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Utility Line Protection Plans

Utility Line Protection Plans - The Beacon


By: Jackie

Utility Line Protection Plans

This seems to be the season for utility companies to send bill inserts urging their customers to purchase a service plan or type of warranty on the various utility lines on the customer’s property.  Sometimes the coverage is offered by the utility itself but more often by a third party vendor.  Usually any repairs to lines on the customer’s side of the meter are the customer’s responsibility, according to the Indiana Attorney General’s fact sheet.  Telephone companies have offered “inside-wiring maintenance plans” for a number of years and now the electric, natural gas, and water utilities are jumping in.  We receive numerous phone calls about these plans.  Are these plans really necessary? 

The BBB can’t answer that question for you, but what we can do is encourage you to take the following steps from our colleagues at the Southern Colorado BBB in the article “To Buy or Not to Buy”:

1) Contact your homeowner’s insurance company.  You may already be covered, and if you are not, there may be a rider available with the insurance you already carry.
2) Assess whether or not your property is at risk.  If your home is more than 40 years old, if it still has the original utility lines, and if your neighbors have needed repairs, you are at greater risk.
3) Read the fine print before you buy a policy.  Does the policy cover pre-existing conditions?  Are their hidden fees?  Is there a deductible?  Are there maximum limits?  Who does the work?
4) Check out the company with your BBB.

For related topics, see:

Easy Way to Take a Home Inventory

National Consumer Protection Week: BBB’s Top Five Tips to Become a Savvy Consumer

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Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.