Three reasons to call 811 before you dig

 April 6, 2020     UFG Insurance    Personal  Read Time: 3 min
Call 811

When spring and summer roll around, many of us are digging gardens, putting in fences and planting trees. Even if your project seems like a shallow dig, there’s more going on under the surface than you might think. 

According to, there are miles of pipes and wires beneath the ground that provide essential utilities like water, electricity and natural gas. Some of these lines are only a few inches beneath the soil—hitting one could be a dangerous mistake. 

Here are three reasons why you need to call the utility-location hotline by dialing 811 before you dig.

1. It’s free

The services that come by calling 811 are free and can save lots of money by preventing future damages to your property and community. What’s not free are the costs you might have to pay if you accidentally damaged a line, hurting yourself or someone else. 

2. It’s easy

When you make a quick call to 811, you’ll talk with an operator who will help you place a request for the lines in your project area to be located and clearly marked. 

It’s a good idea to call at least two business days before you want to break ground, so the utility locator has time to assess the area and mark any lines. That will signal exactly what you can and, more important, what you can’t do when it comes to digging in a certain area. Knowing what’s underground will keep you, your home and your neighborhood safe from an annoying or even deadly mishap.

If you’ve hired a contractor or excavator for your special project, typically those professionals make the call to 811. However, to be clear about who’s making the call, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your professional to be sure.

3. Erosion can lead to shallow underground lines

Even if your project is on the smaller side—like planting or putting in a new mailbox—always play it safe and call 811. It’s not as silly as it sounds. Because of erosion, some utilities may only be a few inches below ground. So, even if you’re just putting in a few flowers, remember you could hit a line if you don’t know where they are. 

Before you get started on that awesome outdoor project, make a safety call everyone can dig: Dial 811 first.

Did this post make you wonder about your insurance coverage? Find a UFG agent near you who can help. 

Disclaimer: Subject to applicable legal requirements, United Fire & Casualty Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates (UFG Insurance) are no longer renewing or writing new personal lines coverage for current or potential policyholders in most states. To accommodate obtaining replacement coverage, we have entered into a renewal rights agreement for most of our personal lines business. Read more here

The information provided is for informational purposes only. Every attempt is made to ensure that the information is accurate; however, it is not intended to replace professional advice. For more information, see Disclaimers & Other Legal Documents.