Water service line insurance is just one insurance policy that is not needed by most Texans, according to an insurance industry group.
Shirley Gelineau, an elderly San Antonio resident, received several solicitations in the mail to purchase the insurance.
"I was suspect right away," Gelineau said. “And I began reading and it was totally confusing and they wanted money.”
She said the mailing looked like an official government document and included wording saying that she was not covered with insurance for her water service line. The solicitation also told her it was important for her to take action.
"I didn't really find it threatening, but it was intimidating,” Gelineau said. “I couldn't understand it. I didn't know who these people were. And I kept thinking, 'They're not going to leave me alone.'"
She wondered if she needed water line insurance or whether it was a scam and contacted the KSAT 12 Defenders for help.
The Defenders went to Austin to speak to Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. The council represents insurance companies, but Hanna said water line insurance is suspect.
"People get things like this all the time saying, 'This is a great buy. This is something that you really need,' but you really don't," Hanna said.
He said water line coverage frequently has many exclusions and that problems can often be covered by homeowners insurance.
“There are so many exclusions and things like this, you really don't know what you're getting into,” Hanna said.
He said another policy of questionable value is auto-collision insurance for older vehicles.
“If your vehicle's 20 years old, and the most you're going to get out of selling it is going to be maybe $2,000 or $3,000, it's just not worth it to have that type of coverage,” Hanna said. “If it's broadsided or rear-ended or whatever, and it's going to take maybe $3,000-$5,000 to repair the car, they're going to total it out.”
Other questionable policies, Hanna said, include rental car insurance, credit card insurance and flight insurance in case there's a crash.
"You might have better chances of being hit by lightning," Hanna said.
He said policies consumers definitely need include auto liability, health insurance and homeowners insurance.
Shirley Gelineau said people should take note, especially the elderly.
"My husband and I don't want other people paying into this," Gelineau said. “And especially a lot of elderly people.”
- Texas Department of Insurance
- Insurance Council of Texas
- Investopedia story on insurance policies you don't need