Out of sight, out of mind, they say. While that proverb isn’t always true, it certainly applies to underground infrastructure, including sprinkler systems.
Many homeowners on the Colorado Front Range regularly utilize their sprinkler system for irrigation, but they may forget that it often runs directly alongside the fence line of their property, especially in newer, more compact developments. Because of their location, sprinkler lines are particularly susceptible to damage during various routine projects, including yard work, landscaping, and fence installation.
When damage occurs, someone has to pay for repairs, which can cost around $500. The question, then, is who is responsible?
Sprinkler damage: A private problem
Sprinkler and other irrigation systems are considered private utilities, which means, as opposed to public utilities, you as the homeowner are solely responsible for their maintenance and repair.
Commercial farmers and other business owners in the agriculture industry may be prepared for damage to their large-scale irrigation systems, as it can be detrimental to their professional operation. However, most residential property owners do not have warranties or provisions in their homeowners insurance policy to cover landscaping or sprinkler damage. As a result, when their system is accidentally harmed in the process of doing lawn maintenance or putting up a fence, there is no recourse except to pay for repairs themselves.
This issue is just as prevalent when you are working with a landscaping crew or fence installation company. Sprinkler systems are comprised of interconnected PVC tubes that are difficult to locate underground. Additionally, PVC is lightweight, which makes it easy to install but also easy to damage when crews are removing an old fence or digging post holes during the fence installation process.
Because numerous builder-grade homes in modern subdivisions are not landscaped to include the optimal 3-foot buffer between property and sprinkler lines, this creates an overlap, increasing the risk of damage to the sprinkler line.
The issue can be further exacerbated if the pipes are located in the neighboring yard. With sprinkler lines running along the property or fence line, it’s possible for your fence contractor's crew to accidentally hit a neighbor's sprinkler system during a new fence installation. At that point, everyone involved is unhappy, the question of liability is obscure, and nobody wins.
What is the solution?
Because sprinkler systems damage can be practically inevitable in compact subdivisions that are becoming more and more common in Colorado Springs and Denver, Split Rail Fence developed a solution. Since 2018 we have offered optional Sprinkler Insurance for purchase by individual homeowners and HOA customers along the Colorado Front Range. Like landscaping insurance, it offers protection and clarity when accidents occur.
You can proactively purchase sprinkler insurance from Split Rail Fence to protect both yourself and your neighbor in the event sprinkler lines are damaged during the fence installation process. The insurance clears up the question of liability, putting the burden of repairing the damage on the fencing company itself. If your HOA has purchased sprinkler insurance, both you and your neighbor are covered. If installers accidentally hit underground pipes on your property or your neighbor’s property while they are digging post holes or placing the fence posts, they will cover the cost of sprinkler repair.
With sprinkler insurance, you can choose to displace the liability for damaged sprinkler systems, granting you peace of mind and saving you from having to pay for costly repairs if underground pipes are hit while removing the old fence or installing a new one.
A unique solution from a unique fence company
Split Rail Fence is currently the only company in the area that offers sprinkler insurance for its residential customers. However, it is merely one product among several that set Split Rail apart. With a "customer first" approach, Split Rail is dedicated to assisting homeowners in selecting the right type of fence for their property and ensuring the new infrastructure is properly installed.