Homeowners insurance policies are designed to cover direct and sudden losses to the house that is insured. Aside from common exclusions such as sewer back-up and earthquake, both of which can usually be added to your policy, there are certain losses that catch homeowners off-guard. One of those losses is a leaking water or sewer pipe outside the boundaries of your home. The two most common misconceptions are either that it’s the city’s responsibility or that your homeowners insurance policy’s responsibility to pay for the repairs. Both are incorrect. Unless specifically added, homeowners insurance will not pay for the excavation and repair of those pipes even though it’s the homeowners responsibility.
What are my options?
There are a couple of options that the DOK Insurance Agency can offer you. One of those options is a recently introduced endorsement by Safeco insurance. This option usually only costs around $30 per year.
Here is a quick description of the endorsement: (for a full copy, please click here)
We (Safeco) cover up to $12,000 for physical loss or damage to your covered service line that is the direct result of a service line failure. However, we do not cover:
1. Additional costs incurred for loss or increased usage of water, natural gas, propane, or any other service caused by or resulting from a service line failure;
2. Extra cost to alter or relocate covered service lines, unless alteration or re-location is required by ordinance
3. Loss or damage to a covered service line that is damaged while it is being installed, dismantled, or repaired. However, this shall not apply if a covered service line failure necessitated such installation,
dismantling, or repair; or
4. Clean up or remove pollutants or contaminants, hazardous waste, or sewage.
POLICY DEFINITIONS (INCLUDES RESTRICTIONS OR ABRIDGMENTS)
The following are added to item 3.:
“Covered service line”
(1) Covered service line means exterior underground piping and wiring, including permanent connections, valves, or attached devices providing one of the following services to your residence premises:
(a) Communications, including cable transmission, data transmission, internet access, and telecommunications;
(b) Compressed air;
(d) Electrical power;
(e) Heating, including geothermal, natural gas, propane, and steam;
(f) Waste disposal; or
(2) A covered service line must be owned by you or you must be responsible for its repair or replacement as required by law, regulation, or service agreement. Should repair or replacement be your responsibility, a covered service line ends at the precise location where your responsibility for such repair or replacement ends. However, in no event will a covered service line extend beyond the point of connection to the main service or utility line.
(3) A covered service line does not include:
(a) That part of piping or wiring that runs through or under a body of water, including but not limited to,
a swimming pool, pond, or lake;
(b) That part of piping or wiring that runs through or under the dwelling or other structure, other than
walkways and driveways;
(c) Piping or wiring that is not connected and ready for use;
(d) Septic systems, including leach fields, septic tanks, pumps, motors, or piping that runs from the septic tank to the leach fields, other than covered waste disposal piping running from your dwelling or other structure to a septic tank;
(e) Water wells, including well pumps or motors;
(f) Heating and cooling systems, including heat pumps; or
(g) Sprinkler system pumps, motors, or heads.
“One service line failure” means: When an initial service line failure which causes other service line failures, all will be considered one service line failure. All service line failures that are the result of the
same event will be considered one service line failure.
“Service line failure” means a leak, break, tear, rupture, collapse, or arcing of a covered service line not otherwise excluded. A service line failure may be caused by, but is not limited to, the following perils:
(1) Wear and tear, marring, deterioration, or hidden decay;
(2) Rust or other corrosion;
(3) Mechanical breakdown, latent defect, or inherent vice;
(4) Weight of vehicles, equipment, animals, or people;
(5) Vermin, insects, rodents, or other animals;
(6) Artificially generated electrical current;
(7) Freezing or frost heave;
(8) External force from a shovel, backhoe, or other form of excavation; or
(9) Tree or other root invasion.
Service line failure does not include blockage or low pressure of a covered service line when there is no physical damage to the covered service line.
All other provisions of this policy apply.
Please note that this is only a portion of the endorsement. Just with any other insurance policy language, we strongly encourage our current and future clients to consult with us for further details.
Don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 424-242-5252 if you have any questions.
1500 Benson Road South, Suite 201
Renton, WA 98055