Private Insurance for Sewer Line Breaks?

Here in the older homes area of the metro KC area, many of the sewer lines from home to the main line in the street are made of clay tiles.  These lines are decades old, they are prone to collapsing and deterioating, plus underground tree roots can invade and block the lines.  Today in the Kansas City Star I was reading about private insurance premium homeowners can purchase that provides a warranty on this type of repair. You can read the entire story here.

According to the article, Roeland Park and Prairie Village are offering the services of a private company that issues a warranty to protect homeowners from paying thousands of dollars if their is a break in the sewer line between the house and the connection to the main sewer line. The information is sent using the city’s logo on the letter and as the return address. It looks like the city is endorsing or possibly providing the warranty–but it’s not. The municipality does get a rebate from the cost of the premium. In Roeland Park and Prairie Village, Service Line Warranties is providing the service for $59 per year.  Later in the story, it mentions another company that will offer a warranty for KCMO and Overland Park residents.

It’s true that replacing a sewer line will cost thousands of dollars. Typically, this repair is not covered by homeowners insurance.  When purchasing a home, many buyers have a plumbing service scope the line with a camera during inspections to see if there are any potential problems. Paying the cost of this warranty sounds like inexpensive protection against a potential pricey repair.

These are several  questions you should ask of the warranty company before purchasing this service:
Who are the contractors that replace the line? Can you chose from a list?
What number do you call for service? How quick is the response time? How long does it take to replace the line? What are the limits on payment? Is the work guaranteed? Is the warranty transferable to another homeowner? Also ask for references from others who have had to make claims on the service, and get a copy of the contract before deciding whether to buy.

It’s a bit sketchy to have the city’s logo on the letterhead and envelope…they have a financial stake in how many customers sign up for the service, and having the city’s endorsement surely influences homeowners to sign up. Still, for those homeowners living in the older parts of the metro area , it could be  worth checking out the offer…carefully!