Residents Demand More For Water Main Break Damage

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (WCCO) –- Chanhassen residents told the city council Monday night that $2,500 isn’t enough to cover the damage caused by a water main break that filled their homes with sewage last month.

The city came up with the $2,500 to placate residents after the city’s insurance company denied the resident’s claims for a second time. The amount is the same the city paid to a homeowner last year for water main break damage.

“I’ve got over a dozen people on my list that have over $10,000 and up to $30,000 in damage. This is not just water cleanup: This was extensive and everything that water touched had to go in the trash,” said Chanhassen Hills resident Amy Powell.

The council asked for more time to consider the pay out.

  • Katie

    Doesn’t the homeowner’s insurance cover sewage backup? In the community where I live, there was sewage backup at my friend’s home and his homeowner’s insurance covered it. Why not in this case? How is this different?

    • qryptik1

      It is additional insurance you need to add to your policy, it is not part of the typical ins. policies. It typically costs $50-90/year for just $5000 in sewer backup coverage. It is totally different than flood insurance. You’d be surprised at the number of things homeowners doesn’t ordinarily cover.

    • junior

      What part of any of this was caused on the owner’s property? This is water that attacked their homes, not a broken pipe within their walls. The city should pay every penny and the executives of the insurance company should be taken out and shot.

      • @Junior

        Wow Junior … get a grip on reality!

        • junior

          @junior, can’t wait to hear from you when one of those millions of illegals driving with no insurance hits you and now the whole financial responsibility is yours. Then you call your insurance company and twice they deny to help you. Now who needs a grip you fool.

          • Michelle

            I’d call it uninsured motorist insurance, most states require you to have it. You should have it in case you get hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance.

            • informed

              Uninsured motorist only covers medical cost not property damage. Just saying.

    • USMC_TOP

      Do you want your insurance paying for something the city is responsible for causing? I guess you won’t mind paying to repair you own vehicle is someone hits you as well..

  • Alison

    Are they even approaching their own omeowner insurance companies?? Why aren’t we hearing about if they have and/or if they are covered by their OWN insurance. I feel like this is something they should’ve had insurance for as a homeowner or maybe it seems like it should be required … ?. Honestly the way this is written it makes it seem like the residents that had damage are just walking around with their hands out trying to make sure someone else is paying for what seems like an act of nature…

    • kim

      How exactly is a man made pipe breaking an act of nature?!?!

      • Guest

        The drop in temps/weather could have caused a break…how about not everything is someone else’s fault. Oh, that’s right we live in a society of blamers!

        • Josh

          It’s planned obsolesence. The pipes are not made to last forever, they have a life span just like anything else. However, being as how the pipes are city property, they do have a lifetime warranty and with that lifetime warranty omes replacement costs, the damages incurred are part of the replacement costs. It is not an act of nature, it is a man made product that failed! The city should not only be responsible for replacement of destroyed or tainted items, but they are also responsible for any inconvenience the pipe breaking caused. $2,500 isnt even close to what the residents will get if they go to court. If residents sued, it could cost the city more than 10 times that amount per household after legal fee’s. They’d better start working with the residents before the tax payers get the shaft!

        • Mike

          The ground did not freeze in many areas this winter. The snow cover prevented it.

        • Thomper

          Got a piece of news for ya guest – the pipes are below the frost line. ;-)
          Pretty hard to say what was cause – but the temps are a no-no. So sorry.

          If the $50-100 it costs to have sewer coverage is to much for someone to pay I think maybe they should not be owning a home. I feel for them but I really don’t care to pay for them. Mine costs me $93 a year and going up, had it for 20 plus years. Since I have never used do you want to give me my money back?
          hello America ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, hello

          • Guest

            Thanks Thomper, I really wasn’t aware the pipes were that low! :) I completely agree with you though…people should be aware of the costs of owning a home along with the risks.

          • USMC_TOP

            OK to you have $30,000 in damage to your home caused by the city. Your sewer coverage amounts to $5000 and the city pays you $2500. Simple math tells me that you’re suffering quite a loss. Homeowner or not you’d have to be stupid not to want to be reimbursed. If you have that kind of money and don’t mind suffering a $22,500 loss, please send it to one of those unfortunate homeowners you disdain so much.

    • amazed

      If you put a claim in on your own homeowners insurance your rates go up for years to come – this damage was through no fault of the homeowner so why should they bear the brunt of the expense for the repair/replacement and clean-up?

    • Kate

      And why should they be paying for something caused by the city’s failure??? Water main BREAK…city property, sewage backup into their homes…what do you not understand????Do you have homeowners coverage for this?

  • Another Bob

    Insurance companies no doubt considering this to be a “flood” so they don’t have to cover it.

    • Josh

      If the water came in from outside the house, i.e. the pipe did break inside the house, then it is a flood insurance issue. Flood damage isnt just caused by storms, it’s any water from outside your home that comes into your home.

