water bill insurance

Optional protection plan would be billed to city water customers monthly

Ever been shocked by a water bill three, five or ten times your average monthly rate?

Blackshear residents may not have to pay an unexpectedly high bill due to an undiscovered water leak or busted line for much longer.

The city council is considering offering locals the option to buy into an insurance plan provided by ServLine to cover high water bills related to broken pipes and water leaks. Blackshear water and sewer customers who choose the plan would pay a nominal fee each month on their water bill. ServLine is a division of Sunbelt Insurance based in Chattanooga, TN.

“These people offer an insurance service where anywhere from $1 - $2 a month a customer can have basically an insurance claim for their water,” says Trey Pearson, field services director for Tindall Enterprises, Blackshear’s water system management company.

Exact rates are yet to be determined. ServLine will review 12 months of history on instances in which the city has granted customer refunds for sewer charges related to water leaks and busted lines before proposing plan rates to the city.

The insurance plan provides an annual cap, with no deductible, for claims. ServLine offers three protection limits at $500, $1,000 and $2,500. The city council would decide which cap to offer Blackshear residents.

“It’s an annual cap, basically what you’re covered up to,” Pearson explains.

How it works: Customers would provide proof of the repair work for any leaks or busted pipes and then pay the city their average monthly bill. The insurance company would then cut a check for the remainder of the charges up to the annual cap amount.

“You would pay the city your normal rate and they would send a check to clear the account up,” Pearson says.

Claims are reportedly processed within 24 hours.

If the city moves forward with the plan, they will no longer offer customers a discount on the sewer charge when these instances arise.

ServLine does not cover high bills related to swimming pool fill ups or irrigation systems inadvertently left on.

Satilla Regional Water and Sewer Authority in Ware County offers this protection plan and reportedly has 100 percent enrollment.

“They sing its praises,” Pearson says.

Pearson proposed the plan at a Blackshear city work session last week. The council was expected to review the matter in more detail at a later meeting.