Sewer, sump failures require special insurance

DEAR MR. MYERS: Is damage caused by a sewer back-up covered by a basic homeowners insurance policy?

ANSWER: No. A typical policy, known as an “HO-3,” doesn’t cover damage caused by a sewer backup. Ditto for damage caused when a sump pump can’t handle runoff water from a major downpour.

A separate flood-insurance policy won’t cover such incidents, either. Most insurers, though, offer to provide protection against sewer backups for a relatively modest fee – usually about $50 or so a year, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute said.

DEAR MR. MYERS: The bank that gave us our mortgage three years ago is now in negotiations to be purchased by a larger bank. If the sale goes through, would the new bank be able to automatically raise the interest rate or make other changes to our current loan terms?

ANSWER: No. Federal law would prevent the new bank from hiking your interest rate or making any other substantial changes to the terms of your existing mortgage, provided you are up to date on your payments. The bank would have the legal power to change the mailing address of your future payments, but that’s about it.

DEAR MR. MYERS: You recently wrote about a neighborhood in Canada where Mulder Avenue intersects with Scully Way, a tribute to the main characters on TV’s “The X-Files.” But I can do you one better: I grew up in West Chester, Ohio, near the corner of Grinn Drive and Barrett Road!

ANSWER: Thanks for bringing a grin to my face.

Another reader in Harahan, Louisiana, sent me a picture showing the very tricky local intersection in which Hickory and Dickory avenues run into Dock Street. Yet another nominated her personal favorite: The spot where Ho Road crosses Hum Road in the appropriately named town of Carefree, Arizona.

DEAR MR. MYERS: I would like to create the type of living trust that you recently wrote about so my heirs can inherit my home and other property quickly after I pass away, instead of having to spend a lot of money and time to go through the probate court. But I read a story on the internet that said someone cannot create a living trust without first forming a 501(c) nonprofit corporation. Is this true?

ANSWER: No, it’s not true. You either misunderstood what that internet article said, or the so-called journalists who wrote it should look for another line of work.

Any individual can form an inexpensive, money-saving living trust to spare their heirs from the costly and time-consuming probate process that’s required when someone dies with only a traditional will. Forming a nonprofit corporation isn’t required.

David W. Myers’ column is distributed by Cowles Syndicate Inc.