Service line coverage, which covers damage to utility and services lines on a homeowner’s property is a coverage that is not typically included in a standard home insurance policy but sometimes is available as an additional protection if the homeowner so chooses.
- All service lines on a homeowner’s property are the homeowner’s responsibility. Service line coverage protects the homeowner from damage that occurs to any of those utility lines.
- Service line coverage typically is not included in a standard home insurance policy and is usually only available as an add-on.
- The cost of service line coverage is very minimal, usually only amounting to less than $10 a month in additional cost.
What is service line coverage?
Service line coverage is protection for all of the utility lines running underneath your property. Any service line that is underneath a homeowner’s property is the responsibility of the homeowner. That means when damage occurs, it is on you to repair the damage.
Service lines that are typically covered:
- Natural gas
- Fiber optics
Standard home insurance policies don’t typically include service line coverage in their protection, so it is additional coverage that the homeowner has to choose to add to the policy through a rider or endorsement. Typically, the cost is very minimal.
What does service line insurance cover?
Service line coverage will usually cover the homeowner for costs related to repairing or replacing the damaged service lines. The coverage will also usually cover excavation and landscaping restoration costs that are incurred to reach the service lines and put the landscape back to how it was.
Some typical perils covered under service line insurance are:
- Rust, corrosion, or other deterioration
- Mechanical breakdown
- Electrical breakdown
- Tree roots
- Pest damage
- Weight of people, equipment, vehicles, etc.
- Frozen pipes
It is important to note that policies differ from location to location and insurer to insurer. Some of the above perils may be excluded from service line coverage in your specific case or some additional perils may be included. It is important to read through your policy to gain a full understanding of what you are covered for in your individual circumstance. Talk with your insurance agent to see what options are available as well.
Service line coverage can also reimburse the homeowner for additional living expenses that may be incurred as the result of covered damage to a service line if that damage makes the house uninhabitable for a period of time.
An example of when this coverage may come in handy: a vb tree on your property has grown and its roots have grown into a cable line buried on the property, causing it to break and cease to work. Excavation is required to reach the line and then the line needs to be replaced and the excavated land filled back in. The total cost turns out to be $5,000. Without service line coverage, this entire bill would be the burden of the homeowner, whereas, with service line coverage, the homeowner would only be responsible for the deductible which is typically from $500 to $1,000. This leaves the other $4,000 to $4,500 to be paid by the insurance company, greatly reducing the burden on the homeowner.
What is not covered by service line insurance?
While service line coverage encompasses a lot, there are some standard perils not covered under this coverage, including:
- Water well damage
- Fuel tank damage
- Damage to lines not hooked up and able to be used
- Lines that are submerged in bodies of water on the property
- Heating and cooling systems
Again, this is not an extensive list. The inclusions and exclusions will differ from location to location and insurer to insurer. Check with your insurance agent to understand exactly what you are covered for in your specific situation.
Keep in mind that service line coverage will not cover damage that occurs to the inside of your home as the result of service line damage. Outside damage most likely will be covered, but separate coverage such as sewer backup insurance will be needed for the homeowner to be protected from any damage that occurs to the inside of the house that is caused by a service line. This is another additional coverage that can be added on by the homeowner and typically costs around $50 to $250 per year depending on the extent of coverage and the location of the home.
What is the cost of service line coverage?
A service line endorsement or rider will only add-on a few dollars a month to the homeowner’s insurance premium. The standard cost of service line coverage is around $30 to $40 per year for $10,000 to $20,000 of coverage. This is one of the cheapest add-ons to a standard home insurance policy that is available. Of course, coverage and costs of coverage differ among insurers and locations so the above number may be different for you.
Service line repairs and replacements can be anywhere from $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the damage. Adding in excavation costs to replace things like sewer lines can become quite expensive very quickly. The cost of not having this coverage can potentially be massive. If you are looking for extra peace of mind at a low cost, service line coverage is a good option for you.
Service line coverage is not a coverage that is included in a standard home insurance policy, but is an inexpensive yet effective and comprehensive coverage that can be added to most policies. The $30 to $40 per year cost for $10,000 to $20,000 of coverage, protects the homeowner from damage to any of the service lines running on the property as well as excavation costs and costs to repair damage to the landscape around the house. In many cases, this service line coverage is a policy endorsement worth the homeowner’s consideration as service line repairs can become expensive very quickly.