Your home and everything attached to it needs protection; that’s why homeowners insurance and similar policies already exist. However, while homeowner’s insurance provides a critical service for homeowners all around the country, it fails to cover one highly important piece of the puzzle: your service lines.
Service line insurance can smooth over this minor gap in coverage, but far too few people even know what service line insurance is.
Even less think they need it. Today, let’s break down exactly what service line insurance is and why you should consider picking it up as soon as possible.
What Is Utility Line/Service Line Coverage?
In a nutshell, utility or service line coverage is a type of insurance that provides coverage for the utility lines that service your home and/or property. Utility lines are any type of piping or connective lines that go to your house and provide it with one or more of the following resources:
- ● Electrical connectivity
- ● Internet or phone connectivity
- ● Natural gas connectivity
- ● Water connectivity
- ● Sewage connectivity
In other words, utility or service lines are incredibly important for the day-to-day function of your house and for you to enjoy the modern amenities many of us take for granted. For instance, you need to have water and sewage lines to be able to use your bathroom to its fullest extent and to have plumbing. You also need natural gas or electrical connectivity if you want to use your kitchen stove.
Electrical connectivity is even more important for the various appliances and tools that people use throughout their house. Turning on a light switch? You can do so because of your electrical line.
These utility lines can connect to your house either aboveground or underground, largely depending on the type of line they are. For instance, phone lines are often aboveground. However, even pipes or service lines that are safely underground can still be damaged or require repair and maintenance from time to time.
The repairs or upkeep tasks necessary to keep your service lines functioning in providing the resources to your home can be quite costly. They’re not something you can fully avoid; chances are high that if you own a home for more than a few years you’ll eventually need at least some maintenance or repair work done on one or more of your service lines.
Having service line insurance will allow you to get these repairs or maintenance tasks done without emptying your wallet. It’s also a good idea because, although service lines are an integral part of regular home use, service line coverage is not covered by default in most homeowner’s insurance policies or packages.
The Gap Between Service Line Coverage
But wait, you might ask; isn’t coverage for these kinds of utility lines taken care of by the city? After all, aren’t all these utilities essentially public goods that should be paid for because of taxes?
They are and they aren’t. In actuality, service lines from city resource centers like water treatment plants, electrical power plants, and more are paid for by city taxes or from other revenue streams. These main service lines go from the treatment centers or power grids straight to the street where your home is. All of those pipes aren’t expected to be covered by your own funding or insurance.
However, connecting your home to those broader and higher capacity pipes or other connecting lines requires smaller service lines that go from your home to the pipes and lines in the street. Think of it like a web, with big strands on the streets leading to city manufacturing and resource centers and smaller strands connecting homes to those larger lines.
The smaller lines – the service lines that connect your home to the broader network of service utilities – are not paid for by the government or your taxes. At the same time, they aren’t covered by your regular homeowners’ insurance, leading to a gap in coverage that many people only discover when it’s too late and their pipes break.
What’s Covered by Normal Homeowner’s Insurance?
In most cases, homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for various damages or disasters that occur to the broader home rather than the service lines themselves. For instance, some homeowner’s insurance packages cover damage caused by things like fire, windstorms, hail, tornadoes, and the like. These are all examples of damage that can affect the structural integrity of a home, the furniture inside, the foundations, and more.
if you look carefully at your regular homeowner’s insurance policy, however, you’ll find that your service lines are more than likely not included within the policy. There are a few homeowner’s insurance packages that include service line coverage by default, but they are few and far between.
What’s Covered by Utility Line Coverage?
Utility line coverage, as you can guess by the name, is insurance specifically added to your homeowner’s insurance policy or purchased separately in order to provide coverage for those smaller utility lines that connect your home to wider utility grids. They’re specific coverage plans that provide protection from a number of different damage sources and disasters.
Wear and Tear
Interestingly, while many homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from regular wear and tear, the majority of utility line coverage providers do provide coverage for these occurrences. “Wear and tear” damage, if you aren’t aware, is damage caused by the regular use or degradation of an object or service line. In other words, wear and tear damage always happens regardless of how well you take care of the covered object in question, which is why most insurance policies don’t cover it.
It’s a huge benefit that most service line insurance providers do provide wear and tear protection. Given that your utility lines are used every day and are often exposed to the elements, they are exposed to a significantly higher amount of wear and tear damage over time compared to other insured objects or valuables.
