As winter is coming, this communication provides detailed information on optional coverage (HomeServe) for your home’s external water service and sewer service lines. My Office has received dozens of requests for information or questions on this optional coverage and we hope this communication will answer most, if not all, of these questions.
As a homeowner in Baltimore City, you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the external water service line from the exterior wall of your home to your property line; and for the sewer service line, from the exterior wall of your home to the property line or cleanout. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a leak, break or clog in these lines, it would be up to you to find a plumber and pay for the repairs, which could cost you thousands of dollars.
*** It is important to note that I am not endorsing this optional coverage, merely presenting the critical information you need to make the decision that best suits your home needs and financial situation. ***
Who is HomeServe?
HomeServe was selected by the City in May, 2014 to be the one City-qualified carrier of this coverage. More information on that award is available here: http://publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/PublicInformation/PressReleases/tabid/2382/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/5382/Mayor-Stephanie-Rawlings-Blake-Announces-Optional-Water-and-Sewer-Line-Service-Plans-for-Property-Owners.aspx
HomeServe is an independent company separate from the City of Baltimore and offers this OPTIONAL coverage. Your choice of whether to participate in this service plan will not affect the price, availability or terms of service from the City of Baltimore. Charges for this optional service will not appear on your City issued water/sewer service bill.
Confusion was created by the fact that invitation letters HomeServe mailed to citizens included the City seal on them. I have asked DPW on multiple occasions to insist HomeServe not use the City seal on its communications. In addition, there was media attention to the process which was used to select HomeServe, however, the award has been made and that is not something that this communication intends to address.
What are the different types of coverage?
Each type of coverage is listed below. In addition, you may view more information on the coverages here: www.BaltimoreServiceRepairs.com
- Water Service Line Coverage – As your home ages, so does the exterior water service line that brings fresh water to your house. Leaks and breaks are usually caused by aging of the pipe, corrosion, extreme temperatures, settling or shifting of the ground. If this line fails, repair or replacement can be expensive and most basic homeowners insurance doesn’t cover repairs to the line on your property (you should check with your homeowners insurance to confirm this). Water Service Line Coverage provides as many service calls as you need for covered repairs to repair or replace a leaking or permanently blocked exterior water service line from City of Baltimore’s service connection to the water meter or main shut-off valve inside your home that is damaged due to normal wear and tear, not accident or negligence. This service is $3.99 per month.
- Exterior Sewer/Septic Service Line Coverage – The buried sewer service line on your property that carries waste away from your home can age, crack or leak due to simple wear and tear, tree roots or shifting ground. This line can also get blocked and cause waste water to backup into your home. Most basic homeowners insurance doesn’t cover repairs to this line and as a homeowner, you could face expensive repair or replacement costs. Exterior Sewer/Septic Service Line Coverage provides, up to the benefit amount, for the covered cost to repair or replace a leaking or permanently blocked sewer or septic line on your property, that is damaged due to normal wear and tear, not accident or negligence. This service is $5.49 per month.
- Exterior Line Coverage – This is essentially a bundle package deal that combines the above two services: Water Line Service Coverage and Exterior Sewer/Septic Service Line Coverage. This service is $8.49 per month, as opposed to $9.48 were you to purchase the two separately.
- Interior Plumbing & Drainage System Coverage – There’s a complicated network of pipes, lines, valves and drains that make up your home’s plumbing system. All these parts can get clogged and break as they age and it’s your responsibility to fix these problems. Plus, most pipes and drains sit behind your walls, making it more difficult to know when something will go wrong. When problems do occur, leaks and clogged drains need to be fixed immediately before they cause flooding and water damage to your home. Interior Plumbing & Drainage System Coverage provides, up to the benefit amount, for the covered cost to repair or replace a leaking or permanently blocked interior plumbing and drainage system that is damaged due to normal wear and tear, not accident or negligence. This service is $16.99 per month.
Where to get more information?
Before purchasing service, you should check with your current homeowners insurance and be sure to ask if any service you are seeking to add is already covered. For more information on the services above or to sign up, please visit BaltimoreServiceRepairs.com or call 855-807-6631.
Who is eligible for coverage?
A residential homeowner with sole responsibility for the exterior water and sewer service lines may be eligible. Residences not affixed to a permanent foundation, recreational vehicles and properties used for commercial purposes are not eligible. If you live in a development community with a condominium, co-op or homeowners association, your exterior water and sewer service lines may not be an individual homeowner’s responsibility, so please check with your association before deciding if coverage is right for you.
How much will it cost?
As a City of Baltimore customer, you can now receive a special introductory rate of $5.99 per month for the first year of coverage for your water and sewer service lines. You will be renewed annually at the then-current renewal price (currently $8.49 per month). Individual coverage for your water and sewer service lines are also available. Prices for each package are listed above.
Once I have coverage, when can I make a service call?
Your plan will start 30 days after your enrollment is processed. During this 30 day period you will receive the full Terms and Conditions, with complete coverage and exclusion details, to help you decide if coverage is right for you. You can make a service call immediately after your plan starts.
What is the cancellation policy?
You can let us know any time before your plan start date that you no longer want this coverage and receive a refund of any monies paid. If you do, your plan will not start and payment will not be taken. You may also cancel within 30 days of your start date for a full refund less any claims paid; cancellations after the first 30 days of your coverage will result in a pro-rata refund less any claims paid.
What is covered?
The covered cost to repair or replace the water and sewer service lines that are damaged due to normal wear and tear, not accident or negligence. Exterior Water Service Line-No annual benefit limit with as many service calls as you need for covered repairs to the line from the city meter to the shut off valve inside your home. Exterior Sewer Service Line-Up to $10,000 annually with as many service calls as you need for the sewer line that takes wastewater away from the external wall of your home to your property boundary or clean out, which is normally located next to the property boundary.
Exclusions apply. To see full Terms and Conditions with complete coverage and exclusion details prior to enrolling call 1-855-807-6631 or go to BaltimoreServiceRepairs.com.
What quality of repair can I expect?
Local, licensed, insured and City approved plumbers will be responsible for handling your covered emergency. Covered repairs are guaranteed against defects in materials and workmanship for one year.