OK, I've owned homes before and never heard of it. But just a few
months ago I bought a house in NE Pa and then last week I get this
letter from "Pennsylvania American Water" asking if I want to
purchase their service which covers repairs to my water and sewer
lines for $12 a month should there be any problems.
It's a very "official" looking letter, kind of like those mass-mailing
letters you get that look like they come from the Veterans
Administration but have absolutely nothing at all to do with the
Is this, as I suspect, just another commercial company trying to sell
me something I don't need? It says it's a subsidiary of "American
Water Resources" based in Alton IL. They have a website:
My new house is just 4 years old and all the water and sewer is code
and ABS etc unlike my last 125 year old home with cast pipe that had
lots of root problems.
It would be nice to be covered in case of major repair needs, but I'm
wondering if this is a case like buying $100 extra coverage for your
$300 washer machine at time of purchase that is both too expensive and
What do you people think?
Look closely at two things:
1) The "Spotlight" column on their web page, which includes such things as
"Hydrant flushing schedule", and a link to this:
"Request or Change Service
Turning the Water On
To begin service at your new home, or to restore seasonal service, call our
customer service office at 1-800-565-7292. If you call, make sure to have
your service address, billing address, and telephone number handy."
2) Your water bill
This is your water company, silly. :-)
It's from your local water company, which is a subsidiary of American
Water. American Water is a company that operates in many US states.
Here is their Homeowner Services page.
Worth it? You tell me. In my house, it would have cost me $3600 in the
time I've lived in it. My total outlay for water and sewer problems in that
time is $0. Like any other service policy, it may or may not be good
depending if something actually happens. If my water main breaks it will
probably cost tme that much to have it replaced.
OK It's my water company silly. Don't they feel like they do good
work? When I bought my new car, a 100,000 mile warranty automatically
came with it. I didn't have to buy an add-on insurance package. My
electric service was installed by Pa Power and Light. If something
breaks, they come and fix it as long as it is not within the confines
of my house. In NY the gas company would come in and fix any
potentially dangerous problems in my house at no cost to me. I guess
Pa American Water doesn't believe in themselves... which of course if
true, DOES warrant me buying their offer. Hmmm. Whatever happened to
quality assurance? Enlighten me if my logic is flawed. Thanks.
Typically water companies are responsible to the curb shutoff, from
there in you must install/maintain the line.
Usually you are responsible for installing/maintaining all of the sewer
line up to the lateral connection.
Sounds like they will cover the inside of you house for water and sewer
problems. They only ran the water to the main shutoff at the street. After
that, it is your responsibility. Your house plumbing is covered by the
builder for a year or so, then it is up to you.
PA Water did not do the work. In that respect, your logic is wrong. I don't
know what is covered, but if a drain blockage or sewer blockage is caused by
you, and they cover it, they are just acting as an insurance company. Of
curse, like any insurance company, they intend to make a profit.
A home warranty would cover the pipes inside the house and the city fixes
what goes up to your sidewalk. This insurance like policy covers what lies
in between. If it covers interior pipes it might almost be worth it but
only if you are a firm believer in total insurance coverage.
Just two months after buying my house, I paid over $2000 for a new sewer
line from the house to the curb. Home warrannty wouldn't cover it because
it overflowed outside at a cleanout near the house not from a toilet or
sink. City wouldn't pay because the roots intruded through a buried
cleanout near the street but on my property.
If only I had known there was a cleanout at that location hidden and buried
18" benieth the ground before they dug a giant hole. You would think the
plumbers would have stopped at the cleanout and called me instead of digging
it up. A good story but way too long to tell.
Yes your logic is a little flawed. Gas leaks can
cause enormous explosions and damage surrounding
houses and kill people. A water line or sewer
line break is just expensive.
This type of insurance by the local utility is
just starting but will soon be very common and it
is like the telephone people and their insurance
plan. However the telephone company will cover
the problems in your house, while the water
utility just covers water lines up to your house.
Both types of insurance are non starters for
customers, but very profitable to the companies.
Phone lines in a house (the company is always
responsible for the phone line up to the house
connection) almost never have any problems, so the
insurance is pure profit. Water lines between the
meter and the house, range from occasional to
never depending on the part of the country you
live in. The place were water problems are more
common is in the house so they don't offer
insurance for that.
People are gullible so they buy these things
because they don't cost much per month. I just
heard of someone's aunt that still rented phones
from the telephone company. Guess how much money
she wasted over the past 25 or so years compared
to buying her own phones.
What Edwin and the others said.
But even if they had done the work on the pipes to one's individual
home, their offer to sell a maintenance contract has nothing to do
with the quality of their work, or their own view of the quality of
They wouldn't consult with the men who installed the pipes, who might
know if the work was good or bad. That's a different department.
This is from the Make Money department, and they would offer a
maintenance contract on my teacups if they though I would buy it.
It's just like any other insurance policy - you have to decide if you
will be able to pay if something breaks. In the long run, you will
always come out behind. If you're really worried about it, you're
better off putting that $12 per month into an investment account of
some sort to have for emergencies.
Which is a lot like gambling. With life insurance, you're betting
them that you'll die early, and they're hoping you won't. Especially
if you don't have family, it's nice to have someone hoping you won't
die, (but otoh, if you don't have family, why do you need life
You probably know this but what the heck: This probably won't be
enough for the repair, unless the water company is making incredible
profits on this thing.
80 or 90 percent won't have any repairs, so some of the ones who need
repairs will have to pay what one could save at 12 dollars a month,
and others will have to pay more or much more. IOW if the repairs
could be paid for with 12 dollars a month, all the money they take in
from the people who need no repairs would be profit.
Guess I'll flip a coin on this one.
One the one hand a repair if necessary will be quite costly. On the
other hand the house is brand new and all the sewer/water pipes are
high tech (I would suppose) ... unlike the old cast iron ones in my
old house that regularly got roots in the joints.
Bank the money. Set aside X amount per year in a separate account reserved
for disasters. And, keep one credit card account empty just for stuff like
that, too. I don't know about you, but I get at least 2-3 letters a month
from other credit cards that'll allow me to bounce balances from one place
to another with no interest, seemingly forever.
I wonder what water and sewer lines means here. They are responsible
for their lines leading to your connections. Are they offering to
replace internal lines that leak? I've had to fix two in the last
15 years. Would they fixed the leak in my shower? Or replaced the
two sink traps I had to do?
I owned a house in North Carolina where a hose pipe in the crawl
space froze and broke. I replaced it with PVC, slanted it, and
installed a drain plug. Will they do that for you?
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