It’s time to talk about Water and Sewer Lines. This is one area of our home that we take for granted. Updates to heating, your roof, gardens and the interior of your home are always on our minds. However, the water and sewer lines underground are often forgotten. Yet, when these lines aren’t working properly, it can cause major headaches.
With all of this in mind, getting a letter from a company trying to sell you water and sewer lines coverage can be upsetting. This is happening in many towns and cities across Ontario. Over the last few days, our office has had calls about a letter that many homeowners in Port Hope have received regarding exterior water and sewer lines. After some research, we have discovered that a similar letter has been sent out in other municipalities across the province as well.
If getting this letter isn’t alarming enough, when more research is done, you find out that the coverage discussed in the letter is not being offered by your hometown, or your utility service provider. Instead, this coverage is through a United States based company. Service Line Warranties Canada is an independent company that is separate from your local utility company and your community, with its head office in Canonsburg, PA.
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Damage Caused to Water and Sewer Lines
You may ask yourself, how would my water and sewer lines become damaged? Over time, these lines can break down due to age, wear and tear, settling of the ground and as a result of tree roots disturbing the lines. Damage to these lines can affect daily life. You won’t be able to complete regular household chores such as washing dishes and doing laundry. Similarly, having a shower and flushing the toilet will become problematic. Not only will your daily tasks be affected, but there is also the issue of contamination if sewer lines are involved.
A leak, break or a clog in your water and sewer lines can be a very expensive repair, costing a homeowner in some cases thousands of dollars. It is the homeowner’s responsibility for the lines that run from the utility’s point of maintenance to the home. If you suffer a loss, it is up to you to have these lines repaired or replaced based on the damage that has occurred.
Does My Insurance Policy Provide Coverage for Water and Sewer Lines?
While some policies may provide coverage for water and sewer lines, most property insurance policies in Ontario do not unless additional coverages have been purchased. Many insurance companies have endorsements that can be added to your current policy to provide coverage for water and sewer lines as an extension of your current policy. For the most part, they are not automatically included in a standard policy and have to be added at the request of the policy holder. Coverages can range in price from one insurance provider to the next, but can be as little as $30 for the year. Remember, purchasing sewer back up, overland water and ground water coverages are not enough. These coverages are designed for the interior of your home. If you want coverage for water and sewer lines, a separate endorsement may be necessary.
Should I purchase this coverage through my Insurance Provider or through Service Line Warranties of Canada?
Before purchasing anything, it is best to do your research. Call your insurance provider for a quote. Be sure to discuss with them the limits of insurance (how much insurance you will be provided) as well as any policy exclusions. You should also review your policy deductible with your insurance provider so you are aware in the event of a loss. Your insurance broker should be able to answer any of the questions you might have regarding the coverage being added to your policy.
Similarly, it is important to review everything with Service Line Warranties of Canada. Unlike with your insurance broker, you might not get personal service when speaking with them. It is important to review all the exclusions and the limits of insurance provided. It is also important to discuss the terms of the agreement and the process when there is a claim.
Finally, you will want to review the costs. As of writing this blog post, it appears that Service Line Warranties of Canada will charge $60 per year for Water lines and $87 per year for Service Lines. We have seen some insurance companies offering Service line coverage for as little as $30 per year when added to your home insurance.
In the End
Your property insurance policy is designed to cover sudden and accidental losses. A loss to your water and sewer lines is just that – an unexpected loss. Give your insurance broker a call to see if you currently have service line coverage on our policy and if not, the cost it would be to add the coverage.
It is a good idea to review your policy with your insurance provider on a regular basis so you can have the peace of mind that you have the coverages that are important to you and so you are also aware of the limitations and exclusions on your policy.