Homeowners constantly receive offers in their mail with promotions explaining opportunities to acquire protection plans for exterior pipes or utility lines. However, most of these customers are unsure if they’re in need of this additional protection. They may believe this is something they already have coverage with under their existing homeowner’s insurance policy. However, this isn’t the case. Pipes and underground lines are the responsibility of the homeowner and fixing a problem with one of these lines is expensive.
What is Underground Service Line Coverage?
First it’s important to understand what is a service line? They’re the service and utility lines that are underground on a homeowner’s property. For example, all of the lines necessary for running cable, electric wiring, internet, natural gas, propane, sewer pipes, and water. By adding underground service line coverage to your home insurance policy by endorsement, you can get coverage for accidents, wear and tear, environmental and natural conditions, and more.
How Do Lines Experience Damage?
Physical damages to lines can occur in many different ways. For example, tree roots and interference from animals are the most common causes. Other causes include the lines experiencing corrosion as they age or from long-term exposure to lead and rust. Weight from vehicles, and accidental digging can also damage a service line. No matter what is causing the issue, the last thing a homeowner wants to experience is the costs in association with having to dig up their property to fix everything.
One of the most significant problems, especially in areas of older home like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, homeowner’s are experiencing corrosion and wear and tear in their pipes. Unfortunately, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage for the damage occurring to these underground pipes. Therefore, without under ground service line coverage added to your policy, you as the homeowner will be stuck with the bill. The average cost to replace and or repair a damaged line on your property is between $5,000 and $25,000.
What Coverage Can Homeowners Expect?
When homeowners opt to acquire these protection plans, they’ll be receiving coverage for “covered service lines” for their home’s exterior underground wiring and piping. What this means is that their residence will have coverage that includes all permanent connections, attached devices, or valves including the following:
- Communications, to include cable, data, Internet, and telecom
- Compressed air
- Heat, to include geothermal, natural gas, propane, and steam
- Sewage and waste disposal
What Isn’t Covered Under This Protection?
You’ll also find that if your lines run under any body of water, including a swimming pool, coverage will not apply. Any piping connected to outdoor property, including but not limited to, sprinklers, irrigation systems, hot tubs, and or decorative ponds are commonly excluded under this kind of coverage. If the piping is not connected and ready for use, coverage also would not be provided. In addition there are some common exclusions for loss or damage to:
- Septic Systems, including leach fields, septic tanks, pumps, and motors that runs to and from septic tank and leach fields.
- Water wells, including pumps and motors.
- Heating and cooling systems, for example a heat pump.
- Service lines that service public property not owned by you.
How Much Coverage Is Available?
The average amount of coverage offered through a home insurance policy is $10,000 with some companies offering as much as $25,000. Since the cost of excavation and repairing lines and pipes could cost the homeowner several thousand dollars, it is critical they purchase this additional coverage. Not only will carriers cover excavation, but they’ll also cover the repairs for line and pipe damage. Carriers will also pay for the outdoor property including driveways, lawns, plants, shrubs, trees, and walkways that experience damage.
Choose a Trusted Carrier
When homeowners decide to acquire this coverage, it’s essential to choose a carrier they can trust. With that in mind, homeowners can turn to carriers like Erie Insurance, Berkshire Hathaway GUARD, Openly, and Plymouth Rock. Check to see if these carriers or others that provide this coverage service your area. When talking to an insurance agent, they’ll explain the details regarding what the coverage entails, answer questions, and provide a quote. They’ll also go into greater detail regarding what is and is not covered under the plan. For example, septic tanks and leach fields. In doing so, the agent will help alleviate any confusion the homeowner may be experiencing.