A common misconception is that either the city or the utility company would repair damage to any utility lines. In most situations, it’ll actually fall on the homeowner to repair damaged pipes or lines.
If you’ve ever had to replace a sewer line or repair underground wiring, you know how expensive that job can be. It can cost thousands of dollars just to dig up the damaged line to determine what the issue is.
What are Service Lines?
The underground lines and pipes that connect your home to the main line.
Examples of Service Lines:
- Power lines
- Cable lines
- Fiber optics
- Sprinkler piping
- Compressed air lines
- Drain piping
- Heating lines
- Sewer piping
- Water piping
- Natural gas lines
- Steam piping
Where does the city’s responsibility end and yours start?
You’re responsible for any utility lines that run through your property. Once the underground line crosses the line between city owned property to your property lines, it becomes your responsibility.
Does your homeowners insurance cover damage to Service Lines?
A typical homeowners policy does NOT include service line coverage. Many insurance companies now offer an endorsement that you can add to the policy to get coverage for such losses.
How much does Service Line coverage cost?
The exact cost depends on your insurance company, but the average cost is $25-$50 per year. That’s less than $5 per month. With an average cost of $30/year for $10,000 of coverage, it’s a beneficial and affordable coverage to have.
Most companies also offer a lower deductible for Service Line coverage. Rather than having a deductible over $1,000, you can often find an endorsement with only a $500 deductible. That means if you have a service line loss, you’re paying even less out-of-pocket than you would for other claims.
What is generally covered under a Service Line endorsement?
Service Line coverage will usually extend to the following causes of damage:
- Wear and tear
- Rust or corrosion
- Mechanical breakdown
- Tree or other root invasion
If you have a Service Line endorsement, your policy will cover the excavation costs to dig up the damaged line. It will also pay to repair or replace the damaged line and restore the landscaping after the repairs are complete.
Many insurance companies also provide additional coverage to replace your damaged lines with more eco-friendly options. In some cases they will pay up to an additional 50% if you choose to use materials that are more environmentally friendly and efficient.
In some cases, your insurance company may also pay for additional living expenses you incur if you are unable to live in your home during the repairs.
What losses typically aren’t covered by a Service Line endorsement?
- Water well damage (depending on the carrier)
- Heating and cooling systems (except geothermal piping in some scenarios)
- Fuel tanks
- Septic systems
Real life Service Claim examples:
- A late freeze caused a buried water pipe to burst, requiring excavation to repair. Total claim payment: $3,700
- Root invasion led to the collapse of an underground sewer line. In addition to the sewer line repair, temporary living expenses were incurred by the homeowner. Total claim payment: $7,800
- Electrical arcing occurred in two underground conduits that provided home electrical service. Total claim payment: $10,000