Septic Tank Insurance Claims: All you need to Know.

By March 19, 2019Blog

It is not surprising for us at all to realise that, more often than not, most people do not realise they are entitled to a septic Tank Insurance Claim whenever they happen to have a septic tank problem- which they will almost assuredly do.

The question then begins to rag: when and how does the sewage problem in your house become eligible for insurance claims and how exactly do you go about exerting your right without getting ripped off by insurance companies? This is the crux of this article as we examine the details of septic tank emptying and cleansing, cesspit emptying and what exact steps you should take when you feel there is a need for an insurance company to step up in assisting you with a sewage problem.

Septic Tank Emptying and Cleansing.

It is easy for even a child to have a general idea of what a septic tank is and what fills it all up. We all know that is where all of the great things we eat ends up and that is just about the narrow idea of what an average person thinks fills up the septic tank.

Well, you should know that several types of wastes end up there as well. Just so we are clear, water from all of your laundry, including your showers and sinks, eventually finds there a way to the septic tank. So, as you must know already, it is quite a busy place there and just like pretty much every other thing, it demands your attention. Septic tanks typically have an outlet that connects it to a drainage field or soakaway system, and with this thought, we often wonder why else do we need to empty the tank if the wastes go someplace else anyway?

Well, yes. The septic tank does have a pipe that runs from the tank to a drainage system. Albeit, we would point out a few neat facts from this statement. One, an outlet away from the septic tank is what differentiates it from a cesspit which we shall discuss later – and two, not all wastes get taken away from the septic tank.

Here’s how it works. The outlet system is a septic tank of an array of perforated or slotted pipes which allow the wastewater from the septic tank to enter safely into the ground without causing pollution. By default, septic tanks don’t treat the waste. What it does, is have it separated into three different layers, and it is only it purged wastewater that finds its way into the drainage system.

The rest of the of the more solid sludge remains in the tanks, and this is what needs to be emptied on a regular basis. If not, you will have to put up with a pungent odor around the house. Worse still, you may have more serious problems like toilets becoming more difficult to flush, gurgling sounds in the pipes and even having all kinds of wastes seep into the soakaway system, blocking it and forcing it to pool above ground level. This is not good for you or your environment, and this puts the local watercourses at pollution risks.

Generally, how often the septic tank gets emptied will depend largely on how many people live in the house and the size of the tank, but the general rule is at least once a year. More often than not, you are not likely to go wrong with this approximation.

Typically, to get a tank emptied, a local septic tank emptying company will send out one of their tankers out with a long flexible hose. The tanker operator then goes ahead to fit this into your septic tank, and a suction force is used to get all the waste out. They take this away and dispose of it appropriately. This is their job, and they are licensed for it.

Now that we have covered the emptying process for a septic tank, it is imperative that we consider what is involved in emptying a cesspit.

Cesspit Emptying

As mentioned earlier, a cesspit is only different from a septic tank in that it is sealed, fully enclosed and has no outlet. It does not filter the waste in any way and gets full quicker than the septic tank. It is usually used in locations where there is no access to mains drainage and where are unsuitable ground conditions for a septic tank.

It is important to have a routine cesspit emptying by a licensed waste professional who will dispose of the waste at a registered site. The emptying is usually done in more frequent intervals than the septic tank (usually monthly or quarterly) depending on the size of the family.

It is important to ensure that your cesspit remains in the most optimal possible condition by using bio-friendly household cleaning products and keeping the tank away from dangerous flammable liquids or medicines.

What to do when you have an Insurance Claim over a Septic Tank problem?

Given the dynamics of the claims handled over the years, it does not come to us as a shock that most people are still not aware that they are covered under pre-existing buildings insurance policies against damaged septic tanks, cesspits, soakaways, and other sewage treatment systems. This is usually because most insurance policies often get daunting to understand under the cloak and legal and technical mumbo-jumbo.

In most cases, this insurance coverage plan will be contained in your policy documents, in the section referred to as ‘accidental damage to underground services’ and they must be due to the external actions caused by you as the policyholder.

Care must also be taken to ensure that this coverage plan defined as the standard part of the policy as not just an addon. We do not need to tell you how unscrupulous Insurance companies can get, do we?

You are entitled to Insurance if you have any one of these septic tank problems:

  • Water ingress through a split or crack
  • Root damages to a tank from nearby trees or shrubs growing through the walls of the tank or pipework
  • Missing or damaged Tee pipes
  • Cracked or bending tanks.
  • Splits or fractures within the walls of the tank

What do you do when you have any of these issues?

As a policyholder, you have a number of options in exercising your claims. You can decide to:

  • Call the Insurance company by yourself
  • Hire a Drainage Claims Management Agency

Well, this is our candid advice: Hire a reputable Drainage Claims Management Agency. This is because spoofing through insurance policy documents can be off-putting and that is exactly the intentions of insurance companies – to frustrate you with technicalities until you give up on the entire situation. But Claims Management agencies chew insurance documents for a living, and they are always to go all out against the insurance company with a brawl.

In clear terms, here are the exact steps we advise that you take:

  • Call the Drainage Claims Management Agency and strike up a hire
  • Ensure to provide complete and relevant details
  • Work with them as they get your claims registered
  • Negotiate a settlement when your problems have been fixed

Protecting yourself from Insurance Claims Rejection

The sordid tales of most insurance is how often they tend to reject claims and leave policyholders stranded. To protect yourself, we will highlight some of the reason Insurance companies reject claims and how you can protect yourself.

  • They act based on the Opinion of their Specialists: it is common to find that most insurance companies have their exclusive specialists that do their assessments. Typically, these specialists are to ‘big’ to have actual and accurate knowledge of how drainage system work, hence they do shoddy work and promptly sing the refusal song to the insurance company. In these situations, make sure that your case gets taken to the Ombudsman committee who will have a thorough look at the situation.
  • They get fixated on the cause of the Damage. Usually, insurance companies will get unnecessarily hung up on the cause of the damage that is almost impossible to prove what has happened to a drainage system which is underground. Well, how many people sit their septic tank to find out when damage occurs. In this situation, all you have to do is prove what happened to your septic tank and that it meets with the definition of accidental ‘damage’ set down in the policy statement.

For more information, or to get in touch to discuss your situation in more details, get in touch with our specialists here.