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Water insurance letters again sent to area residents

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LOUISVILLE — Area residents are again receiving letters suggesting they purchase water line insurance.

Louisville Town Clerk Joann Cameron said she has heard from several people who have called her office inquiring about the letters, which arrive in an envelope that says “IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR WATER LINE.”

Massena’s Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said he has also heard from some people in Massena who have received the letter.

While this isn’t the first time these letters have been received, Ms. Cameron said the company involved this time, HomeServe, a Norwalk, Conn.-based company, is offering coverage for what may seem like a minimal amount of money.

“It’s $5 a month and it’s on EasyPay, so you figure, ‘maybe I should have it,’” Ms. Cameron said, noting she is advising people not to purchase the coverage.

While $5 a month may not seem like a lot of money, Councilman Roy A. “Slim” Beshaw said the potential is there for a company to make a killing.

“If you get 1,000 people or even more paying $5 a month, that’s a whole lot of money,” he said.

Among those receiving a letter was Councilwoman M. Gail Schneider.

“It looks official,” she said, noting that when people mail in the enclosed registration it is sent to a P.O. Box in Albany and addressed to “Plan Administrator.”

“There are a lot of scams out there and a lot of times they look official,” Mr. Beshaw said.

The letter, which is signed by company CEO John Kitzie, said HomeServe offers “affordable coverage,” that “You can’t afford to be without.”

“Your exterior water service line is the pipe that brings fresh water into your home from your water utility or private well. It’s your responsibility to maintain and repair this line in the event of a leak or breakage. Repairing a broken like could cost you thousands of dollars, and in financial times like these, that’s an expense no one should have to bear,” the letter states.

According to the plan’s details, the coverage will offer up to $6,000 in repairs per year with a maximum of $3,000 per repair.

Fine print on the back of the letter notes that the coverage will only make repairs that are needed as a result of “normal wear and tear, not due to accident or negligence.”

While problems with the water line running from the curb do happen, Mr. Fayad said they are extremely rare.

“If a lateral water line does break, it would cost the homeowner between $1,700 and $2,000,” he said.

He added that the homeowner has the option of hiring a private contractor to do the work or the village’s Department of Public Works crew.

Calls made to HomeServe on Friday were not returned.

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