The Hidden Risk Many Homeowners Ignore
by Nancy Daniel
If you’re like many homeowners, you may have received offers in the mail promoting protection plans for exterior utility lines or pipes. And if you’re like most consumers, you’re not quite sure if this protection is something you might actually need.
Whose line is it anyway?
The reality is that as a homeowner, exterior underground service and utility lines on your property are often your responsibility – and breaks in a line or accidents during digging can happen. If you need to repair or replace physically damaged lines or pipes, the cost can be substantial.
In most places, a city, township or utility company will not assume any responsibility for the portion of a service line or pipe that runs underground on your property, to or from the public connection.
And typical homeowners insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage to these exterior underground service lines or pipes, either. This can mean serious trouble for a homeowner if a service line or pipe is physically damaged from a service line failure and requires repair.
What service lines might run under my property?
Exterior underground service and utility lines include:
- Water and sewer pipes
- Cable, internet and electric wiring
- Natural gas pipes
- Propane pipes
How service lines become damaged
Some of the most common causes include: tree roots, animal interference, an artificial electrical current, the weight of vehicles pressing down on the lines and even corrosion, rust, wear and tear.
Outdoor elements and causes like these can prove detrimental to these service lines and pipes. No matter what the cause, the effects can be costly. Besides repairing the actual service line, a homeowner may have to dig up landscaping, driveways and sidewalks to gain access to the damaged line. Damaged outdoor property like trees, shrubs and even walkways may require repair or replacement as a result of the service line repair or the service line failure itself.
Good news: Help for homeowners
If you have an ErieSecure Home® insurance policy, you can purchase additional protection that covers the cost of these service line repairs as well as related excavation costs, outdoor property damage and even loss of use.
With ERIE’s Service Line Coverage* as part of your home insurance, you won’t be stuck footing the bill on your own for these service line failures to your exterior underground service lines.
Service line coverage is available when you add either the Plus or Select bundle to an ErieSecure Home® policy. It provides coverage for physical damage, caused by a covered service line failure, to exterior underground service lines like cable, internet and electrical wiring, and damaged natural gas, propane and sewer pipes.**
Talk to a Bowers Insurance agent today who can explain the details and give you a quote on homeowners insurance that includes service line coverage.
This story was originally published in 2018. It was updated with new information on April 30, 2019.
*Coverage is not available in all states. Coverage is subject to terms, conditions, limits, exclusions and applicable deductible. See individual policies for specific coverage details and exclusions. Please refer to our disclaimer and talk to an ERIE agent for state-specific policy information.**Service and utility lines such as cable, internet or electrical wiring and natural gas, propane and sewer pipes are “covered service lines.” Lines from a home to a septic tank are “covered service lines”, but lines from a septic tank to a leach field are not. Service lines under a structure, swimming pool or body of water also fall outside this coverage. Low pressure and blockage are not considered physical damage to a line or pipe.