Water and Sewer Line Protection Program — scam or legit?

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Topic: Water and Sewer Line Protection Program — scam or legit?

Utilities February 25, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Water and Sewer Line Protection Program — scam or legit?


Hi All,
Just got a letter from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection exhorting me to begin a protection plan with 3rd party vendor (American Water Resources).  The letter began this way:  “Many New York City homeowners are not aware that repairs to the water and sewer lines that run from their home’s exterior to the mains in the street are their responsibility” [no, I definitely wasn't aware of that!!].   The letter goes onto say that aging pipes, tree roots, etc., can cause a break in water or sewer lines and then says, “typical water line repairs cost New York City homeowners between $3,000 and $5,000 while an average sewer line replacement costs between $10,000 and $15,000.”
The protection program for water & sewer lines costs $12 a month.   Anyone have experience or thoughts?   Is this on the up & up?

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From our block’s emails:
Secondhand experiences: one paid 1k, one 15k and another 25k! (hard to believe)
One insurance agent says definitely go for it.
One says ‘read the fine print,’ no coverage for natural disasters, including sinkholes!
So, what’s the verdict? $144/yr on the surface is not much, but what exactly does it cover? I seem to remember ‘no digging under foundation’ or something, also.


cmu, thanks.   As you said, $144/year doesn’t seem bad, but the fine print also looks pretty killer.   I wonder if anyone has experience with having this service replace a water or sewer line for free.
I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that the homeowner is responsible for utility damage that could take place off the boundaries of the property…..

it’s not an outright scam, but I”m not sure whether it’s worth doing. There were a couple of previous posts as these mailings have been going out recently.



thanks bklnite for pointing that out — I must have missed that thread

Lawyers I know think the fine print is a killer.  Also, if you have a rental, the costs of repair are deductible.

The cost for either sewer or water main is in the area of $15-$20,000 depending on which side of the street you are on.  You save a little if you’re on the sdame side as the fire hydrants.  I went for it because I’ve seen an increasing number of water and sewer replacements over the past few years for our 100+ houses in the neighborhood.
The policy seems to cover all work from the city line to the foundation and replacement of sidewalk and street repair as required by the City.  At the current price of $150 a year with the likelihood that within the next 10-20 years either will need replacing, I see it as worthwhile for a century old house.  Evidently the insurer thinks that they can make some money on this if homeowners throughout the City join the pool since newer homes are less at risk of neededing the repair or replacement.  Think of what you’re paying for auto comprehensive for a $25,000 car with a deductable and the cost seems low.
Am I wrong?

Believe it or not, water main issues were really common in our area right as our streets were getting repaved.  Our condo had to spend about $3,000 to get it repaired…
As to your question, it’s insurance like any other.  Assess the cost vs. potential benefit, weigh against your risk tolerance, and make a decision.

As for me, I live on the edge (didn’t buy insurance for my iPhone, either).

this is legit, they have these in other cities / towns, but nyc negotiated terms for its residents. its not a scam, and covers what it covers, so read it. is it worth it? if your sewer and water limes are 100+ years old, perhaps. you are stuck with the contractor that they choose, so if you are anal / particular about how they match the cement outside etc and have plenty of cash in the bank then don’t buy it.

Got the letter recently. We replaced one of the lines about 15 years ago and the other about 25 years ago. Anyone have any idea on likelihood of need for replacement again? Thanks!

I signed up for the policy and have had a terrible experience which resulted in my cancellation. I called after experiencing my first sewer issue and they quickly dispatched someone to my house, seemed great. The individual cleared the line and said that there was no major issue, a small blockage. I had the same exact issue one week later and another company arrived at my house. This company told me that the pipe was broken but was not covered under the policy because it was “preexisting”, how can they determine it was preexisting? I am not sure how American Water operates but it was completely confusing sending several companies to my house with completely different findings. They ended up leaving me on my own to hire a private contractor who ended up replacing my sewer line. I spend hundreds of dollars with American water for nothing and come to find that my neighbors have the same exact experience! Please review the fine print before signing up, it seems that they find any possible out from replacing the pipe

Hi, I recently signed up for this DEP/American insurance and coincidentally, 2 weeks later we have a sewer overflow in the cellar, that may be the sewer line outside the house. Did they ever explain to you how they determined something was “preexisting”?

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