Your sump pump has the important job of keeping water out of your home during heavy rain and flooding. If your sump pump fails, you could be facing excessive water damage to your home.

Have you ever considered what might happen to your sump pump during a power outage? Find out how to ensure your sump pump has backup power, what to do when your sump pump fails and how damage from failure of a sump pump is covered by insurance.

What Causes Power Outages?

Power outages are often caused by severe storms. Lightning can hit trees, which then fall on electrical equipment. Sometimes, lightning strikes the equipment directly, causing an outage. High winds and ice (especially when combined) can also bring down power lines and poles. 

Power outages can also be caused by animals like squirrels, birds and snakes, and by tree limbs that come in contact with poles and power lines. Construction equipment can inadvertently damage electrical equipment.

Finally, electrical equipment can fail simply from old age. 

Whatever the reason, an outage has repercussions for anything in your home that runs on electricity, including your sump pump.  

How a Sump Pump Works

Sump pumps sit in a sump pit, which is generally installed at the lowest point of your basement. Water that makes its way into your home’s foundation is diverted into a drain system that surrounds the basement perimeter. That water drains into the sump pump pit, where the sump pump removes the water by pumping it into a storm drain, retention pond or dry well. 

Many sump pumps use your home’s electricity to run, which is why power outages can cause your sump pump to fail. Power outages can happen for a number of reasons, including heavy rains. But that’s also exactly when you need that water pumped out of your home to avoid water damage.

How to Prevent Sump Pump Failure

One way to prevent sump pump failure during a power outage is to have a battery backup for your sump pump, which will keep the pump running even if your power is out. In addition to battery sump pump backups, some pumps also have water-powered backup systems that use your home’s water supply to remove water from the sump pit.

It’s also important to regularly test your sump pump to make sure it’s in working condition — you don’t want to be in the middle of a storm wondering if your basement will flood and your home will suffer water damage. To test your sump pump, simply pour a bucket of water into the sump pit. The pump should turn on and drain the water from the sump pit. This is also a good time to check the sump pit. Clean out any dirt or debris that could cause a blockage.

What Happens if Your Sump Pump Fails?

If your sump pump fails and your basement starts to flood, you need to act fast. Here are the critical first steps you should take if you find that your sump pump is no longer working after a power outage:

  1. Unplug electronics 
  2. Relocate furniture to a dry spot
  3. Pull up carpets and padding
  4. Use towels or a mop to soak up water
  5. A wet/dry vacuum can be useful, but be sure that any outlet you use is away from the water 
  6. Use fans and dehumidifiers to draw moisture out of your basement and, if weather allows, open the windows

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sump Pump Failure?

You’ll also want to contact your agent to determine if your homeowners insurance covers sump pump failure. Farm Bureau offers optional coverage to cover damage caused by sump pump failure. Work with your local Farm Bureau agent to help determine how much coverage you may need.

Protecting Your Home

Farm Bureau offers coverage to help protect your home, your belongings and your future. To learn more about homeowners insurance, connect with your Farm Bureau agent.