City urges due diligence on pipe insurance

SANDPOINT — City staff members are cautioning water and sewer customers to perform due diligence with insurance mailings that have recently dispersed.

Residents relying on the city for their sewer and water utilities have been inquiring about some letters they’ve received from American Water Resources, Inc., a subsidiary of a company called American Water Works Company, Inc., based out of Vorhees, N.J. The mailings are offering an insurance policy that would cover the customer’s water or sewer line in the event that it becomes broken or blocked. According to Public Works Department personnel, customers have been asking about the validity of the company and whether or not the service is necessary.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company is indeed a valid one. It has an A+ rating and is listed as an accredited business. That’s not necessarily an endorsement of their products or services but an indication that when consumer complaints arise, the business acts in good faith to resolve them. That A+ rating is determined by the length of time the company has been in business, the level of background information available, the volume of complaints filed for a business of its size and the efforts to respond to those complaints.

Water and sewer customers should be aware of a few facts if they are considering purchasing this type of insurance, public works associates said.

First, they should understand that the only parts of the water and sewer system they own are the underground pipes running from the home to the meter connection or sewer main. Furthermore, they should take a careful look at their homeowners insurance policy to see whether or not damage to these pipes is covered before considering additional policies.

Perhaps more than anything else, public works staff want their customers to know that the American Water Resources, Inc., is an entirely separate entity and is not endorsed by the city. Anyone with additional questions should call the department at 263-3407.

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