Union residents may have been mailed letters by a company seeking to sell “water service line coverage,” city officials said.
City Administrator Russell Rost said HomeServe mailed a letter to the city, dated March 30, that states the business would be mailing a solicitation in March to Union residents.
HomeServe, based in Stamford, Conn., offers water service line insurance. In the letter to the city, it is stated that homeowners are responsible for the cost of repairs of water lines from the home to the city sewer main. HomeServe estimates the average repair at $2,300.
Rost warned that the service provided by HomeServe is rarely needed, and is not endorsed by the city.
“We know of houses manufactured in the 1950s that have never had to have lines replaced,” he said. “Those houses have had fixture repairs and repairs inside the home, but this (HomeServe) does not cover that.”
He added that the repair estimate of $2,300 may not be accurate.
“We don’t have a good opinion on the accuracy of that,” he said.
Rost said the company did not provide a fee amount.
He further explained that the company is not a licensed insurance provider in Missouri. He had contacted someone with the company who stated that Rost would receive a return phone call to answer more questions, but the call was not returned.
“People should try to make an informed decision, but this is not an insurance policy,” said Rost. “It is more like a service agreement — similar to appliances and vehicle service agreements.”
The company offers repairs to sections of water lines that are not covered by homeowners insurance, or are the city’s responsibility.
However, according to the company website, what is exempt from repairs are: “Acts of God, thawing of frozen pipes; emergency breakdown — to external guttering, arising from disconnection to main water supply, due to pre-existing conditions, caused by faulty construction/improper maintenance, or from a controllable leak.”
HomeServe also has received a “D” rating from the Better Business Bureau and has been subject of numerous complaints.
Rost added that there have been mailings from other businesses that offer the same type of service. The city does not endorse or partner with any of the businesses.
Last year other local municipalities issued warnings that the cities are not affiliated with HomeServe and asked residents to use caution while dealing with the company, or other companies that offer similar services.