SERVICE LINE COVERAGE – Maybe You Should Consider It
Many homeowners are unaware of an optional Homeowners Insurance endorsement called Service Line Insurance — also known as Utility Line or Buried Utility Line coverage. Service Line insurance coverage protects damage to your utility lines that run underground to your home. If service lines are accidentally cut, broken, or break down over long-term wear and tear, the cost to repair it can be a much higher than you might think. That’s why Service Line coverage is an important protection you should consider.
Your Questions, Answered!
1. “Does my Homeowners Insurance cover utility line damage?”
A standard Homeowners Insurance policy does not include damage to underground service/utility lines. You can easily add this coverage as an endorsement to your Homeowners Insurance policy. Mitchell-Joseph, an independent insurance agent with locations in Honeoye Falls, Naples, and Rushville, NY, will discuss your home’s risks and guide you in determining the best coverage limits that will ensure that you’re fully protected.
2. "What Types of Damage Does Service Line Insurance Cover?"
Service Line or Utility Line Insurance will help you pay for repairs or replacement of utility lines and water pipes that are on your property, as well as any additional expenses you might incur when fixing them, such as excavating and landscaping repair. Your Service Line Insurance will help pay for damages caused by a number of situations:
Corrosion, rust, and other everyday long-term wear and tear
Tree root damage
Severe weather causes
Damage caused by animals
Electrical and mechanical malfunction
3. "What Types of Utility Lines are Covered?"
Most Service Line insurance policies will cover:
Above-ground or underground electrical power lines
Incoming water lines
Any type of fuel or gas lines
Cable service lines
Internet and fiber optic service lines
Service lines (cable, internet and fiber optics)
4. "How Much Does Service Line Insurance Cost?"
Adding underground service line coverage to your Homeowners Insurance policy costs between $30 to $40 per year on average. That’s a small price to pay to If you take inter consideration that you and your home will be protected from unexpected service line repairs and disruptions and thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket costs.
5. "What is not covered in Service Line Insurance?"
It’s important to understand what is not covered in Service Line/Utility Line Insurance, like damaged septic systems, or electrical wires that are running under or through a body of water on your property.
Common Utility Line Damage Scenarios
Here are three situations that are not uncommon and most homeowners will experience at least one of these in their lifetime. Any of these scenarios will result in having to pay costly out-of-pocket repairs, if a homeowner does not carry Utility Line coverage.
Scenario #1 – Damage from Frozen Water Pipes
Winters can be brutal, especially when temperatures drop below zero. During this time your pipes froze and after the weather warms up a bit, you’ve noticed a break in the water line leading to your house. Although your city or town is responsible for repairing any public water lines, it’s up to you to repair the lines that lead directly to your home. The average cost to repair a damaged main water line can cost between $300 - $1,500, depending on the extent of the damage. That means it’s your responsibility to pay for a plumber to excavate your yard and repair or replace the line, as well as any landscaping fees to repair the damage to your yard. Adding Service Line coverage would help pay for these repairs.
Scenario #2 – Damage to a Utility Line While Planting a Tree
You return from the garden store overjoyed because you finally found the tree you’ve always wanted in your backyard. In your excitement, you start digging a hole without calling 811 to have your utility lines marked first. While digging, you hit a buried electrical line with your shovel which causes a power outage. Your utility company will not cover the costs to repair the damage which can cost on average, $3,000 to $10,000. And, that’s not including the cost to restore your landscaping. Without utility line coverage, you’d have to pay out-of-pocket for these repairs.
Scenario #3 – Underground Water Pipes are Clogged with Tree Roots
Imagine washing clothes, and the water basin appears to be clogged. The waste water from your washing machine has overflowed and water has flooded your basement floor. You hired a plumber, but his numerous failed attempts at unclogging the drain have lead him to discover that the clog is outside in your underground water pipe. After doing some excavating to find the area of pipe that is causing the problem, he discovered that invasive tree roots had grown inside the main water pipe. The cost for plumbing services, as well as the landscaper you had to hire to repair the damage caused from the excavation was more than you could afford, but without Service Line Insurance coverage, you paid for the repairs 100% out of pocket.
If you have questions about Service/Utility Line insurance coverage, or if you are unsure if an item or incident is covered under this type of policy, contact Mitchell-Joseph Insurance. We can help you determine your home’s risk and customize the right type of coverage to meet your needs.