Letter creates worry for Independence water customers
5:27 PM, Jan 19, 2011
5:44 PM, Jan 19, 2011
INDEPENDENCE, Missouri - A letter that’s hitting many Kansas City area mailboxes is
causing a stir.
Alice Hendrickson recently got one.
"I didn't realize I was responsible for that line that goes from
the house to the street,” Alice tells Call For Action’s
The letter comes from American Water Resources and states,
“You are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the
water line that runs through your property.”
It goes on to say that water line repairs aren't covered by
insurance and can cost thousands to fix. American Water Resources
will give homeowners piece of mind for just five dollars a
Alice’s reaction to getting the letter? “I thought
maybe it was just a scam,” she says.
She’s not alone. The Independence Water Department got a
lot of calls from worried homeowners who received the ad in the
Call For Action got a letter Wednesday from an Independence
condo owner who says he received two letters from American Water
Resources in two weeks.
He wonders if his fellow condo owners "would fall for this when
it's not even their responsibility.” He adds,
“Something about it strikes me as a scam.”
Thomas Heinkel, Customer Service Manager for the Independence
Water Department says, "It has no affiliation with the city. We
tell them it is an insurance policy."
Just who is responsible for water line repairs? Each city is
Heinkel says, “Each homeowner is responsible for their
water and sewer line from where it leaves the house to where it
hooks up to the city sewer or water main. That is owned and must be
maintained by the homeowner."
Alice Hendrickson says she's lived in her home for 50 years and
never has had a problem with water pipes. She plans to pass on the
The following is the written response submitted by American
Many homeowners are unaware of their responsibilities when it
comes to water line repairs. Most believe these repairs are the
responsibility of their water service provider and/or their
municipality, and many believe it is within the coverage of their
homeowners insurance. These repairs are actually the responsibility
of the homeowner and oftentimes, they are not covered by homeowners
American Water Resources provides water line, sewer line and in
home plumbing emergency programs to homeowners across the country.
We have been in business for 10 years and currently have
approximately 830,000 customer contracts in 16 states.
The company has been providing water line protection programs in
Missouri for eight years.
American Water Resources has an A+ rating with the Better
Business Bureau, and is a subsidiary of American Water, the
nation’s largest investor-owned water and wastewater services
provider, which is marking its 125th anniversary this year.
American Water Resources’ water line protection program
provides peace-of-mind coverage to homeowners in the event of a
water line leak or break. The water line protection program covers
up to $5,000 for the cost of repairing a leaking or broken water
line and performing basic restoration of the area of the property
affected by the repair.
The terms and conditions of the programs are available online,
and we have customer service representatives available to answer
any questions people may have.
We provide 24/7 customer service and we promptly dispatch local,
licensed independent contractors after receiving a service
While American Water Resources makes every effort to direct our
mailers to only those homeowners with service line repair
responsibility, we cannot always determine from the addresses
whether the property is a single family residence or a part of a
condominium association. That is why the company's mailers advise
townhouse and condo dwellers to check with their association
regarding their service line responsibilities prior to