Should septic upgrade be covered under Ordinance & Law as it did not sustain damage? Matthew Nazarenko asked 3 months ago
Should septic upgrade be covered under Ordinance & Law as it did not sustain damage?

Hi. We live in MA. Have O&L coverage. Large house fire >50% repair requiring it to be built to current code. Town Board of Health reviewed plans of existing structure pre-loss and determined that based on MA Title 5 law, the room count exceeded the performance of the existing septic tank and required a 5 bedroom septic instead of a 4 bedroom and we would need to upgrade the septic system. One room was finished without a permit. This is immaterial to the insurance policy as it covers repairs of un-permitted work.

Insurance denied coverage as they claim septic system is another structure that did not sustain damage. We contend that Title 5 governs the construction of houses in MA, and you cannot do such without a compliant septic system. I’d also argue that the septic is not a “Structure”, it is a system as we will need to install a new trench in addition to the tank. The trench is definitely not a structure. There is no definition of a structure in the policy.

Who is in the right? Cannot find any case law as pertains directly to this.

1 Answers
United Policyholders Staff answered 3 weeks ago

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for contacting United Policyholders. We apologize for the delay in responding to you. In our view, your strongest basis for getting the insurer to cover the septic upgrade that your locality is requiring is the argument that it’s part of the home’s plumbing system and therefore insured. See: https://uphelp.org/claim-guidance-publications/insurance-coverage-for-damaged-or-destroyed-septic-systems/

Best of luck,

Team UP