What you need to know about CenterPoint's letters about protecting gas lines
HOUSTON – Did you get a letter from CenterPoint about protecting your gas line?
Here is what it’s all about:
Many of you have questions about letters that appear to be from CenterPoint regarding "gas line coverage" protection. Consumer expert Amy Davis got some answers about the new program to help you decide if it's right for you.
Q: Who mailed these letters?
A: Home Serve is a home repair and protection company based in Connecticut. CenterPoint Energy said it vetted Home Serve and competing companies before it decided to partner with Home Serve to offer service plans to its customers. Home Serve sent the letters on CenterPoint Energy letterhead.
Q: Why do I need to buy a service plan for CenterPoint's gas lines?
A: The gas line protection plan is to cover the portion of the gas line that is your responsibility. If you own the property, the gas line from the meter up to each gas appliance inside or outside your home belongs to you. If those lines are damaged or they break from normal wear and tear, you are responsible for the cost to repair them. Many customers don't realize this until something happens and the pipes need to be repaired. Most are not prepared for the unexpected bill that can run thousands of dollars.
Q: What does the coverage cost and what does it cover?
A: You pay $5.49 a month. The fee is added onto your gas bill if you decide to pay for the service plan. If your pipes are damaged, you call the Home Serve repair line, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Home Serve sends a local, licensed, insured contractor to your home to inspect the damage. If the damage is covered under the service contract, the contractor will make repairs or replace the line, up to $8,000. Once you sign up for the service, it takes effect within 30 days.
CenterPoint is also partnering with Home Serve to offer a service plan for your air conditioning unit. There are two plans.
- The A/C Cooling Repair Plan will cost $16.99 per month for up to $1,750 annual repair and replacement coverage per year for one A/C unit. An introductory promotion at $8.49 per month for the first year of plan coverage is available.
- An A/C Cooling System plan for two A/C units is also available and will cost $29.99 per month. An introductory promotion at $21.99 per month for the first year is available.
Home Serve is the same company the city of Houston endorsed in 2013 when it offered water and sewer line protection plans to homeowners.
The protection plans are not insurance products and, therefore, they are not regulated by the Texas Department of Insurance. They are more like a home warranty. Before you sign up, you should check with your homeowners insurance to find out what damage your policy would cover if your gas line was damaged.
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