Preventing Water Damage in Your Home
Did you know that water damage is one of the most frequent causes of loss to homeowners? In one study by a major insurance carrier, 60 percent of water damage claims the company analyzed occurred due to wear and tear and human error1. Maintaining your home and its appliances can help to prevent severe and expensive water damage to your home and treasured possessions.
Since most homeowners policies cover only sudden, accidental water damage, preventative maintenance is a must for the savvy Florida or South Carolina homeowner. Damage from worn-out materials or a leak that continues over time may not be covered. Paying for these repairs out-of-pocket can be costly, potentially causing delays and thousands of dollars in additional damage.
There are generally three causes of water damage:
- Appliance and fixture supply lines – If the supply lines to your sink, toilet, dishwasher, etc. are more than 10 years old, you are at risk for a major leak in your home.
- Rain and surface water – Home roofs collect rainwater and clogged drains and poor roof maintenance can cause interior water damage.
- Grey water or wastewater – Water from washing machines and toilets can cause extensive damage if leaks occur.
Here are some routine checks you can perform yourself to help prevent expensive water damage:
- Keep your roof and gutters in good repair. Ensure the soil around your home foundation slopes away from the house to prevent overflow from entering at the slab.
- Keep your appliances and plumbing in good repair. The average life-span for a water heater is about ten years. Periodically inspect your water heater for rust, especially the bottom of your unit.
- Consider installing a sewage backflow preventer or servicing your backflow valve if one is already installed. When cities perform routine maintenance on sewer mains, water may flood your lateral and interior lines and cause interior damage. Homeowners policies typically cover sewer back-up claims only for an additional premium. Talk to your insurance agent about this important add-on coverage.
- Turn off the main water shut-off valve to your home if you are going away, even for a few days. Make sure all the faucets in your home are completely turned off as well, just in case your gardener turns the water back on.
- One of the things you may consider doing is replacing all traditional water supply lines with steel-braided supply hoses with metal fittings.
- Perform routine maintenance on your air-conditioning unit. This includes checking filters, cleaning drains and hiring a reputable heating and air conditioning technician biannually for a routine check.
- If you decide to do any remodeling, hire a licensed contractor. Substandard construction remodels or reroofs often lead to water damage. Often, once the damage is discovered, the questionable contractor is long out of business or operated without insurance.
- Get to know your neighbors. When you travel, you have a trustworthy contact who can regularly check on your home.
Taking these simple steps can help to ensure your home is not among those seriously damaged by water and, in Florida and South Carolina climates, mold.
These factors increase your risk of water damage and require more homeowner vigilance to prevent water damage:
- If your home is more than 20 years.
- Seasonal weather extremes and weather-related events that occur frequently in the southeastern United States.
- Deferred maintenance of your home or its systems.
Even the best preventative measures cannot guarantee your home’s protection from water damage. What do you do if you come home to standing or running water? Frontline® Homeowners Insurance offers a team of knowledgeable, professional Emergency Service Vendors that can help you through your water disaster.
Please remember that the comments contained in this blog are general in nature and that coverage under any specific policy of insurance will depend upon the terms and conditions of such policy.