Seek water line leak insurers

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently issued a Request for Expressions of Interest from companies willing to provide water service line insurance to the 760,000 residential properties connected to the citywide water distribution system through private service lines.

Plan providers will arrange and be responsible for the completion of covered repairs; homeowners will be given a contractor, who they can call for timely, high-quality repair when a line breaks. The quick repair of leaking service lines would help reduce damage to owners’ property and city infrastructure.

The service protection would be available to owners of residential properties who pay a monthly fee in exchange for guaranteed repair of a water line break.

Homeowners are responsible for maintaining their water service lines running from their properties to the city-owned water main in the street. Costs for repairing or replacing a damaged service line are rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance and can run up to an average of $4,000.

Insurance providers will maintain a 24/7 toll-free call center for program subscribers that call about water service line issues and will respond quickly to problems with well-trained plumbers available for repairs.

The insurance would spare homeowners the costs of repairs and would reduce the expense to DEP of shutting down water service because of unrepaired leaks.

“Water service line leaks or breaks can occur unexpectedly and the costs for fixing them can run up to several thousand dollars,” said DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway. “A voluntary service line protection program will give homeowners the option to spend a nominal amount of money each month to save them the expense and frustration of dealing with these unforeseen circumstances on their own.”

The DEP operates the city’s water distribution system, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts supply water to homes and businesses throughout New York.

For all water leaks, the DEP is required to inspect and issue a repair notice. If leaks are not repaired within three days, the agency will stop service.

“Like our recently announced Leak Notification Program, this initiative is part of our effort to provide the best possible services to our 835,000 customers who pay the water bills,” said Holloway.


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