Damage from weight, ice, snow, and more can all count as wear and tear and will be covered in your insurance policy. This is a great example of how expansive utility line coverage can be. It’s also beneficial in case you live in a place with harsh inclement weather (like geographic locations where there are always cold, snowy winters or such).
Rodents, too, are usually covered under service line insurance. Rodents often burrow under the ground and can accidentally or intentionally damage the service lines to your home. They might dig into cables to make a type of nest or they might break a pipe to get at your water streams. They may also accidentally break your utility lines from scurrying around on them for years on end.
Regardless, service line insurance can provide peace of mind regarding this possibility and help you get rid of the rodents and their damage in short order.
Other Environmental Damage
Most service line insurance policies also cover other forms of environmental damage. Tree roots, for example, can often grow to interfere with your service lines, causing damage or general disruption. For instance, some tree roots can grow to squash or break power cables, cutting off electricity to your house.
As you can imagine, taking care of this problem is cost-intensive since you have to deal with the larger tree, dig up a sizable portion of your property, and consider how to keep the tree healthy or otherwise remove it from your property. This possibility being covered under service line insurance is a huge weight off your shoulders.
How to Buy Utility Line Coverage
As you can see, utility line coverage is a really valuable bit of protection you can add to your other insurance policies. There are two main ways you can purchase utility line coverage, although one of them is far and away better than the other.
Buy It from Your Service Provider
Firstly, you can buy utility line coverage straight from the provider of the utility in question. For instance, you can often buy electrical line insurance coverage from your electrical provider (which is normally dictated by the city).
Sometimes, these providers will even send you letters advertising service line insurance and trying to get you to sign up as soon as possible. The reason for this, of course, is that their policies are usually quite expensive both by themselves and overall.
Because service line insurance provided this way comes from each individual resource provider, you have to purchase multiple individual service line insurance plans or policies. All these costs can add up over time since you aren’t getting everything covered in a bundle.
This being said, purchasing service line insurance from the utility provider on an individual basis may be your only choice if your homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for some of your utilities, but not all of them. If that’s the case, maybe you’ll only need to pay a little extra for one service line to be covered instead of all of them.
- ● Allows you to pick and choose which lines are covered
- ● Generally expensive overall
- ● Can’t cover multiple plans through one provider
- ● Covering all your service lines adds up over time
Add It to Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
The second and much more effective option is to purchase service line insurance from your regular homeowner’s insurance provider. We said earlier that most homeowners’ policies don’t include service line insurance by default, but that doesn’t mean they don’t offer service line insurance at all. Instead, the majority of providers offer service line insurance as an optional add-on you can tack onto any existing policy.
There are several benefits to going about it this way. For starters, it’s usually a lot easier to work with the same insurance people you’ve already been in contact with for your regular homeowner’s insurance. You don’t have to open up another account or deal with another bill at the end of the month.
Secondly, most homeowner’s insurance policies will allow you to add on service line insurance for all of your lines and pipes in a single bundle. This is very much cheaper than the first option; in many cases, it’s only about $15 or so more per month to get all your service lines covered. Add to the fact that this just gets added onto your regular bill, so you can set and forget payment with autopay, and you’ve got an easy to use solution right at your fingertips.
Purchasing service line insurance from your homeowner’s insurance provider is fairly simple. In many cases, you can just call them up and ask to add their service line coverage to your existing policy. However, you should double-check to make sure that they are one of the majority that adds service line insurance in general. There are a few providers out there that don’t, for whatever reason, have this optional policy add-on.
Finally, you should always double-check to make sure that all the service lines included in the package are included. Don’t just take their word for it. Make sure that all of the major lines – electrical, water, sewage, gas, and phone/internet – are covered in the plan. Some providers may only have three or four instead of all five.
- ● Very easy to add coverage to your existing plan
- ● Don’t have to add another bill to your list
- ● Usually covers all your service lines in a single bundle
- ● None
All in all, service line insurance is something that every homeowner should look into as a serious improvement for their property’s policies. It’s fairly easy to forget, especially since most people think that service line coverage is automatically included in either their regular homeowner’s policy or covered by the city.
But even though this isn’t the case, purchasing service line insurance isn’t too hard if you make the better choice and if you think ahead. The benefits of paying a small fee each month for peace of mind and the protection of your critical service lines far outweigh the costs.
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