Erie Insurance Helps Keep Homes Running Smoothly

PRODUCT: Service line coverage

COMPANY: Erie Insurance

BEST RATING: A+ (Superior)

AVAILABILITY: Coverage is available through independent agents and brokers.

FOCUS: The Smith family buys their first home just after the birth of their second child. Several months later, their basement toilet overflows. They immediately call a plumber, who discovers a deep break in the sewer line on their property. The Smiths are shocked to learn that as homeowners, the responsibility for fixing this line is theirs alone. The cost is overwhelming.

While local utility companies do their part to maintain a city’s massive infrastructure, most lines between home and curb are the homeowner's responsibility. But typical homeowners insurance policies don’t provide coverage for damage to underground service lines or pipes because line failure isn’t considered catastrophic.

Enter Erie’s service line coverage: additional protection homeowners can purchase to help cover the cost of these expensive repairs.

“When water, gas, electrical or sewer lines fail unexpectedly, repairs can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket,” explains Joe Vahey, Erie Insurance vice president and personal lines product manager. With Erie’s coverage, “instead of paying for multiple service contracts through multiple utility companies or a third-party provider, you can get coverage for underground service lines included with your home insurance.”

UNDERWRITING: Service line insurance covers damage to lines, such as cable, internet and electrical wiring, as well as damaged pipes, such as natural gas, propane and sewer.

Erie’s Plus bundle includes $10,000 for underground; $2,500 for trailers; $2,500 for watercraft; $1,000 for pets and animals; $1,000 for automatic garage door openers; $10,000 for siding and roofing restoration; $10,000 for building additions and alterations; $5,000 for business personal property; and a waived deductible for losses greater than $50,000.

Erie’s Select bundle includes increased limits of $25,000 for underground coverage; $1,500 for theft of money; increased limits of $1,000 for theft of media from a motor vehicle; $2,000 for lock replacement; $5,000 for trailers; $5,000 for watercraft; $2,000 for pets and animals; $2,000 for automatic garage door openers; $10,000 for siding and roofing restoration; $10,000 for building additions and alterations; and $5,000 for business personal property.

Optional coverage includes earthquake coverage, which customers can purchase with a percentage deductible of the amount of insurance; scheduled personal property, which covers items such as jewelry, cameras, musical instruments and fine arts; sewer and drain backup, which covers up to $5,000 for a loss caused by water or sewage that backs up through sewers or drains, or overflows from a sump pump; and blanket jewelry, which covers jewelry without requiring policyholder to list and schedule each item.

MINIMUM PREMIUM: None.

TARGET: Homeowners.

COVERAGE TERRITORY: DC, IL, IN, KY, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV and WI.

CONTACT: Joe Vahey, vice president and personal lines product manager; Erie Insurance, 100 Erie Insurance Place, Erie, PA 16530-1104; 800-458-0811.

Ronimarie Acord is an IA contributor.