Is the Service Line Warranty Program a City of Falcon Heights Program?
No. This program offering water, sewer and in-home plumbing insurance is run by Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), a private company that is also known as Utility Service Partners, Inc. The warranty program is endorsed by the National League of Cities and works with more than 240 cities across the country.
Why am I getting letters about this insurance?
All Falcon Heights utility customers are receiving letters informing them of the three programs offered by SLWA: water line warranty, sewer line warranty and internal plumbing warranty. SLWA has chosen to send an introductory letter for each program and a reminder, totaling six letters, each year of the program. This program offers risk management for residents to assist them when these failures occur. Property owners should check with insurance agencies to see if their homeowner’s policies already covers these services.
Why is the City seal on these mailings?
The City Council endorsed the program on February 24, 2016, and agreed to allow the company to use the City’s name and logo in letters, bills and marketing materials. SLWA is responsible for all costs of the program, including mailings and promotion.
Why would the City make such an agreement with a private company?
The Council recommended the program as an option to help residents whose water and sewer lines aren’t covered by their homeowner’s insurance. Council found the SLWA warranty program as an option to help people avoid expensive repair costs.
Is it mandatory I sign up for this insurance program?
No. This program is entirely optional. Residents should treat it like any other insurance or warranty program. It’s up to residents to evaluate if they want to purchase warranty coverage.
How do I opt out of letters regarding the Service Line Warranty Program?
Call SLWA at 1-866-922-9006 to have your name and address removed from their contact lists.
How did the warranty company get my address?
SLWA has obtained the addresses from a third party vendor.
Will the company be selling my address to other insurance companies or third parties?
No. SLWA states it does not sell its customer lists.
Why didn't the City send an explanation letter first to inform residents of the program?
If the City sent a letter, taxpayers would pay for that mailing. By having the company send the letters, residents aren’t paying for that. The City included articles about the program in weekly Falcon Heights listserv emails and on the Falcon Heights website.
I live in Falcon Heights but get water from St. Paul. Can I still sign up?
Yes. The program applies to all Falcon Heights residents.
Why would I need this? Isn't the City responsible if water or sewer lines break or fail?
The City is responsible only for its portion of the lines. For water lines, the City’s responsibility ends at the curb stop, which is located between 5 and 15 feet from the street. For sewer, it ends at the main, a much longer distance from a home and could require excavation into the street, which can be more costly to repair.
What could go wrong with my water and sewer lines?
Age, ground shifts, fluctuating temperature and tree root penetration are among the most common factors that can damage or break lines. Household sewer lines also may become clogged by flushing inappropriate items down toilets or drains.
I have copper pipes. Don't those last forever?
No, copper pipes don’t last forever. The industry life expectancy of a copper service line is 50 years.
Doesn't my homeowner's insurance already cover this?
You should check your policy or with your agent. While some homeowner’s policies cover water and sewer lines, others don’t.
What's the average cost when there is a problem?
Costs can vary greatly, but the average cost for a water service line repair is about $1,200 to $1,500. If lines need replacing, the average cost could range from $2,000 to $3,000. Sewer line repairs can be much more expensive because a street repair may be involved.
How much is the monthly fee?
SLWA is charging Falcon Heights residents $5.25 per month for the water service line warranty, $7.25 per month for the sewer line warranty and $6.50 a month for the in-home plumbing warranty. These are separate warranties, so people can chose which, if any, they want to purchase.
If I sign up, will the cost be added to my utility bill?
No. All payments go to SLWA. Where to send the payments is included in the information from SLWA.
Can you tell me about what's covered and what's excluded? What are the coverage caps?
Specific coverage questions should be directed to SLWA. You can call the company at 1-866-425-6221 or check the website, slwofa.com. Some coverage details also were included in the mailings.
What if I have more questions about the warranty program?