In 2019, the City of Spearfish entered into a agreement with Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA), a HomeServe Company, a leading provider of home repair solutions, to provide optional repair service plans to our resident homeowners.
The service plans offered to City of Spearfish homeowners through SLWA are affordable solutions to protect them from the cost and inconvenience of home repair emergencies, including water service line leaks on their property. As you may know, many of our residents become frustrated when they discover a broken water pipe and then learn that the repair is their responsibility. Homeowners are often unaware these types of repairs are not covered by basic homeowners insurance policies or by us. The City of Spearfish recognized that one way we could address this problem is to offer an optional service program that would protect our homeowners from the cost and inconvenience of this type of repair.
The City of Spearfish and SLWA worked together to tailor the program to meet the needs of our residents. The marketing, customer service, and repairs using local, licensed, and approved contractors are managed entirely by SLWA.
What you need to know
- Over the next month, Spearfish residents will receive a mailing to inform them about optional exterior water or sewer service line repair plans available through SLWA. Because we have an agreement with SLWA, the City of Spearfish logo will appear on the mailings, which will clearly state that the program is voluntary and is administered by SLWA, not the City.
- The Exterior Water Service Line Coverage is available for $6.89 per month and an Exterior Sewer/Septic Line Coverage plan is available for $7.91 per month. Services are billed, monthly, quarterly or annually directly through SLWA.
- SLWA plan holders have access to a repair hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and repairs are performed by local, licensed, and insured contractors.
- Spearfish homeowners can learn more about these optional plans and SLWA by visiting www.slwofa.com or calling toll-free 1-866-922-9006.
- Founded in 2003, Utility Service Partners, together with its parent company, HomeServe USA, has partnered with over 700 leading cities, municipalities, and utilities to provide repair service plans that offer peace of mind and convenience. The SLWA program maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is recognized as a trusted source of utility line service plans and is also endorsed by the National League of Cities.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the relationship between SLWA and the City of Spearfish?
Each agreement with a utility or municipality is a little different and is tailored to meet the needs of the community. The partnership allows Service Line Warranties of America (SLWA) to offer customers competitive monthly fees on available services to residents. Importantly, the decision by residents to sign up for a SLWA service plan is completely optional.
Why did Spearfish partner with SLWA?
The National League of Cities (NLC) has recognized and endorsed SLWA as the nation's largest and most trusted source of utility line plans. An objective of the SLWA program is education because many residents are not aware that buried water and sewer lines on their property are their responsibility to maintain. A broken or blocked service line on the property can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace and many times residents are unprepared for this unexpected expense. The City’s program with SLWA not only works to educate the residents but also provides a solution for residents that is entirely optional.
How common are utility line breakages and what are the common repair costs?
Each year, SLWA, together with its parent HomeServe, performs tens of thousands of water and sewer service line repairs for customers nationwide. It is very difficult to determine when a pipe may fail, with key contributors being the type of piping material, age of the service pipe, soil conditions and installation quality. Water line repairs can be costly – a replacement averages $2,500 nationally. With the modest cost of SLWA’s service plan, homeowners would still see financial benefit if the service line didn’t break for another few decades – versus saving the monthly fee at current rates.
Doesn’t my homeowner’s insurance already cover these repairs?
Typically no. Most homeowners are surprised to learn that they are responsible for the repair and replacement of broken or leaking utility lines if they are on their property. While most basic homeowner’s policies will pay to repair the damage created by failed utility lines, they typically do not cover the cost of the repair of the line itself. SLWA encourages residents to call their insurance company to determine your actual coverage.
Why does SLWA use the City of Spearfish’s logo in its marketing materials?
The City of Spearfish’s agreement with SLWA allows the company to use the City’s logo in communications to indicate that there is a formal relationship in place and to let residents know that the offering is legitimate, it is for the residents benefit and has the approval of the City. All of the mailings SLWA sends to Spearfish residents are first reviewed and approved by the City prior to use.
SLWA is committed to transparency in all of its communications. All SLWA materials clearly state that the services the company offers are voluntary and that they are offered by SLWA, a private company that is separate from the city.
Isn’t it unethical/unseemly for cities to partner with a private entity?
It is not a new idea for the public and private sectors to work together; it is about bringing Spearfish residents a solution to a real problem facing homeowners around the country. SLWA brings the best of the private sector, including efficiency and expertise, to relieve the burden on homeowners facing expensive repairs. At the same time, SLWA supports communities by helping us, as local decision-makers, tackle the problem of making sure all of our community’s water and sewer infrastructure is maintained. It is good practice to bring together the best of what public and private entities have to offer.