What Is Service Line Coverage and Should You Buy It?

Service line coverage can provide that little extra support you need to keep utility line concerns out of sight and mind.

Updated January 17, 2023 | Reading time: 4 minutes

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Service line coverage pays the cost of repairing or replacing buried utility lines in the event they’re unexpectedly damaged by a covered peril.

Although standard homeowners insurance policies typically don’t include service line coverage, you can add it as an endorsement. This endorsement only covers costs associated with damage to lines that carry service to your home.

What is service line coverage on a homeowners policy?

Service lines are the buried pipes, wires, and cables that supply your home with vital utility services. While utility providers maintain the lines leading to your property — up to the sewer or water main, for example — homeowners are usually responsible for the lines that carry service from the street to their home.

Damage to any of these lines often constitutes an emergency, and repairs or replacement can be quite costly. For example, HomeAdvisor estimates that replacing a corroded underground water pipe can cost $5,000, not including the cost to restore your landscaping.[1] And, of course, being without water makes your home uninhabitable, so you’ll have hotel stays and other living expenses to contend with until service has been restored.

Underground service line coverage saves you from having to pay for the repair, restoration, and living expenses out of pocket — provided the damage is caused by a covered peril.

Covered perils include:

  • Wear and tear

  • Corrosion or rust

  • Tree roots

  • Freezing and frost

  • Weight of fallen trees, cars, and other objects

  • Pests

  • Mechanical failure

  • Force from excavation

You don’t need to purchase a separate insurance policy to get service line coverage. It’s usually available as an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy.

Expanding your standard policy to include service line damage will increase your premium, but the cost is minor, sometimes as little as $20 per year. But the protection the coverage provides can save you thousands of dollars per occurrence in out-of-pocket expenses.

How does service line coverage work?

Unlike flood insurance, which is a separate policy you purchase to cover damage from floods, service line coverage is an expansion of your standard homeowners insurance policy. The expansion, called an endorsement, broadens your coverage to include damage to service lines caused by covered perils.[2] Because the endorsement adds coverage to your policy, it also increases your premium.

Yet, filing just one claim can easily save you several times the amount of your premium over a lifetime of homeownership.

Say, for example, your underground water pipe corrodes and starts to leak, and the entire line needs to be replaced. To access the pipe, your repair crew will need to bring in equipment to dig up your yard to expose the pipe. The water needs to be turned off while the work is underway, so you and your family will have to stay in a hotel and dine out while you’re displaced from your home.

If your yard is large, the water line replacement could cost thousands of dollars because excavation would be necessary to expose the existing pipe. Repairing the damage to your lawn could cost hundreds or thousands more, depending on how extensive your landscaping is. And the hotel stay and meals could add hundreds of dollars per day to the cost.

It’s important to remember that even with service line coverage, you’ll likely still have to pay a deductible. And most service line endorsements have a coverage limit, such as $10,000. So you’d also have to pay out of pocket for any expenses above that limit. However, even after the deductible, having the insurance company pay $9,500, for example, toward your repair is vastly preferable to paying the entire amount yourself.

Good to know:

A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance policy begins to pay for a covered loss.

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What does service line coverage protect?

Service line coverage protects underground piping and wires that carry utility services to your home.

Here are some examples:

  • Power lines

  • Electrical cables

  • Fuel lines

  • Sewer and waste disposal lines

  • Drainage lines

  • Compressed air lines

  • Water lines

  • Internet and cable lines

Your service line endorsement covers the sections of these lines you’re responsible for — the portion on your property and connected to your home. Exterior water service line coverage, for example, covers up to the meter on your home’s exterior.

See Also: Sewer Line Insurance: What You Should Know

What does service line coverage exclude?

Service line coverage only covers damage to lines that supply service to or from your home. Lines the utility company or authority is responsible for aren’t covered.

Here are some other exclusions:

  • Lines that are unconnected or otherwise not in use: Coverage includes only service lines currently carrying service to your home.

  • Lines that run through or under water: Whether the water is natural, like a pond, or man-made, like a pool, lines that pass under or through it are excluded from coverage.

  • Lines that serve outdoor property: Lines must supply the residence or related structures, so those that supply water to an irrigation system, for example, are excluded.

  • Fuel tanks: Coverage only applies to lines; storage apparatus are excluded.

  • Septic systems: Some insurance companies might cover lines running from your home to your septic tank, but the system itself is not covered.

  • Lines located under or inside the home: Lines are only covered up to your home’s exterior wall.

  • Line upgrade or relocation: Coverage only includes damaged or failed lines.

Check Out: Well Water vs. City Water: Which Is Best for You?

How much does service line coverage cost?

Service line coverage is an affordable way to protect your property. You can expect to pay $20 to $50 per year for $10,000 to $20,000 worth of coverage. The deductible is usually about $500.

Your premium could depend on any number of factors, including the coverage amount and features of your property that might affect the difficulty of the line repair or replacement. However, coverage rarely costs more than $50 per year.

Service line coverage FAQs

Here are some of the questions people are asking about service line coverage.

  • Generally, yes. It provides thousands of dollars in coverage for a very affordable price.

  • Yes. Service line coverage protects lines from the point where they enter your property and become your responsibility, leading up to the exterior wall of your home.

  • Water backup coverage is an optional coverage that protects against water that backs up inside your home due to a broken sump pump or backed-up sewer line.

  • Yes, if the well is damaged by a covered peril, homeowners insurance will cover it.

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  1. HomeAdvisor. "How Much Does Main Water Line Repair Cost?." Accessed January 13, 2023
  2. International Risk Management Institute. "Endorsement." Accessed January 13, 2023
Daria Kelly Uhlig
Daria Kelly Uhlig

Daria Uhlig is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade of experience creating personal finance content. Her work appears on USA Today, Nasdaq, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, GOBankingRates and AOL. As a licensed Realtor and resort property manager, she specializes in real estate topics, including landlord, homeowners and renters insurance. In her spare time, Daria can be found photographing people and places on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.