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Sun Feb 26, 2023, 12:53 AM

Attn homeowners and home buyers. Find out asap the age of the main water line...

as if it ruptures you are responsible for fixing it as homeowner's insurance doesn't cover it and the local water company's responsibility stops at the curb.

About 3 weeks ago I got a letter, on paper with red ink, that there was a continuous flow issue at my house. My bill went from around $50 a month to some $300 a month. The letter suggested it could be as little as a running toilet or a leaking faucet inside or outside not completely turned off.

That got my attention and I immediately checked every toilet and faucet inside and out. The only thing was one toilet tank had a leak on the bottom (a washer needed to be replaced) where I had put a pail until I could get my home warranty people to fix it. I. thought that was the leak so I turned off the water to that toilet and called the water company to see it that was the problem.

It wasn't, there was still continuous flow as I spoke to the water co. employee ...multiple gallons a day.

I had to hire a leak detection company and they found that the main water line had indeed ruptured and it was going to cost thousands to fix. I had to bite the bullet and get it done. The leader of the group gave me a bit of info on water main lines. They usually last about 20 years at best and my house is 18 years old. I was responsible.

THE ADVICE HE GAVE ME was it's best to get the main water line insurance when buying a house as it could save you multiple thousands of dollars if it breaks. We're talking up to 10k. It's mentioned in the reams of paper you have to check off and sign when buying but no one, not even your own RE agent mentions/stresses it.

It's a concern for tenant too if the landlord doesn't pay the water bill.

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Reply Attn homeowners and home buyers. Find out asap the age of the main water line... (Original post)
brush Feb 2023 OP
Deuxcents Feb 2023 #1
brush Feb 2023 #3
DURHAM D Feb 2023 #4
Deuxcents Feb 2023 #8
JustABozoOnThisBus Feb 2023 #33
DURHAM D Feb 2023 #41
hunter Feb 2023 #44
JustABozoOnThisBus Feb 2023 #53
Conjuay Feb 2023 #34
LoisB Feb 2023 #2
TheBlackAdder Feb 2023 #37
LoisB Feb 2023 #46
NJCher Feb 2023 #5
3Hotdogs Feb 2023 #10
TheBlackAdder Feb 2023 #36
GP6971 Feb 2023 #6
Kali Feb 2023 #7
brush Feb 2023 #11
Hassin Bin Sober Feb 2023 #24
3Hotdogs Feb 2023 #9
mobeau69 Feb 2023 #12
brush Feb 2023 #14
mobeau69 Feb 2023 #16
brush Feb 2023 #18
mobeau69 Feb 2023 #22
brush Feb 2023 #25
brush Feb 2023 #17
meadowlander Feb 2023 #19
brush Feb 2023 #20
Liberal In Texas Feb 2023 #42
brush Feb 2023 #43
edisdead Feb 2023 #13
brush Feb 2023 #15
Old Crank Feb 2023 #21
mobeau69 Feb 2023 #23
Levaughn Feb 2023 #26
brush Feb 2023 #27
Levaughn Feb 2023 #29
vsrazdem Feb 2023 #28
Chainfire Feb 2023 #47
vsrazdem Feb 2023 #48
Lochloosa Feb 2023 #30
brush Feb 2023 #32
MerryHolidays Feb 2023 #31
GreenWave Feb 2023 #35
MissB Feb 2023 #38
Scrivener7 Feb 2023 #39
Captain Zero Feb 2023 #40
Raftergirl Feb 2023 #45
brush Feb 2023 #51
Meowmee Feb 2023 #49
brush Feb 2023 #50
Meowmee Feb 2023 #52

Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:06 AM

1. I was understanding water company responsibility

Is for sure a water main leak ..
should be their responsibility, not yours. Iíd get a better explanation for this. Good luck

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Response to Deuxcents (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:11 AM

3. I mentioned in the OP that the water company's responsifility...

stops at the curb where their line ends and then continues on thru your line into your house. This was told to me by the water company.

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Response to Deuxcents (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:13 AM

4. After the water meter is is the responsibility of the homeowner.

Before the meter it is the water company.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:16 AM

8. That's how I understand it

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 08:57 AM

33. No, after the utility's shut-off valve it's the responsibility of the homeowner.

My shut-off valve is out by the sidewalk. The meter is in the basement. Between the two, that's on me.

My supply line is made of lead and is almost a hundred years old. Maybe it should be replaced by blue plastic.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:12 AM

41. Have never seen a meter inside a house.

How do they read it?

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #41)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:59 AM

44. The first house my wife and I owned had the shutoff valve and water meter in the basement.

That's common in colder climates.

We were expected to read the meter ourselves. There were occasional spot checks by water company meter readers about once a year.

