We've been getting these insurance offers from the local water company
to the effect that the service from the main to our house could fail at
any time and that we should pay a few bucks per month to avoid repair
My kneejerk is that this is a cash cow for the water company.
This neighborhood was built in the mid fifties. I've never heard of
anybody's service failing.
Is there an average lifetime for this stuff?... Or are there different
constructions/water compositions that make comparison impractical?
On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 5:45:28 AM UTC-7, (PeteCresswell) wrote:
I doubt that the insurance offers are actually from the local water company
My guess is that it’s a private company pretending to be your water compa
The usual problem with getting such insurance is:
1. They will not cover the entire cost but only a portion of it.
2. In the event of a problem they will be telling you which plumbing compan
y you can use instead of you being able to shop around for a good deal and
the plumbing company that they require you to use is going to charge you a
whole lot of money.
3. The portion of the cost that they will not cover is about the same amoun
t as what it would have cost you if you didn’t have insurance and had sho
pped around for a good deal. So now you paid all those premiums for nothing
If you decide to pay for the insurance, get a copy of the policy before you
put out the money and read it in detail on what they cover and what they
don't. One area to check is where the pipe enters the house, do they replace
that and how far into the house do they go. Do they replace the driveway or
sidewalk or landscaping after they dig it up and within what timeframe (next
I think you've kind of answered your own question. The
water service could be anything from galvanized pipe,
to copper, or poly depending on the period and the location,
so it can be hard to compare results.
Given it's 60 years old, if it's made of galavanized, it could
be near it's EOL. If it's copper, it's likely fine. Can you see
what it is?
But since no neighbors are having problems, that's a
good sign. I'd do some math. This is like any
extended warranty. Figure out what it would cost if you
had to pay for it, vs how much it's going to cost for sure
with the plan over time.
A few years back, the poly pipe started leaking right where it came
through the basement wall. Called a plumber, who had to wait while the
municipality sent somebody to turn off the water at the street. Then,
after they had fixed it (replaced a 6ft length or so by copper), they
had to wait for the inspector to check it and turn on the water again.
Total 3-4 hours, cost $500.
Haven't heard of any neighbors with the same problem, so our neighbors'
experience is not a good guide to what may happen with yours.
I've had a "service line" failure once in my entire life. It cost me
less then $111 to have it fixed.
What's happening around here is a similar thing but with the sewer
lines - for a few bucks a month you can buy insurance for the run from
your clean out to the property line where the city assumes
responsibility. I've never had to repair a sewer line in my entire
life. I did have a family with kids dig a BF-Hole in the back yard of
one of my rentals and expose the line. Luckily they didn't break it.
On 6/18/2013 8:42 AM, Ashton Crusher wrote:
We have a neighbor who did have a sewer line fail. It was a huge project
to fix it, costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Water line failures tend to be minor repairs because the failure is
usually a PVC to copper (or galvanized) union in a place that's not
difficult to access.
At a rental I own, most of the units have had the PVC to copper union
crack. It's under a deck but easy to get to and replace. We've had
failures at the meter as well (PVC to galvanized pipe) and these are
pretty easy to get to as well though it tends to be muddy.
I wonder if the insurance would find some sort of reason to not pay to
repair these failures. It's a bad design that wasn't thought out well
considering ground shifting in earthquake country. The PVC gets a small
crack and a very thin stream of water shoots out. At the meter, we only
find out when the meter reader makes a note of it, but now with smart
water meters they don't even have to lift the concrete cover so they
wouldn't see a leak.
Insurance is for events that are unlikely, but expensive.
The insurer spreads the cost over many...taking a profit.
Insurance always costs more than the expected value of the repair.
That's where the profit comes from.
Any reason to deny a claim increases profit and is done with maximum
My water service failed last month.
41 year old galvanized.
That's the fourth failure on this block that I know of.
Plumbing companies quoted $2500 and up.
Fly-by-Night plumber came in as low as $1500.
Plus $150 for building permits.
Plus $400 for the electrical grounding work needed.
I did it myself.
Cost me ~$100 in parts.
$380 to have them horizontal-drill the pipe under the yard.
Just couldn't bring myself to dig that trench.
I recently had a trench dug to run AC and Ethernet to the garden shed.
Solid shale. Quite a mess - and it's going to take a couple years
before it looks right.
I *really* wish I had known about horizontal drilling before doing that.
It wasnt' luck. They were plumbers-in-training and doing an
I have a friend whose toilet in the basement wasn't flushing right.
A local plumber with a good reputation locally told him he needed a
new sewer line to the street, but someone else told him to call the
city. The city came and cleaned out that part of that line which was
on public property and after that his drains worked fine. No charge
He complained to the plumber, for what that's worth, and probably
never hired him again.
We just started getting these too. It's basically a scam, like AT&T's
inside wiring insurance. The water company gets a nice kickback from the
company providing the coverage.
Here's an article about it from the San Jose Murky News:
Several times I've seen problems with metal to PVC connection at the
meter and where the PVC connects into the house's copper. Even a barely
noticeable earthquake could cause this junction to fail. I would wager
that the company providing the coverage would claim that it was
improperly installed and hence not covered.
Most states have an insurance commissioner that licenses companies to
sell insurance in the state. I would mail the offer to the commissioner
and see if the company is legally allowed to sell insurance.
On Tuesday, June 18, 2013 1:52:39 PM UTC-4, Paul Drahn wrote:
I'm not sure this is even insurance. Sounds more like
a service contract to me. Does every HVAC company that offers
a service contract have to conform to the laws and licensing
for insurance companies? Don't think so
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