Business Columns & Blogs

Making sense of water, sewer line coverage

Veronica Craker, content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific
Veronica Craker, content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific

Your Better Business Bureau has received reports of mailers circulating the Treasure Valley from companies offering water and sewage line protection. The inquiries inform residents that their home insurance likely doesn’t cover the repair and maintenance of their water service line from the boundary of their property to inside the home. Some of the letters imply they were being sent on behalf of your local utility company, but with different businesses sending similar letters, it can be difficult to determine what, if any, action you should take.

Many of these mailers are legitimate and may even be endorsed by your water company. However, it’s important to know the companies aren’t all the same and may not operate the same as your typical insurance plan. In many instances, these companies require monthly autopayment be set up, which can make it difficult to cancel services.

To help decipher the various mailers sent to your home, your BBB recommends the following tips for finding proper insurance:

▪  Go to the source. Contact your utility provider and let them know you have questions regarding protection for your exterior water and sewer lines. They should be able to provide you with information on finding recommended coverage.

▪  Check your current insurance. Typically, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover the pipes running from underneath your home, but just in case, review your documents, so you don’t end up purchasing unnecessary coverage.

▪  Do Your Research. Ask friends and family for information on what insurance companies they use. Compare multiple companies to see what they offer and how much it costs. Check the insurance regulations of your state or province to ensure the companies you are considering are licensed properly. Go to bbb.org to see the business profiles with complaints and reviews for the businesses you are considering.

▪  Narrow it down to a few companies. If you are interested in coverage, choose three businesses and get quotes from them. Some websites will let you compare rates. Remember that the lowest price may not be the best deal. See how different deductibles affect the price and decide what works for you. Make sure the final cost reflects the chosen amount of coverage and benefits. You should also consider the agency’s accessibility and the process for filing claims when making a decision.

▪  Who will you buy from? Consumers can buy insurance directly from an insurance company or work with an agent. Agents can be captive or independent. Captive agents represent one specific insurance company. They will have an in-depth knowledge of that company’s products but cannot help you with any other company’s offerings. Independent agents or brokers represent multiple insurance companies. They may be better able to find you the best policy from a range of companies but may not have as much information on each product.

▪  Read Carefully. An insurance policy is a legal document. If there is anything confusing, have the agent or company explain it until you understand. After the insurance is purchased, review the policy annually to ensure everything is still accurate and the policy is continuing to provide the necessary coverage.

Veronica Craker, veronica.craker@ thebbb.org, is the content and communications director for Better Business Bureau Northwest +Pacific. To check a business or report a scam, go to bbb.org or call 208-342-4649.

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