My column two weeks ago described changes to home insurance policies caused by technology changes. Today, I will deal with customer-driven changes.

When an event puts a financial burden on a household, the pooling of resources (insurance) needs to step in. Did you know that municipalities and utility companies are typically not responsible for the water, sewer, electric, gas and other service lines on your premises?

Repairs to these lines most likely will come at your expense.

Service Line Coverage may be added to your homeowners policy to provide coverage for loss or damage to service lines. This is not warranty coverage.

Under Service Line Coverage, a covered line refers to “exterior underground piping and wiring.” That includes permanent connections, valves or attached devices that provide the following services to your home: communications; compressed air; drainage; electrical power; heating (including geothermal, natural gas, propane and steam); waste disposal; and water.

A service line failure is defined as a leak, break, tear, rupture, collapse or electrical arcing of a covered service line not otherwise excluded. A service line failure may be caused by, but is not limited to: wear and tear; rust or other corrosion; mechanical breakdown; weight of vehicles, equipment, animals or people; vermin, insects, rodents or other animals; freezing or frost heave; external force from shovel, backhoe or other forms of excavation; and trees or other root invasion.

We all lead busy lives. It’s never convenient when your heating, air conditioner or electrical system breaks down at home. Plus, there’s the cost of repairs, which aren’t usually covered by the standard homeowners policy.

Home Systems Protection helps to minimize the expense of a covered breakdown. Keep in mind that Home Systems Protection is not warranty coverage either. This endorsement covers unexpected breakdowns.

What’s considered an “equipment breakdown”? This would be an abrupt and accidental breakdown that results in physical damage and requires repair or replacement of all or part of the covered home equipment. Examples are mechanical breakdowns, electrical breakdowns and bursting, cracking or splitting.

What equipment is covered? Furnace, boiler and heat pumps; central air conditioning; electrical panels; conventional and solar water heaters; well pumps; sump pumps; in-ground pool and spa pumps; permanent emergency generators; permanently installed home security systems; renewable energy heating systems; water purification systems; radiant floor heating; and chairlifts and elevators.

Equipment that is not covered includes kitchen and laundry appliances that were not not permanently installed; domestic and wastewater piping; computer equipment and electronics; and entertainment equipment.

Home Systems Protection also may cover the cost of temporary repairs and to expedite permanent repair or replacement. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a breakdown, additional living expenses may be covered under Loss of Use coverage.

Like your home policy, these endorsements have deductibles and limits per occurrence. Have your insurance agent explain the details of these endorsements.

Knowing what is covered and how the coverage will be applied always makes a claim less stressful.

Bob Hollick is a State Farm Insurance agent based in Washington. His column appears every other Thursday in the Observer-Reporter.

To submit columns on financial planning, investing or business-related matters, email Rick Shrum at rshrum@observer-reporter.com.

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