Home Warranties Now Available For Water Services, Sewer Laterals

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | January 2012, Vol. 67 No. 1

Home warranty or home service plans are widely available today to help pay for repair or replacement costs when appliances and system components such as air conditioning and heating systems break down.

For a fee, payable monthly or annually, if the washing machine dies or the heating system breaks down, the plan pays the repair or replacement cost, after the homeowner pays a deductible or copay.

Similar plans are now available in the United States that cover the costs of repairing exterior utility service lines on private property, typically not covered by water and sanitary sewer service providers.

Some utility providers offer such services with fees added to utility bills and they also are available through private companies. However, unless homeowners have received a solicitation for such a plan from a utility provider or a private company, it’s likely they are not aware that they are responsible for repairing their water or sewer service lines.

HomeServe USA is one company that provides water service line coverage for repair or replacement of a leaking or broken exterior water service line on homeowner property. Earlier this year, HomeServe launched a mail campaign to individual homeowners in several cities.

For $4.99 per month, mailed information says, the plan provides $6,000 coverage per year with a maximum of two service calls a year and $3,000 maximum per covered claim. Payment also can be made quarterly ($14.97) and annually ($59.88).

Covered homeowners call in a claim when repairs are needed. A licensed and insured local contractor does the work and HomeServe pays the covered costs.

HomeServe USA currently has more than 1.3 million service contacts in force, said Myles Meehan, HomeServe’s senior vice president for account management. A significant proportion of these contracts provide coverage for water service lines and sewer laterals through HomeServe partnerships with water utilities, he added.

HomeServe also offers plans covering natural gas service lines; outside electrical service lines and inside wiring, including low-voltage and communications wiring; central heat and air conditioning systems; and hot water system components.