    • Neille Sawyer

      No it is called “back up of sewer and water” and is a seperate addendum to a typical home owners policy. This is why it is important to meet with your insurance agent at least once a year, to look over your coverages and make sure you are covered for what you really need.

      • Josh

        I have AAA and this happened where I live, it was considered flood damage. Luckily I had flood insurance. I speak from experience, not from my bum.

  • Tabetha

    I watdhed this story on the news a few weeks ago and one homeowner showed the damage at her home. She said their homeowner’s insurance paid most of it and they had $4,000 they were responsible for. These people need to stop complaining and take what they can get from the city, a little help is better than nothiing.

  • Brian R

    I have paid an extra $150/year on my home insurance for many years to cover back up of sewer and drains. My agent suggested it to me years ago and I have had the coverage ever since. They send me a letter every year too making sure my coverrage is up to date. I took responsiblity for my own property. This is just another example of society today looking for someone else to bail them out of a situation that they should have taken responsibility for themselves. The government can’t save you from everything folks.

    • swell

      Explain how this is the home owners looking for a bailout and not the city’s fault. As I see it, a pipe from the city water supply burst (city failure of maintenance) and flooded these home owner’s houses. Why should the home owners have to pay 1) a deductible and 2) higher insurance rates for their claims and the city can just walk away? Why did the city’s insurance refuse to cover it? This was beyond the home owner’s control, yet they are the ones who have to pony up. Frankly, the home owners should sue the city/insurance to get fully reimbursed for what they and their insurance companies paid out.

    • insurance guy

      You are paying twice as much as you should for that coverage. let me know if you would like a quote.

    • Alison

      Wonderfully put.

    • Really?

      Whoever owns the pipe that broke should be responsible to pay for the damages. The homeowner did not break the pipe. Why should the homeowner pay extra insurance money for damages caused by another who does not consider paying for damages? This is just another example of goverment today looking for someone else to bail them out of a situation that they should have taken responsibility for themselves – it was their pipe that broke.

      • Todd

        I agree. How much do we pay in taxes/water bills to pay for these pipes a year? If my phone goes out and it is on the pole outside, the phone company pays for it. If my cable goes out and it is outside my house, they fix it. If my electric goes out they fix it and don’t send a bill. What’s the difference?

        • Hey there numbskulls

          They all pay —- up to your house Todd. Then it is on your nickel. Same here

          When you build-buy-undertake a house the city provides the main to a stub. That’s usually on the curb. Then it’s all yours to get from there to the house – you pay. I am pretty sure this is all mainly back-up damage which is YOUR responsibilty or is the line breaks on your property it also is YOUR responsibility. I dropped 13K to reline my pipes in 2008 so I know it’s not cheap. The city owed me nothing.

          So they did not pay for an endorsement that covered the sewer backup damage and now you think I HAVE to PAY for them ???? Wake up and grow up. I owe you nothing. Neither does the city. End of story. Good bye

    • Mike

      Taking care of it yourself implies that your not using the socialism that comes with insurance protection.

    • cpsadp

      i disagree. the city water main break backed into the city sewers (which should never happen) blowing sewage into 27 homes. How does the city not share any responsibility?

      • Tanya needs a drink

        Bad things should never happen – but they do. That’s called life
        That’s why we have a pool of $$$$$ we all should be contributing to. It is called insurance. Got it?
        I pay – damned if I want to pay again thru taxes for someone who chooses not to.

        • Tanya fan

          Ha, Tanya made my day! :)

    • Lorelei

      It is so true. City and State governments are going under, financially, and are struggling just to be able to operate at this point. People who think that their city or state government should foot the bill for many things need to realize where these municipalities get their money – a lot of it comes from taxes. I don’t know anyone who is willing to pay more in taxes, despite the fact that even needed services such as school budgets, police and fire fighting services are being cut more and more across the country. The financial picture is looking a bit bleak, all around.

  • Julie J

    Well Said!

  • cpsadp

    Please understand…the city has offered nothing. In fact, the city council last night refused to consider the city manager’s suggestion of 2,500/home.

    • Smart City

      Good for them. Re-elect them in future.
      Imagine a city that has people doing the right thing. AMAZING. They actually are not sticking up the >spot< of the taxpayers for the negligence of a few in properly insuring their homes.
      I might move their just to vote. lol

  • Really?....Really?

    The city is only responsible for the damage if they were negligent. In other words, they had to knowingly allow this to occur or failed to do something that may have prevented this. Simply owning something that causes damage to someone else’s property does not make you legally liable.

    These people need someone to blame, understandably an upsetting situation, but it is NOT the city’s faulty.

    • Donna Sayles-Corbin

      The city is responsible for keeping these pipes in good repair. Apparent;y that wasn’t being done or the pipes wouldn’t have broken. So, yes, they are responsible. They charge you every month for the sewer line. EVERY customer should expect that they are maintaining these lines. Again, apparently they weren’t.

