home insurance policy won’t defray the costs for.
Finally, on top of the thousands, you’ll save on unexpected repairs and replacements, you’ll also have the peace of mind that essential items in your home will be restored to working order by a qualified service technician — and with no research required on your end.
While the best water and sewer line insurance and warranty plans can provide some relief if you experience problems with your pipes, it’s best to try to prevent a backup from ever happening.
At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. We’ve done the homework for you and have researched over 50 home warranty companies so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
Our team spent hours on the phone speaking to representatives from each home warranty company to get information right from the source. We also dug into the fine print on each company’s service agreement to ensure no detail was left out.
To make the most of our research, we developed an objective rating system to score each home warranty company based on the following criteria:
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