Eventually they replaced all the old meters with electronic meters that could be read from outside.

This is common in cold climates.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #41)

Mon Feb 27, 2023, 05:56 AM

53. Until a few decades ago, they went into the basement with flashlight and clipboard.

Then they wired something to it, and attached a box to the outside of the house that they could read. Then they replaced that outside box with some other box, so I think they can read it remotely.

The supply line comes into the basement and directly into the meter.

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Response to Deuxcents (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:02 AM

34. their responsibility ends

at the street shut off valve.

I had a broken main, but it was easy to find and fix. A tree root had pressed into it and as it grew, cracked the line. The area was quite wet, so I knew before I had received any bill or notice.
This kind of stuff is never fun, but the pipes age is not the only variable.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:08 AM

2. Interesting. Every time I got one of those notifications, I had just been tossing them. I will

pay more attention next time.

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Response to LoisB (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:20 AM

37. Low-Flow Toilets, Shower Heads & Garbage Disposals are main cause of Sewer Line Blockages & Failures

.

We live in a neighborhood where most homes have garbage disposals. I have one too, that I never use. I've lived in homes with private septic systems and county sewer hookups. With the migration to low-flow shower heads, faucets and toilets, there is emerging a new problem--clogged main lines.


With private systems we never flush grease or food into the system, and that is a practice that should be followed with county or DPW tie-ins too. My neighborhood is going through a lot of issues with clogged main lines now. This is causing the repeated rooting of the lines, which creates another problem--you can only root a main line so many times before you are on the hook for thousands in repair costs. This is especially true if you have older Mercer pipes. Always wipe your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher or cleaning them in the sink. Absolutely NO grease. While the water might be hot at the sink, it quickly cools as it runs down the line and the grease gels.


Another solution is to periodically pour a gallon or two of caustic Main Line Cleaner (brand easily found at Wal*Mart for around $10 a gallon). If you also have tree root intrusion, RootX can be used after the application of Main Line Cleaner. Like with arteries in a body, don't wait for the vein to completely clog before addressing a blockage. If there is a main line blockage, backups will occur and rooting will be required. I have older toilets and double flush them to clear the feces from the line. Once a month or so, I will partially fill a tub and sink and let it drain while flushing a toilet a few times to clear the line out. While this wastes water, my Main Line is under a concrete driveway, cement slab garage and cement foyer hallway. Replacing the mainline will be well over $10K. Two of my neighbors recently had their main lines replaced at $7-8K each and theirs were just under dirt without any obstructions.

.

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #37)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:19 PM

46. Thank you. I have bookmarked so I can follow your advice, some of which I already do.

I don't use the garbage disposal, never put grease in the sink, and always wipe dishes before washing (by hand), had a tree removed (including roots) 25 years ago or so. Thank you again.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:14 AM

5. I knew this, but

Found it incredibly difficult to find an insurer. All of them got bad reviews. Iím going to look again.

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Response to NJCher (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:20 AM

10. NJ American water did a half-assed job but nevertheless, got it under control.

Pipes were 94 years old.

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Response to 3Hotdogs (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:15 AM

36. NJ American Water offers it, but there are so many exclusions that most can not make a claim.

.

I have it as an add-on to my water bill, but it will not cover the entire cost of my line replacement if and when it fails.

It is under a concrete driveway, concrete slab garage and foyer. It will cost over $10K to replace.

If the line is not collapsed, there are a few company solutions that will run a sleeve inside the existing pipe, as long as the existing pipe isn't collapsed. Collapses happen often when people drive heavy equipment across your property and you have older Mercer pipes. Trees cause another problem that can be possibly solved by a product called RootX. Clogs are cleared by a product called Main Line Cleaner. But once your pipe is completely clogged, those products cannot reach the area and rooting is required.

Rooting scores the main line and with older pipes, you can only do it 2-3 times before they might crumble.

That is why you cannot put grease or food waste from plates for use a garbage disposal. With the low-flow dishwashers, toilets, shower heads and sinks, so little water flows that there isn't enough force to push that material all of the way down the line and it starts to slowly build up in there. With the pipes being under ground, they are cooler and grease starts to gel within feet of leaving the sink.

You either pay now with diligence or pay later with rooting and line replacement.

If you have home septic systems, those added solids need to be pumped out. If you use any caustic cleaners, they will also kill the bacteria in the tank which breaks down the material. You would then need to spend a hundred or two to replace the bacteria.

.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:14 AM

6. I have indepent insurance

for our water and sewer lines. $165 a year for both and they cover up to $8,600 for each line.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:14 AM

7. multiple gallons a day jumped your water bill from 50 to 300?

maybe multiple hundreds of gallons

and 10K to fix a line? is it buried in concrete? how hard to access? material? seems pretty high, but I am imagining a patch repair somewhere under a lawn.

