KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We’ve all seen them in our mail, notices from the city or water department inviting us to buy a warranty for the sewer or water lines in front of our home.
The promise is that if something goes wrong with your sewer or water lines, this warranty will pick up much of the cost. But now several years into those warranty programs, Fox 4 Problem Solvers wanted to know whether they are worth the price. Two viewers shared their experience.
Mark Bailey lives on a tree-lined street in an older section of Kansas City, Missouri. He loves his neighborhood, but he knows the trees are a potential threat to his sewer line, which is why he signed up for a warranty with Service Line Warranties of America for $73 a year.
Bailey’s timing was perfect. The next day his sewer line started acting up. In fact, he had to use his neighbor’s bathroom.
No problem, he had coverage. In Kansas City, Missouri, the coverage starts immediately. But he said it took a couple of days before Service Line Warranties sent a plumber to his home.
The plumber tried snaking the line, but couldn’t get past the trap. The trap needed to be replaced. The plumber said the warranty company would call him to set up a new appointment for someone to do the job.
That was on a Friday. It wasn’t until the following Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, that another plumber arrived and installed a new trap, giving Bailey back the use of his bathroom.
So would Bailey renew his warranty given that it took him five days to get the problem fixed?
Yes, he said. Why? Because he didn’t have to pay a dime for either visit. It was all covered by the warranty.
Across the state line in Kansas, Ethel Cundiff also liked the warranty she purchased through Water One and HomeServe USA. When the water line to her house started leaking a few years ago, Cundiff said HomeServe had a plumber out within a day.
“They were at it the greater part of the day,” Cundiff recalled. “I thought `if this isn’t covered, I’m in trouble.’ But it was. Every second.”
Fox 4 Problem Solvers also talked to a plumber about the two warranty companies. He said the warranties can be a good deal, if you need your line snaked. But, he said, both companies are reluctant to replace sewer or water lines even if they are continually clogged and no longer flow at full capacity. He said it’s more cost effective for the companies to keep snaking than to actually fix the problem for good.