What to Know About Sump Pumps and Home Insurance

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on June 17, 2024

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated June 17, 2024

Visit author page

3 minute read

Article Contents

One of the most important things you should know about sump pumps is that they can help prevent water damage at home. They also benefit your home insurance policy.

Sump Pumps and Home Insurance at a Glance

  • Installing a sump pump can reduce your home insurance rates.
  • Home insurance won’t cover sump pump failure.
  • Many cities in Ontario offer sump pump installation subsidies.

One of the questions we hear often is, “Does homeowners insurance cover sump pump failure?” Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance policies don’t. However, you can contact your home insurance company to check whether they provide endorsements or add-ons to protect your sump pump.

Generally, homeowners insurance policies in Ontario only cover the water damage caused by a failed sump pump and not the repair or replacement cost of the failed pump itself. However, that doesn’t mean installing a sump pump is useless; doing so has many benefits. To learn more about how home insurance can protect you from floods, check our guide on flood insurance.

What’s the Primary Use of a Sump Pump?

The primary use of a sump pump is to protect your home, especially your basement, from water damage. It’s especially important because about 80% of Canadian cities are wholly or partly located in flood zones. This includes many Ontario cities like Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, and Hamilton.

So, how do sump pumps counter flooding? They activate during heavy rainfall to prevent your basement from getting flooded. As an extra benefit, they also prevent mould from growing there due to moisture.

What other benefits can you get from installing a sump pump? Let’s take a look:

  • Insurance incentives like discounts or lower rates since sump pumps reduce the risk of your home suffering water damage.
  • Municipal subsidies can offset your sump pump’s installation costs. Some areas even provide you a full installation subsidy because sump pump installation is very important in mitigating floods.

Ontario Cities With Sump Pump Installation Subsidies

Many municipalities in Ontario provide sump pump installation subsidies because they recognize their importance in preventing floods. Here’s a table containing several Ontario cities that provide sump pump subsidies and their amounts:

CitySubsidy Amount
TorontoUp to $3,400 per property
MississaugaUp to 100 percent,
to a maximum of $6,000
LakeshoreMaximum of $225
WindsorUp to 100 percent,
a maximum of $2,800 per property
Lambton ShoresUp to 100 percent,
a maximum of $2,500
Greater SudburyUp to 50 percent,
a maximum of $2,250
PeterboroughUp to $3,000
AmherstburgUp to 100 percent,
a maximum of $300

Note that these subsidies may involve the installation of backwater valves as well as sump pit drainage systems. In some places where gravity drainage won’t work, the Ontario Building Code may require installing a sump pump.

Pros of Having a Sump Pump (Infographic)

If you’re wondering about the advantages of having a sump pump in your home, view our infographic below to learn more.

The advantages of a sump pump

Sump Pump Lifespan and Maintenance

Your sump pump’s lifespan depends on how it’s used and maintained. Typically, you can go five to seven years before replacing your sump pump to ensure maximum reliability and efficiency. If your sump pump experiences problems before that, it may be wise to consider a replacement.

To ensure your sump pump works properly, you can test it at least once per year. You can test your sump pump by pouring water into the sump pit and see whether the float switch turns it on. It may be time for a repair or replacement if it doesn’t work or otherwise won’t successfully pump water out.

Sump pumps are hooked up to your home’s power system. If your power gets knocked out during a flood or a storm, your sump pump stops working.

However, you can counter this by installing a contingency in the form of a sump pump battery backup. It’s essentially an extra sump pump that’s battery-powered. It kicks in when your primary pump won’t work for whatever reason because its float is set higher than the one for your primary pump. That way, the backup pump will only trigger when your primary pump fails to keep the water level under the float.

In addition to providing a fallback when the primary pump fails, a backup sump pump can work in tandem with the primary pump if it can’t handle all the water. Basically, your home will have two sump pumps instead of one.

Technically, you can install a sump pump yourself. However, we recommend hiring a professional plumber to do it for you. In addition to ensuring correct installation, municipalities often require sump pumps to be installed by professionals so you qualify for subsidies.

You probably need a professional to repair your sump pump, but it pays to keep the pump well-maintained to ensure it works properly. Here are some steps you can take to keep your sump pump in top condition:

  • Check: Take a look and make sure all the wiring are functioning as intended and ensure the discharge piping has no obstructions.
  • Clean: Prevent dirt and debris accumulation by cleaning the grate twice a year.
  • Test: Dump some water into the pump reserve and see how long your pump takes to start. If it takes too long to start, it could signify issues.

Key Advice From MyChoice

  • Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover sump pump failure unless you purchase an endorsement or add-on from your insurer.
  • Homeowners insurance does cover water damage caused by sump pump failure.
  • Installing a sump pump can earn you home insurance incentives, which can come in the form of lowered rates or discounts.
  • Some areas also offer subsidies to offset your sump pump installation costs.
  • Sump pumps typically last five to seven years before they need replacing.
  • You can install a sump pump yourself, but it’s recommended to have a professional do so to meet municipal subsidy requirements.

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