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Response to Kali (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:23 AM

11. It's not a small job. Trust me. When the bill goes up that much, you pay at attention Took a crew...

two days to find the leak and then run a new line from the curb underground and though the rock/drip irrigation lines and finally the wall stucco of the outside wall and the sheet rock inside to the line connection in the house. We're talking plumber's wages here. They're not cheap.

Believe me, from $50 to $300 a month with the water company saying it's my responsibility gets your attention.

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Response to Kali (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 04:52 AM

24. They have you by the short hairs sound here.

Thereís only a handful of companies around here who are licensed and bonded with the town to do the work. I was told it was closer to $15k.

And no patches/splices underground allowed.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:18 AM

9. There is water in. And there is water and other stuff out. You need to worry about both.

If ya got septic, you are aware that septic is a system that needs to be maintained. If you are served by a public wastewater treatment plant, you are responsible for the pipe carrying waste from your house to the connection.

Some insurance companies offer an endorsement to cover this. Our water company offers to repair or replace if you purchase the insurance. Our insurance company pays, up to 7k to fix any problem.

Depending on the distance from the pipe to the municipal connection, this could cost thousands.

How you know the pipe is broken is when poop starts backing up into your toilet and drains. This happened to my mother's house. She had the protection from the water company.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:41 AM

12. The "main" is in the street and is the responsibility of the water company. You're talking about

the service entrance. Nothing to panic about. Just have a plumber put in a new service line.

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Response to mobeau69 (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:46 AM

14. It is something to worry about when the bill goes from...

$50 a month to $300 and you have to hire a leak detection service to find it...at plumbers' wages per hour.

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Response to brush (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:56 AM

16. If the house isn't on a slab there's no sense in hiring a leak detecting service.

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Response to mobeau69 (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:34 AM

18. If there's no visidble evidence of a leak what do you suggest?

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Response to brush (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 03:53 AM

22. If you don't have a slab (which could hide a leak) and you can't see one anywhere in the house,

basement or crawl space the leak has to be outside. Do you see water on the surface of your lawn?

A couple of questions to save time:
Where is your meter located?

Where is your shutoff to the main?

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Response to mobeau69 (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 05:34 AM

25. No visible leak. No basement. Shut off at curb...

not a plumber, so that's all I can tell you. Certainly don't want that big jump in water bills.

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Response to mobeau69 (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:11 AM

17. You're not getting something. Maybe it's the terminology I used.

The water company's main line ends at the curb of a home where the meter is, from there onto the owner's property, if there's a leak, it's the owners responsibility as the water line. from the utility's main line continues from the curb into the house. And the larger the lot, the longer the water line, which of course means it's the harder to find a leak and therefore more expense.

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Response to brush (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:47 AM

19. The water main is the infrastructure in the public road.

The pipe from that to your house is the service connection, not the "main".



The poster you're responding to is trying to clarify the technical terms which you've muddied in your OP by asking people to check the age of their main when what I think you mean is check the age of their service connection. You're not responsible for the main, the utility company is.

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Response to meadowlander (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:54 AM

20. Ok, it's the terminology. The point of the OP was to alert...

owners and buyers to get insurance on the water line into their house as they last for only about 20 years before they rupture. So horrible of me to not get the terminology exactly right but from the responses it looks like most got the point.

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Response to brush (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:25 AM

42. Yep, it was very confusing. I thought you were talking about the main line in the street.

And I was thinking it would be crazy if you got charged to fix that. Since it was the service like to the house, that's a different story.

I had to replace ours a year or so after we moved in. 1940s old house and the line was the old iron like the plumbing in the rest of the house. 20 years ago or so it cost a thousand or maybe two at the most, and now it's copper. Later ended up replacing all the pipes in the house to copper. Another big expense, but when you have a house, especially an old house, you just have to replace stuff now and then.

Your new line, if done right, should last way longer than 20 years. Also, I've never heard of "water main" insurance.

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Response to Liberal In Texas (Reply #42)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:45 AM

43. If you read the other responses you'll find you're about the only one who...

didn't get the OP was advising people to get insurance on water lines into their homes in case one ruptures. And it's not uncommon for that to happen, especially as the lines get older. The terminology didn't. confuse them.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:44 AM

13. I feel like I get this letter

I feel like I get this letter twice a month at least in the mailbox. Usually with contact info for the company that wants to either insure it or replace it.

