exterior of a house

Above-average protection for your underground service lines

The underground service lines that bring heat, water and power to your home probably aren’t on your mind every day. In fact, you might not know that repairing or replacing those lines could be your responsibility — and that doing so can be expensive.

What's a service line?

Service lines are exterior underground piping and wiring — including permanent connections, valves or attached devices — that provide service to the residence. Service lines are covered when they are owned by the homeowner, who is responsible for their repair or replacement as required by law, regulation or service agreement. Covered services include data transmission and communications, water supply, electrical power, heating, waste disposal and drainage.

How you may be at risk

There isn’t much you can do to prevent natural aging of underground lines, especially if your system has old pipes or is vulnerable to tree root intrusion. The cost of repairing or replacing damaged underground piping, wiring or outdoor property is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies.

Consider the following examples of service line coverage and potential costs:

  • A tree root intrusion cracked a sewer line outside a home, and landscaping was damaged while workers were accessing and repairing the leaking pipe; coverage for the line repair and damaged landscaping: $7,650
  • Over a holiday weekend, a homeowner smelled gas fumes, and the gas company traced the fumes to the incoming gas line from the street to the home; the line needed to be replaced, and an emergency service repair was needed to expedite permanent repairs; coverage for the repairs and the additional expediting expense: $10,000
  • An underground power line that supplies power to a 45-year-old residence shorted out due to corrosion and required excavation and replacement; total cost: $5,934
  • The underground water line from a 39-year-old home froze and burst as a result of the impact on flow, and emergency excavation and pipe repair were needed; total cost: $8,200
  • A buried power line on a homeowner’s premises was damaged due to an artificially generated current and had to be replaced; the home was not habitable, and the family needed to stay in a hotel during repairs; the hotel stay was covered along with the replacement of the damaged line; paid loss after deductible: $2,500

How Nationwide® Private Client responds

Our service line protection is included with your Nationwide® Private Client homeowners policy in most states.1 For a covered loss on the exterior underground service lines you own — including heating, communications, electrical power, compressed air, waste disposal, drainage and water — we offer the following benefits2:

  • Property damage: Physical loss or damage to a covered service line that is the direct result of service line failure
  • Excavation costs: Reasonable and necessary costs associated with excavation required to repair or replace the damaged covered service line
  • Expediting expenses: Extra costs to make temporary repairs and expedite permanent repairs or replacement
  • Loss of use: Coverage for additional living expenses and fair rental value
  • Outdoor property: Coverage for outdoor property, including but not limited to trees, shrubs, plants, lawns, walkways and driveways if they are damaged as the result of a service line failure or during the excavation of covered service lines
  • Coverage limit: $25,000 limit for homes under 50 years old3

Why it's important for you

Underground lines can fail due to a variety of hidden issues, including rust or corrosion; wear and tear; latent defect; damage from insects, rodents or other animals; freezing; root invasion; artificially generated electrical current; and the weight of vehicles or other equipment. Our service line coverage can protect against unexpected repair expenses and help make the incident less disruptive financially.

[1] The service line coverage is not available in AK, FL, HI and NY.
[2] Policy conditions and restrictions apply. See the policy for details.
[3] The coverage limit is $2,500 for homes over 50 years old.

Each claim is handled on the basis of its individual facts and circumstances and in accordance with policy language, including applicable exclusions, conditions and limitations. This insurance overview is for informational purposes only and does not replace or modify the definitions and information contained in individual insurance policies, their endorsements or declarations pages, which are controlling. Terms and availability vary by state, and exclusions apply. Products are underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and affiliated companies, including Crestbrook Insurance, Columbus, Ohio.
Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide Private Client are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2022 Nationwide PVC-0150AO.1 (11/22)