Keeping water system safe triggers fears in region; AWR offers service contracts

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

The postcards started hitting mailboxes on Wednesday afternoon, and by Thursday morning, BBB’s phones were ringing.

“I have received about ten calls a day on this company since they people started receiving the mailings,” said Samantha Gilliahan, at the BBB Idaho Falls office.  “Most of the concerns are about the coverage asking how they can provide main water line protection insurance for $5 a month.”

American Water Resources, in New Jersey, sent information letters soliciting membership in the insurance company to guard main water lines. The company provides a toll-free number (866-430-0819) for direct conversation.

For over a decade, AWR offers customers protect themselves against unexpected repair costs with affordable protection for service line emergencies.

“We currently manage nearly one million water and sewer service line contracts across the country for homeowners, utilities and municipal customers and strive to provide hassle-free repairs, exceptional customer service, professional local contractors, and peace of mind,” said Maureen Duffy, VP of Corporate Communications for AWR.

AWR is a market based subsidiary of the largest investor-owned utility company in the U.S., American Water. Founded in 1886, American Water employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to about 16 million people in 35 states, as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada.

In Idaho, they are registered with the Secretary of State to operate. Because it’s a service contract they are not required to register with the Department of Insurance.

The company has an “A+ rating” with the Better Business Bureau. There were 25 complaints filed within the last three years, with 25 complaints being resolved.

BBB suggests when considering the purchase of a service contract:

  • weigh the costs of the contract against the cost to possible repairs of the product.
  • compare the service contract to the manufacturer’s warranty to make sure your coverage will not be overlapping.
  • be aware of vaguely worded exclusions or limitations in coverage or maintenance requirements which, if not followed, would allow the company to deny coverage.
  • find out how repairs are paid for and if you must get prior authorization. Also learn about the financial backing of the contract.

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