Here’s a story about septic systems and why it’s important to keep them in good shape. Earlier this year, I went to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in quite some time and he regaled me with this horror story. Early in the summer, his wife had been telling him about a weird, persistent smell wafting around the house at random hours of the day. He lives in a rural farm area, so unpleasant smells are nothing out of the ordinary. It could have easily been a farm animal taking care of their business nearby or a woodland critter that met an unfortunate fate on the outskirts of the property. One day, though, he woke up to a busted pipe and sewage all over the first floor living spaces. You can probably imagine how the rest played out. Everyone scrambling to make sure the furniture stayed as dry as possible, the kids wearing galoshes and waddling through ankle-high water to help with the cleanup, and frantic calls to find a technician that could help them solve that mess as quickly as possible. All told, my friend got stuck with roughly $20k in repairs, all because of a poorly-maintained septic system.

To be fair, this is somewhat of an extreme example, but the moral of the story applies even if you live in a small property. Septic system repairs are unpleasant and expensive, no matter where they take place, which is why you always want to make sure they’re regularly maintained. But hey, life happens, even with plans already in place and you might find yourself needing repairs due to circumstances out of your control. One option that you can consider is taking out a home warranty policy for your septic system and related home appliances. It’s true that it’s an added cost to your budget, but if you find yourself in a position where repairs are urgently needed and you don’t have the cash to cover the full cost, this could make a world of difference.

To be clear, a home warranty is different from your mandatory homeowner’s insurance in that it is specifically designed to cover home appliances and systems in the event of malfunction due to normal wear and tear or accidents, as opposed to something like a flood, which is a natural disaster. However, if you do end up considering a home warranty policy, you’ll want to make sure of a few things when shopping around for the one that best suits your needs. 

The most important factor in this case is being certain that the policy covers your septic system, since it tends to be considered add-on coverage. You should also note that you’ll likely still be liable for visit and service fees, depending on your contract details. Think of it this way, home warranty is more of a service contract rather than an insurance plan. Your home warranty provider will lay out the terms of the contract in advance and will have specific terms and conditions regarding what is covered and what isn’t. Items and systems that show considerable wear and tear, for example, are generally excluded from coverage since it’s understood that they’re at higher risk of breaking down than those that have been recently purchased or installed. Still, a flat, predictable monthly fee is probably preferable to an unexpected service bill in the thousands of dollars. One last quick tip is to read and thoroughly understand your contract. It’s all good and well to find a policy with low monthly premiums, but if the time comes to actually make use of it and you only get a $500 payout for a $7,000 repair or replacement job, you’re not going to be having a good time, I can assure you.

In the end, whether you choose to pick up a home warranty policy in case of emergencies or not, take care of your home’s septic system!

if you would like more information regarding home warranty policies for you septic system