In yesterday’s Kansas City Star, there was a lengthy article explaining that KCMO homeowners can now purchase insurance for their water and sewer lines. A link to the article is here, I am not sure how long it will remain an active link.
Most of the older homes in Kansas City have clay tile pipes for sewer waste, dating back to when the house was built. These tiles, over the decades, can crack, collapse, and become blocked due to tree roots winding through the pipes. Many homeowners have to occasionally snake out their pipes to keep them free of clogs–but sometimes, they break and must be replaced. A broken sewer line is always an expensive repair–usually several thousands of dollars. As a real estate agent, I’ve had to deal with this situation many times.
Our household received the letter advertising the program, endorsed by the City of Kansas City, and I’m not going to comment about the fact that the City is endorsing a private company service, or that KCMO receives a monetary kickback from every warranty purchased by residents. What should be investigated by the potential customer is the level of service and reputation of Service Line Warranties of America, the company offering the insurance.
If you are thinking about purchasing a policy, here are some suggested questions to ask before signing up:
*Where do the pipes on your property connect to the main sewer line? Is it in the front of the house going into the street or in the back of the home along an easement?
*Do the lines run under concrete (such as a patio or driveway) or under a grassy area? (replacing pipes under concrete can cost much more)
*Which local companies does the insurer work with to replace the sewer lines?
*Is there a warranty after the work is done?
*What if you need to make a claim during the winter when several inches of snow cover your property and the ground is frozen? Are there extra charges?
*Will they provide a copy of the service contract for your review prior to committing to the policy?
The cost of the insurance seems reasonable, less than $150 per year if you sign up before June 27. If your sewer line connection breaks, you have a problem that must be dealt with immediately, so there is that peace of mind, knowing there’s someone to call that will provide emergency service. Still, it’s a good idea to ask these questions now if you are thinking of buying a policy. Any reputable local plumbing company has dealt with repairing a broken sewer line. Be sure Service Line Warranties of America provides you with plenty of information before you send that check!