Ask the Lawyer: Most insurance is a gamble


Dear Ask the Law­yer:

I have a ques­tion about plumb­ing. It’s a leg­al ques­tion, not a wa­ter ques­tion.

About two to three times a year, I re­ceive a let­ter from the loc­al wa­ter com­pany. The com­pany is try­ing to sell in­sur­ance on the drain pipe go­ing out of my house in­to the street. For a rather small amount of money, the com­pany tells me that if my soil pipe breaks, they will come and re­pair it for free.

Do you think this is good in­sur­ance? Should I buy it?


Dear Dag­mar:

As I have said be­fore, there is only one kind of in­sur­ance you know will pay off. That is life in­sur­ance. If you buy life in­sur­ance, you will die. If you don’t buy life in­sur­ance, you will die.

Now, once we get past life in­sur­ance, everything else is a gamble.

Fix­ing a soil pipe from your house to the street can be a very ex­pens­ive pro­ject. There are many vari­ables, in­clud­ing the length of the pipe from your house to the street, how much lawn and side­walk have to be dug up, the loc­a­tion of the pipe in your base­ment, etc.

Like any oth­er in­sur­ance, ex­cept life in­sur­ance, you have to de­cide wheth­er you want to self-in­sure the risk or buy in­sur­ance pro­tec­tion.

If you don’t pur­chase the in­sur­ance and your soil pipe breaks, you could be in for a large bill, which can eas­ily be sev­er­al thou­sand dol­lars.

On the oth­er hand, you can’t make your­self “in­sur­ance poor.” In oth­er words, you fin­an­cially can’t in­sure every pos­sible risk in the world.

I have seen the ad­vert­ise­ments you are talk­ing about. The cost of the in­sur­ance is really low. This ob­vi­ously means that most soil pipes don’t break.

However, if you live in an old house, if you have con­cerns with the plumb­ing, if your neigh­bors had soil pipe prob­lems, if you are not a risk taker, then per­haps this in­sur­ance is for you. 

Stew­art J. Ber­ger is an at­tor­ney with of­fices at 7207 Rising Sun Ave. Ques­tions and com­ments may be ad­dressed to Ask The Law­yer, c/o The North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053

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