Monday, 01 September 2014
Flooding: Drainage Insurance
We should start by clarifying the difference between sewers and drains; a drain being the thing that takes foul sewage and surface water away from a single property (i.e. yours) and a sewer takes sewage and water away from more than one property (i.e. yours' and your neighbours'). The responsibility for drains is staying the same.
You (the homeowner or occupier) are responsible for your home's drains, even when they run beneath someone else's land or a public road. This will still be the case after the first of October 2011. Homeowners and occupiers have also been responsible for any private sewers until the point where they connect to the public sewers (which have always been the responsibility of the corresponding Water and Sewerage Company). Historically, all of the property owners/occupiers have been jointly responsible for the maintenance and repair of the private sewer until it joins the public one. This will cease to be the case from October the first.
Water & Sewage Companies
When October begins, the Water and Sewerage Companies will inherit responsibility for all private sewers and lateral drains that connect to the public sewer. They will not take responsibility for any private sewers that transport water directly to a watercourse or are connected to a private treatment works and pumping station. Nor will they be responsible for your drains. When drains become blocked, you are able to contact your local authority's environmental health department who have the power to undertake remedial work and recover the costs that they incur from the relevant owner/occupier. If your neighbours' blocked drains are causing water to enter your property, the local council will also be able to provide you with advice.
There are a number of ways you can avoid causing a drain to become blocked or damaged, beginning with taking care to dispose of your waste correctly. Millions of pounds are spent every year in the UK to clear hundreds of thousands of tons of sewer blockages caused by improperly disposed of waste. If you are planning construction work that will involve the repair, reconstruction or redirection of a drain, you are obliged by law to notify your local authority's building control department. You are also advised to plant vegetation well away from drains and route new drains away from existing vegetation where possible.
No matter who is responsible for your drains, if your drains have flooded at any point in the past (for any reason) and damage was done to your property then it is likely that you will have a hard time getting specialist home insurance. There are a number of situations where you might find yourself in need of non standard home insurance, and in most of these cases you will have to look further afield to find the cover you need at a price you'd prefer. With HomeProtect you can get specialist house insurance in almost all circumstances, with a competitive online quote. We believe that specialist insurance should always be available to the people that need it most.