Home protection plan under scrutiny

What you need to know before purchasing extra coverage on your home
A company partnered with the city is facing criticism tonight from customers who say the insurance they paid for isn't providing the coverage they expected.
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 7:20 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A company partnered with the city is facing criticism from customers who said the insurance they paid for isn’t providing the coverage they expected, and they feel misled by the city.

WSMV4 Investigates found out why the city isn’t doing more and what you need to know before paying for extra coverage for your home.

A sewer line rupture was an unexpected, unpleasant surprise for Reggie and Deborah Sherfield.

“The line was dug up to here,” Reggie Sherfield said as he showed where it happened.

While they knew it would be an expensive fix, they felt relief knowing they had water and sewer protection.

“Since 2015 I’ve been paying for this plan,” Reggie Sherfield said.

A plan that allowed them to pick whatever plumber they want and turn in their receipts for reimbursement.

Hiller Plumbing in Nashville made the repair with the bill totaling more than $9,000.

But American Water Resources, the company which the insurance is through, said they would only pay for $105, the initial cost for a technician to come out.

“$105? The bill is $9,275,” Deborah Sherfield said.

American Water Resources told WSMV4 Investigates and the Sherfields the rupture was due to improper installation. It’s one of the few things not covered under AWR’s term and conditions. They then pointed to Hiller as the proof, telling WSMV4 Investigates Hiller is the one who told them that.

“We have been in communication with the specific Hiller contractor who actually was out in the field and performed that job,” Alison Bibb-Carson, a spokesperson for American Water Resources, said.

But Hiller disagrees. The company provided WSMV4 Investigates the documentation it has related to the project and nowhere did it state a cause.

A Hiller spokesperson said the rupture could have been caused by anything.

WSMV4 Investigates asked American Water Resources to provide proof of their conversation with Hiller’s technician, but Carson-Bibb said in an email to WSMV4 Investigates it would not be providing any documents.

WSMV4 Investigates discovered this is not the first complaint lodged against AWR.

Its listing on the Better Business Bureau has hundreds of complaints and negative reviews, many saying similar things happened to them.

Despite that, the company is still listed on the Metro Water Services website as a partner for providing protection program.

Metro Water Services confirmed more than 20,000 customers use AWR for sewer line protection.

“We ourselves do not provide that service line insurance,” Metro Water Services spokesperson Sonia Allman said.

“But you recommend this company to people,” WSMV4 Investigates said. “It’s not a recommendation. It’s a contractual agreement,” Allman said.

An agreement Metro Water Services now said it will reconsider when the contract is up in two years.

As for the Sherfields, just days after WSMV4 Investigates got involved, American Water Resources offered them a $4,000 reimbursement, leaving them with more than $5,000 to pay.

Then Hiller swept in.

“We would like to pay the remaining balance of what the insurance is not paying,” a Hiller employee said when they surprised the Sherfields at their home last week.

“This is a shock and a surprise,” Deborah Sherfield said.

It’s money the Sherfields said they now have for Christmas.

“Without Lindsay, we wouldn’t be here this morning,” Reggie and Deborah Sherfield said. “Thanks for everything you’ve done, all that you’ve done. WSMV4 and Hiller, thank you so much.”

The Sherfields have since canceled their sewer line protection and want other Middle Tennesseans to do their research and ask questions before spending money that may or may not help you when you need it.

How do you know if paying for extra coverage like this is worth it?

American Water Resources said it doesn’t pre-inspect homes. Plumbing companies like Hiller can come out and inspect your sewer lines and help you determine if you’re a good candidate for sewer and water line protection.