DUBLIN -- The public water supplier has reached an agreement with a private home repair company to offer an emergency service to homeowners to fix broken water lines leading to their homes.

Homeowners in Dublin and the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon can pay $4.95 per month for the optional service -- a form of insurance for water line breaks. The private company, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions, will cover the cost of the infrequent but expensive repairs of breaks of the outdoor water lines -- called laterals -- that transport water from the water meter to the home.

Many homeowners are not aware that it's their responsibility to repair these pipes, which often get little attention until they are damaged by earth movement, tree roots, construction, yard work or old age.

For that reason, the Dublin San Ramon Services District has agreed to work with the company and help shape the message mailed out to potential customers.

"We think it's important that our customers understand their responsibility for water line breaks that occur on their property," said Vicki Goldman, customer services supervisor at the Dublin-San Ramon agency. "Many people get upset when their pipe breaks and they find out it's their responsibility."

The pipe breaks can cost hundreds of dollars or more to repair, depending on the severity and time of the break. Last month, Home Emergency Insurance Solutions began mailing out fliers to district residents about the insurance.


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"A protection plan from HomeServe offers financial coverage and peace of mind at an affordable price," Tom Rusin, chief executive officer of HomeServe USA, said in a written release.

Goldman, of the water district, said it's up to homeowners to choose whether to sign up for the repair insurance. She advised consumers to check whether their homeowners insurance would cover the pipe repairs.

"It's not our position to tell people what to do," Goldman said, "but we think it's a good idea for people to consider what they do in the event of a break."

As part of the agreement with Home Emergency Insurance, the Dublin-San Ramon Services District will get a 10 percent cut of the profits from the service. Goldman said her agency has asked the company to consider whether it could offer a similar insurance program for broken sewer lines at homes.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.

WATER LINE REPAIR INSURANCE
For information about a new insurance program covering broken water pipes between utility meter and houses, homeowners in Dublin and the Dougherty Valley in San Ramon can call 855-321-9859 or visit www.srdserviceplans.com.