Action News Troubleshooters: Philadelphia's new water line and sewer line protection program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia residents are being offered enrollment in a new water line and sewer line protection program. But is it legitimate and worth your money?

By now, most every Philadephia resident has probably received a form in the mail that promises "an affordable means of protection from expensive repairs."

Many of you have asked the Troubleshooters if you should sign up, so we did a little digging.

Carol Mitchum says plumbing problems in her Mount Airy home have plagued her from the day she bought it 33 years ago.

"I had no idea that sewage line would give me so much problems. Because it's trees and bushes out there growing down into the pipe," she said.

After countless cleanouts and spending thousands of dollars, last Fall Mitchum enrolled in Philadelphia's brand new "water line and sewer line protection program."

"It seems wonderful now. It's open, nothing is backing up," And she said it didn't cost her anything.

The water line and sewer line protection program is being made available to Philadelphia homeowners for $7.98 a month through a city partnership with American Water Resources.

But be aware, it's not insurance. It works more like a warranty and it is limited in what it covers.

"It covers the water line and sewer line from the home out to the main in the street and those repairs would be any normal wear and tear," said Alon Abramson, Program Manager for Philadelphia Energy Authority.

So things like pipes freezing due to the cold weather or tree roots growing into the lines are covered. But damage done by a third party, like a construction crew, or acts of God like floods or hurricanes are not covered.

Still, city officials are encouraging residents to get it.

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Art of Aging: Warranty protection for senior homeowners. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at 12 p.m. on November 29, 2018.

"If you have a major problem with your water and sewer line, you're talking about thousands of dollars that you'll need to come up with immediately," said Derek S. Green (D), Philadelphia City Council.

That is an expense homeowners insurance policies typically don't cover.

If you do sign up for the American Water Resources program and an issue is included, the city have a prpmise for you.

"They'll come take care of everything. So that does include pulling the permits, tearing up the streets and sidewalks, whatever it may be and restoring that to the condition it was in beforehand," said Abramson.

One more thing - some of these enrollment forms make it seem like you must respond by a certain date.

That is not true. There is no deadline and you can enroll at any time.

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