The BBB is urging consumers to use caution when responding to a solicitation regarding insurance coverage for the water pipes that lead from the street into the house.
Home Emergency Insurance Solutions has sent a mass mailing to the Fresno area urging homeowners to purchase ‘Water Line Insurance Protection’ policies. Although there is no government seal used on the documents, the wording makes it sound as if notification is official and that the insurance is required.
It is not until the reader gets down to the fine print on a secondary page that they find the disclaimer that the company is not affiliated with the local utility company and that the insurance is optional.
Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, also known as HomeServe USA Corp., is headquartered in Connecticut and has a ‘C’ rating from the Connecticut BBB. The company has had to answer two government actions in the past year, which led to the addition of the statement that they are not a government organization and that the insurance is optional.
“Even the name of the company is scary, combining the words home and emergency in the same line,” said Blair Looney, CEO and president of the BBB serving Central California. “Homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the water pipes leading from the water meter into the house, but they should check with their own local insurance agent to see if they need coverage since it may not be necessary in newer homes.”
The Connecticut BBB has placed the following statement in the company’s report.
“BBB has received numerous complaints, from consumers across the country, concerning this business's direct mail solicitations, specifically that the solicitations' layout may cause consumers to perceive the letters as coming from the consumers' utility companies and not an independent business selling home warranty or insurance coverage.
BBB also received customer complaints concerning coverage issues, specifically that when a problem occurred, it was not covered by the policy.”
The BBB encourages all consumers to carefully read every solicitation they receive, including the fine print. Don’t automatically assume you need whatever is being sold. Always check the company’s Business Review with the BBB by calling your local office or at www.cencal.bbb.org.
In the case of insurance policies, always check with your local insurance agent first to see if you already have or need the coverage being offered. If you do need the coverage, it may be available at a lesser cost than what is offered through the mailing.