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Unsolicited Water and Sewer Line Coverage

A mailer will soon be arriving at homes offering a “water line protection program.”

Property owners receiving mailers from companies offering coverage for water and sewer line protection should consider a few things before purchasing a plan: The coverage is legitimate and optional, but it isn’t insurance, and the products aren’t affiliated with, or officially endorsed by the City of Laurel. American Water Resources has started sending unsolicited advertisements and enrollment forms to local residents. Homeowners might easily assume they’re buying an insurance policy; however, American Water Resources states they offer “peace of mind” with external water-sewer line protection for varying costs per year.

“Customers will call asking if it’s something that the city promotes,” Anicia Hill, public relations specialist for the City of Laurel, said. “We have nothing to do with that.”

On the other hand

None of this suggests that the company is peddling a scam. In addition to offering several thousand dollars’ worth of coverage, American Water Resources deploys its own trained contractors within service areas to do repair and replacement work.

“It’s a product that some people might think is necessary and valuable to them, and that’s why it’s actually specifically defined in law — in case someone does feel that’s appropriate for them,” Hill said.

American Water Resources correctly points out that homeowners are financially responsible for water and sewer lines that run from the house to the meter. The city stops all responsibility at the meter, so basically it’s the customer’s responsibility from the meter to the home and throughout the house.

Buyer beware

Potential customers should do their homework and proceed with caution before purchasing a plan. Homeowners should know exactly what the companies cover, what they don’t and what conditions would void a contract. American Water Resources will not cover “pre-existing conditions,” like longstanding leaks, or claims arising from acts of nature like floods or hurricanes. The coverage is meant for the normal wear-and-tear associated with underground plumbing, such as tree-root invasion. Property owners may also want to investigate whether their water and sewer lines need coverage at all, whether the piping is even likely to experience damage that will demand attention.