    • swell

      Why not? Why do you say the city wasn’t negligent? In every city, maintenance of the water infrastructure is lowest on the list of priorities because it is messy and expensive. Then when a water main breaks, the city claims no responsibility for it. They are the only ones who *can* maintain it; their failure makes them negligent.

  • Mollie

    These residents didn’t want to pay the extra $60 a year and now as taxpayers we owe them $10,000 or more each? I pay the cost to insure mine! Hello, personal responsibility.

    • Grandpa thinks

      Well said Molly.
      What’s interesting — and I live here and know many – is that we are talking in at least 3 cases I can attest to anyway – this is a very strong GOP community. It is funny in that a few months back they may have viewed this as “personal responsibilty” – my point is we all change like chameleons when things happen.
      I feel for them but do not desire to pay for them

  • Jon

    The carpet in my basement alone cost more than $2500…

    • GOP hoe down ....nope. Common sense

      I had water flood my basement in 2003 storm. My insurance did not cover. Why? No flood insurance.
      Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – okay. They were right.
      No sewer coverage by endorsement here? Shucks – same thing. Sorry. They are correct

  • norris

    The people are the city so they own the pipes. The city owes them nothing. Bunch of people that take responsibility for nothing.

  • mab78

    If they are the city’s pipes then they are responsible for them. They charge customers for using their services. If their “services” are not recieving proper maintenance then it’s their fault the damage occured. If the gas company had a pipe that was not inspected regularlly and blew up a house wouldn’t the gas company be responsible. The water companies have been neglecting water lines for YEARS. They need to start using the money they recieve and start repairing and replacing old lines and not waiting until they break to fix them.

  • Donna Sayles-Corbin

    Being that the pipes are owed and operated by the city and hey caused damage to private property; they need to pay for the repairs. I don’t care if the home owner’s had this in their policy or not. This wouldn’t have happened had the city’s pipes not broken. The city needs to take responsibility and quit trying to pass the buck again. The city should have a big enough insurance policy to cover this. I don’t blame these people. They didn’t cause this mess so why should they have to pay for it? If this were you, you’d be bytching too!

  • Zooski

    You pay what, $30/month for water? Wow. I guess the city should take ALL that money and start replacing infrastructure.

  • krystal

    Yeah Homeowners insurance will pay out, but this was not a fault of the homeowner. The city should have repaired the pipes, they are liable for damages. They are trying to offer little and it won’t go over well. They will have to pay up. They should have used the money to fix the problem before trying to get out of it the cheap way.

    • FlippIn crazy adult kiddy types

      krystal what kind is my question?
      okay – serious now. The HO pays if there is an endorsement covering. Easy-simple-cheap. The insurance company would litigate themselves IF there was negligence. In this case there is nothing the city did that was wrong. Thinks happen

      The property owners who were insured properly are laughing now and thinking you bunch on nitwits. Most people are — excpet for the few using one form of krystal or another I guess. lmfao


    Most of you people who are talking about these homeowners going to their own insurance companies have to realize one simple fact. When any of us, including these homeowners that were affected by this, stake an insurance claim, 9 times out of 10, your insurance rates go up! Why should they have to pay extra for the rest of their lives for a screw up that somebody else undertook?? The city was responsible for this, so, they need to PAY UP!

  • Diana

    This happened to me twice…RAW sewage came gushing into my basement when the city was ‘jetting’ their lines. I had to sue the city for damages. When everyone told me I can’t sue the city, I got a lawyer and we did sue the city and won! Homeowners insurance would not cover the back up because they knew it was the city’s fault and I had the best insurance money could by. We had to go to court in a jury trial, find them negligant first then go back for a second trial for damages. you all shoul get a lawyer!!!!

    • Ellen

      Please I need your lawyer!!! The exact thing happened to my home, and everyone says I won’t win. Can you contact me at Thank-you!!

  • Diana

    Continued…. if they had a line break then that actually means they are negligant for not maintainingg the lines properly…if they maintained the lines properly it woud not have broke!!!!!

    • Lorelei

      Infrastructures across the country are aging and falling apart. Even in the best financial times, it seems no one cared to spend money on maintaining infrastructures such as roads, bridges, water systems, electrical grids, etc. Now, when there is no money, things are breaking. It was inevitable, but no one cared. Now when they have to care, municipalities are broke, as is the federal government. Sorry to spread the gloom and doom, but this is what is happening. No one ever wanted to “waste” money to fix what was aging but wasn’t at that time officially broken, but now that things are breaking and crumbling, municipalities really don’t have the money to replace these infrastructures.

  • rmsbl4

    OK a city truck runs into your house. Who is responsible for the damages your ins or the city’s?

  • Saami Hadipour

    Once the mercury inside the thermometer starts dropping, you are aware that it’s time to package deal upward, but are in addition, you aware of the measures that your particular home wants as wellpipe burts

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