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Response to edisdead (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:47 AM

15. If your water bill goes up dramatically, pay attention.

Letters from insurance companies trying to sell you something is one thing, letters from the water company alerting you of a large increase in water flow at your house is another thing.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 03:22 AM

21. In warmer climes

You might see a wet spot in your yard. We had a leak in Phoenix area and the line was only a foot below grade. Coming from Canada we were really surprized.
One way to check for leaks if you have a meter, is to turn every thing off and check the meter. There should be no movement of the dial.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 04:12 AM

23. Remember, life is a bitch and then you die.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 06:21 AM

26. Water line

In NYC there is an insurance program for the water and sewer lines. I believe it was for around $11 a month. My neighbor had it. He had a water leak and they and they came out and gave him a new line from the street to his house. I decided to purchase it. About seven years ago my line leaked. I called them they inspected it, and gave me a new line from the street to my house. They also will unclog the sewer line. My house was built in 1944.

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Response to Levaughn (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 06:25 AM

27. A good investment I would say.

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Response to brush (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 06:52 AM

29. I was skeptical at first

till my neighbor used it. I paid about $2400 dollars about five years ago cleaning the roots out of my sewer line, then found out the insurance covered that too.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 06:27 AM

28. It happened to me and it was close to 10,000 dollars. Tree roots had grown through the

line and ruptured it. House was built in 1985 and this happened in 2010.

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Response to vsrazdem (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:31 PM

47. Ten grand to replace a water service? Holy Moly.

When I was doing that 15 years ago, I charged $4.00 per foot for water line replacement and $15.00 per foot for sewer, and people acted like I was a rogue. I guess that I have lost touch with pricing.

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Response to Chainfire (Reply #47)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:06 PM

48. Yep, they had do dig and trench the yard from the house to the main and replace the pipe.

I though it was pretty outrageous myself. I think its more expensive here in Arizona because the ground is like cement.

PS. I had my pool resurfaced, retiled and had a rock waterfall put in for the same price as that, and at least I had something nice to look at. The water line break really hurt.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 08:02 AM

30. Present the repair bill to your water company and ask them to forgive the increase.

I did this when a sprinkler line burst in my backyard. They reimbursed me for the difference in my average bill vs. the overcharge.

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Response to Lochloosa (Reply #30)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 08:52 AM

32. Thanks. That's what the plumbers advised me to do.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 08:39 AM

31. Thank you for this reminder. I just purchased main line and sewer coverage based on this.

A neighbor had suggested this a long time ago, and I never got around to it.

After reading your post, I completely concur. For older houses, this is a real risk. If I can mitigate that risk quite a bit by purchasing a policy to cover both, it makes great financial sense to do so.

Thank you!

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:12 AM

35. Where I live we are being totally hosed!

First there is the water you speak of. That gets a bill.
Then there is the sewage and sanitation that gets a bill.
Then there is runoff water that gets a bill.

All of those come with various other charges that are perhaps questionable.

Some folks complain that even if they catch the water in a catchment system used for outside purposes they still get charged for runoff.

And we pay higher rates to provide more of the Big Three for new constructions.

GRRR and subsequently GRRR!

PS I will check up on those scary letters about pipeline insurance.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 09:27 AM

38. I'm thinking this insurance thing is regional

Itís not something I see here at all. Iíve literally never seen an offer for service line or sewer line insurance.

Our waterline comes into the house at about shoulder height thru the concrete wall. Never worried about it leaking. I suspect our soil isnít very corrosive.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 10:14 AM

39. Yikes. I am so glad I own a co-op apartment. All those type costs are shared among 80 owners.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 10:35 AM

40. Same with the sewer line.

It belongs to you from the house out to where it enters the sewer line in the street.

Oh how I know about that.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 01:07 PM

45. We had a break in the main water line in front of our house. My town DPW fixed it.

It did not cost us anything. The break was near the junction where the pipe met the pipe going into our home. The town also came back will topsoil and seeded where they had dug up.

It was suggested at the time by the town to have an underground plumber replace the pipe into our home since the age was the same as the main line (approx 60 years old) and would likely break sooner rather than later. So we did. It wasnít very expensive, either. It cost us about $1500 or so.

One less thing we have to worry about now.

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Response to Raftergirl (Reply #45)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 10:44 PM

51. Replacing your line for a relatively small amount was wise.

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Response to brush (Original post)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 02:09 PM

49. I got ins for this last year

Last edited Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:57 PM - Edit history (1)

When a notice was sent about this it was not very expensive so we decided to try it. But now they are sending me every couple weeks notices for other things and I donít know if itís a scam or some thing we really need. Itís all connected to one of the other utilities I believe the electricity maybe oddly enough.

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Response to Meowmee (Reply #49)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 10:42 PM

50. Good to make sure they're a reputable company...

and that at least your water line coverage is real and will be there if needed.

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Response to brush (Reply #50)

Sun Feb 26, 2023, 11:58 PM

52. Yep

Because it was connected with the other company I think it is ok. But I donít know why there are so many other things to insure. I have to call them.

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