Town recommends insurance on sewer, water lines

Town recommends insurance on sewer, water lines

CUMBERLAND – It happens about a half-dozen times a year, says Water Supt. Chris Champi: A homeowner’s water or sewer line breaks somewhere between his house and the street connection.

And it’s then, Champi says, that residents discover they, not the town, own that line from street connection into the house.

With that in mind, town leaders have approved a cooperative agreement with an insurance firm that will be offering residents a chance to sign up for round-the-clock coverage on their water or sewer lines or both. Coverage ranges from $60 to $168 a year, depending on the plan selected.

Town Council members gave it unanimous approval on Feb. 1.

The arrangement that sees town officials recommending a private insurer may be unusual, but Champi says the firm is highly rated and will be using local contractors to do the repair work.

Under the agreement, Homeowner Safety Valve Company of Bridgeport, Conn., will be contacting homeowners on town letterhead to introduce the service and explain the levels of coverage. The firm will be relying on customer lists provided by the town, but the insurer will be paying the printing and mailing costs.

There’s no deductible or service fee, according to information given to the council.

The firm is promising 24/7 emergency service, a toll-free number for reporting a problem and website with information at www.safetyvalveplans.com .

Standard water plans are priced at $59.99, and standard sewer line plans at $109.99. The combination is $157.98. There are also premium plans offered, and prices are guaranteed for three years.

Residents will not be contacted by phone, Champi told councilors.

The firm supplied a list of communities it’s already working with, including Bristol, Pawtucket and Warwick in Rhode Island. All told, Homeowner Safety Valve Co. is working with more than 100 communities.

Also at the Feb. 1 meeting, councilors:

• Approved without discussion 5 a.m. start times for the two McDonald’s restaurants on Mendon Road owned by Trinity Management Company.

• Approved a new contract for Rossi Law Offices in Smithfield, the firm that’s been handling debt collection on overdue tax bills for the town. The fee charged is 21 percent of the amount in non-legal cases and 25 percent in legal cases.

• Approved retaining CMIT Solutions in Cranston as the town’s outside information technology consultants after a strong recommendation from Mayor Bill Murray. The accepted bid was for $104,000, while the town has budgeted $122,000 for IT services this year to cover this contract and other expenses.