Should you buy emergency water line insurance for your home?

Should you buy emergency water line insurance for your home?

Posted:
"I do not believe I need this service, no," Donna Brier told Don Dare. "I do not believe I need this service, no," Donna Brier told Don Dare.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) -- Water lines become prone to freezing in winter and in older neighborhoods, pipes can break.

To protect homeowners, a company called Home Service USA offers insurance for leaky water or sewer lines. But you'll have to determine if it's the type of protection you want to pay for.

Over the last two weeks, 6 On Your Side has received calls and emails about a home emergency repair company. The questions are, is it legitimate?

Home Service USA started sending sales flyers recently to local residents. In Alcoa, Donna Brier lives in a 60-year-old home. She received a flyer from the company last week.

That flyer says, "We provide customers protection from expensive repairs of emergency for your water service line, your sewer, internal plumbing."

"You wouldn't want something like this?" I asked her.

"No, I would not. I have had leaks and what not and I've called the plumber," Donna said.

"Permanent repairs are guaranteed for one year," I said, after reading some more. "It sounds like it could be pretty good."

"Well, it may be, but they shouldn't have the authority to withdraw money out of your account. I don't care who it is. I don't trust them," Donna said.

$4.99 a month is the charge Home Service USA offered Donna. She wondered if that insurance was for the home's entire water system?

It turns out, $4.99 is the price for the outside water line. If Donna wanted her sewer line protected, that would be an additional $7.99 a month.

The price to protect the interior water line is an additional $1.99 a month, according to the company's customer service.

Outside Donna's home, the water meter is clearly marked. "We bought this house December the first of 1999," she said.

Donna also said her house was a fixer-upper that's been updated over the last decade.

6 On Your Side pointed out Donna's water meter is "not but two or three feet from the edge of your house."

"I do not believe I need this service, no," Donna said.

On its Web site, Home Service USA claims it partners with utility companies. How about where Donna lives?

Bill Hammon is assistant city manager for the city of Alcoa. "We're very careful about who our vendors are and suppliers, particularly partners. So we have never partnered with anybody to do anything like that before. We would not endorse or have any relationship with anybody like that," He said.

"Why not?" I asked. "It would be something that would be outside of our control," Hammon said.

From the water meter to your house, most homeowner insurance policies don't cover the cost of repairing the line. And in most cases, the lines were installed when your home was built.

6 On Your Side checked the Better Business Bureau's Web site and found that Home Service USA has a good record.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side hotline at (865)-633-5974.

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