All Ottawa homeowners are responsible for the underground service lines that run from the street to their homes.
If you’re a homeowner in Ottawa, you probably received a letter in the mail from the City of Ottawa offering water and sewer service line protection coverage from Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC). But did you know that some insurance companies provide coverage for a nominal fee?
You might even already have coverage.
We've received a lot of questions from our clients enquiring if their home insurance policy will cover water and sewer service lines.
So, for all of the Ottawa homeowners wondering what this means for your home, here are the answers to some of those questions.
What are service lines?
Service lines are types of underground lines including sewer/septic line, water main, electrical, telecommunications, and geothermal plumbing.
What is the SLWC water and sewer service line protection plan?
Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) offers homeowners in Ottawa a protection plan to “help cover repair costs associated with their water and sewer/septic service lines”.
While the City of Ottawa has partnered with SLWC, it's not a City of Ottawa program and it’s optional protection for Ottawa homeowners.
Does my home insurance provide coverage for water and sewer service lines?
Yes, but maybe not. Many of the insurance companies we work with do offer some form of water and sewer service line coverage, but not all.
Some insurance companies have coverage beyond just water and sewer service lines and others cover just water lines.
The coverage may be included in your general premium or added to your policy as an endorsement.
To find out if your specific home insurance policy provides water and sewer service line coverage, review your policy wordings or contact your Scrivens insurance broker.
Sign in to Scrivens Online to review all your insurance documents.
Do you need the SLWC water and sewer service line protection plan?
Having some form of coverage to help recoup the costs of damage to water and sewer service lines on your property can certainly be valuable.
Let’s consider two examples:
You experienced damage to a water or sewer service line on your property.
- If you purchased the coverage provided by SLWC, you can make the claim with them and it will not impact your home insurance.
- If you didn’t purchase the coverage provided by SLWC, you can make the claim with your property insurance, subject to policy deductibles
- You also have the option to pay out of pocket
You experienced damage to a water or sewer service line on your property and there was insured damage to your home itself.
- If you purchased the coverage provided by SLWC, you can make the water and sewer service line claim with SLWC and also with your property insurance provider. Note, this means that you will need to coordinate communications with both us as your insurance broker and SLWC as a separate agreement.
- If you didn’t purchase the coverage provided by SLWC, you can make the water and sewer service line claim and the property insurance claim both with your insurance provider, subject to policy deductibles.
- You also have the option to pay out of pocket
It's best to check your current home insurance policy first because you might already have the coverage. If not, you may have the option to add it to your home insurance policy for a small fee.
What else do I need to consider with the SLWC water and sewer service line protection?
When you make a water and service line claim on your home insurance, there are a few other things to consider.
- If you have a claims-free discount, this may be affected on your next renewal by showing that you had a claim.
- In some cases, damage to a service line will also result in damage to your home. If there's a lot of damage, you will have claims with both SLWC and your home insurance carrier. Therefore, by adding service line coverage to your home insurance, you only need to deal with one company in the event of a claim.
- If you decide to purchase the SLWC coverage and the damage to your home isn’t significant enough to make a claim on the home itself, you can make the claim directly with SLWC.
How much does the SLWC water and sewer service line protection cost?
There are three optional plans and you can view them on the SLWC website.
Who is eligible for the SLWC water and sewer service line protection plan?
The SLWC program applies to property owners within the geographical boundary of the City of Ottawa. The property must be connected to the City of Ottawa’s water system or sewer system.
It does not include commercial, industrial, and institutional property owners and tenants living in residential properties.
Do you still have questions?
If you still have questions about how your home insurance policy comes into play with the SLWC water and sewer service line protection, contact your Scrivens insurance broker.