by Susan Mikula Campbell
"A recent review of our service area indicates that your home is not covered by Water Service Line Coverage. ... Without this coverage, you are responsible for the full cost of maintaining and repairing the exterior water service line that brings fresh water to your property. ..."
It sounds a bit dire, and people may be sending in the $64.08, thinking the letter is from their town's water department or some other official agency.
Wheatfield Town Attorney Robert O'Toole is concerned that residents, especially senior citizens, who have been receiving these letters, are paying the yearly fee, without knowing the facts.
"It's soliciting for something that almost never would materialize, although I would not go so far as to say it would never be used by any resident," he said, noting that similar letters, mostly targeting seniors have been a problem in the town in the past.
O'Toole said this particular company, called HomeServe, might be soliciting in other local towns as well. It has apparently had problems in other states based on the fact that their letter is confusing and makes it appear the request is coming from the local water provider. (See http://migration.kentucky.gov/Newsroom/ag/waterlineagreement.htm.)
"We're not advising it (the insurance)," said Rich Donner, Wheatfield water/sewer superintendent.
He explained that the town is responsible for maintaining the water line up to the property line. The homeowner is responsible for the copper pipe that runs from the property line to the basement shutoff valve. A break is rare.
"It's highly unlikely. I'm not saying it can't happen. I've seen a few over the years, maybe a handful in 23 years," he said, noting that people would be better off saving the $64.