In a direct mail campaign that offers warranty coverage for damaged water, sewer and septic tanks, homeowners wonder about the authenticity of the offer and whether they have sufficient coverage to pay for repairs if they occur.
Homeowners own the water supply and sewage / septic tanks on their property. Should the pipes be damaged by roots, rot, clogs, leaks or freezing temperatures, the homeowner is responsible for any repair or replacement. While some homeowners may be covered for such damage through their own insurance policy, others may not be aware of the lack of coverage and are unlikely to become aware of the damage until the damage has occurred.
Adam Weishar, director of public works, says that the municipal water and sewage system currently provides around 8,200 utility connections for private households and that “the lines from the property line into the house are the responsibility of the owner; The municipality only repairs within the framework of the road allowance. In my experience, if a third party installs maintenance and damages existing water and sewage services, they have either repaired or covered the repair costs due to their negligence. “
In late 2019, Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) reached out to the community with the intent to reach an agreement that, with the consent of the community, would allow SLWC to offer its warranty service to residents. The service is not available to individual homeowners and must be approved by the municipality in which it is offered. It is not an insurance policy, but a warranty service. Warranties are available for three products. the external sewer pipe, the external water pipe and the septic tank / well systems. The coverage cap is $ 5,000 for plumbing, $ 8,000 for sewer and $ 3,000 for indoor plumbing coverage. According to the SLWC, 99 percent of the damage cases fall below the upper limit. Guarantee premiums are paid monthly, quarterly or annually.
The proposal was presented to the Council on January 13, 2020 and was approved to move forward. Implementation was delayed by the outbreak of the pandemic, and direct mail didn’t go out until late summer and early fall 2020.
The story goes on
SLWC will cover all costs associated with promoting the program, including the direct mail campaign. The community is not charged, but receives an annual license fee of five percent of the collected income. The license fee is returned to municipal funds that are used to provide services.
It was made clear to the municipality that, according to the agreement, no personal data or information was disclosed to SLWC.
SLWC recruits local contractors to provide service should a repair be required and asks customers to provide feedback after a repair is complete to ensure that they are satisfied with their service and that the work has been carried out properly.
Kincardine is not the first community to have reached an agreement with SLWC. Similar agreements have been made with nearly 60 other cities in Ontario, including Goderich, Hanover, and Saugeen Shores.
“This program was pretty worrying,” said Weishar. “We (the community) are impartial, we just wanted to educate the public and give them one more option to make sure they have coverage if they so choose. If people want to be removed from the mailing list, they can do so by contacting the company or by contacting us. In reality, our job was to provide the convenience that the program is legitimate and not a scam. “
SLWC is recognized as a preferred provider by the Local Authority Service, established by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in 1992. The Local Authority Service works with Ontario municipalities to compile a list of preferred vendors that leverage economies of scale and collaborative sourcing efforts.
Homeowners should check with their own insurers to assess their coverage before signing up for any service.
Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Kincardine Independent