Water Damage – The New Hurricane?

The following article was written by Steve Hall, the owner of East Coast Insurors and one of our Elite agency partners. In the article below, Steve gives some very helpful advice on how to mitigate water related losses. With 40 years in the insurance business, Steve has seen many trends in this industry and water seems to be big on his radar. In addition to the suggestions Steve offers below, an important part in protecting yourself from financial loss due to water damage is to make sure you thoroughly read your policy. Many Florida carriers have policies containing exclusions or limitations that apply to water damage. Many times, these gaps in coverage are only to be discovered at the inconvenient time of after a loss occurs. Don’t wait until after a loss to fully review your policy. Take the time to read it now or contact your agent for a thorough review of your policy. We hope you’ll appreciate the agent’s perspective on this topic.

Water Damage – The New Hurricane?

By Steve Hall, President – East Coast Insurors

“Remember when we used to fear the effects of hurricanes on our homes and insurance rates? Although hurricanes still can impact us, recently many of our clients have come to know another source of worry- the plumbing in our homes.

A review of our agency’s claims over the last 7 years revealed that 76% of our losses came from water damage. One water damage claim was over $800,000! Most water damage claims aren’t that large, but are worrisome to our clients nonetheless.

A water damage claim causes big disruption to you. First, there is the damage itself and getting to the source of the leak. There is the inconvenience of having no water for a while as you have to turn the main water source off until the leak is found and repaired. Once the leak is stopped, there is the drying time which can take several days in some cases before the repairs to your floors, walls, etc. can begin. Avoiding mold can also add time to the repair process.

Is there anything you can do to avoid a water damage nightmare? Absolutely. A water damage claim can happen anytime. The $800,000 claim mentioned above occurred in a home that was 7 years old, so it’s not just homes that are 50 years old.

Here are some tips:

  • Do your own visual inspection of the areas where water pipes are visible to you. Under your sinks, behind your toilets. Often these sites show signs of water leaking before they finally burst. If you see water or staining, call your plumber (licensed, of course).
  • You may consider replacing your rubber washing machine hoses with braided stainless steel hoses. The cost is about $15 more than the cheap rubber ones. The $800,000 claim was caused by a burst washing machine hose. Many of our other water damage claims were also due to hose failures.
  • Turn off the water supply to your home when you leave for more than a day. If you think it’s too much trouble, think about how much water would be inside your home if you took your lawn hose, put it inside your house and turned it on full-blast and came back in 24 hours (it’s about 8,000 gallons).
  • You may consider installing an automatic water shut-off valve. These systems detect a drop in pressure in your plumbing system and turn off the water automatically. The systems cost a few hundred dollars, but can save much misery.

Finally, the insurance company matters. As an independent insurance agent, we represent several companies. As much as insurance company TV advertising would have you believe that all insurance policies are the same and you only need to focus on their price, that is not the case.
When it comes to water damage, there are wide variations in coverage from one company to the next. Some policies will exclude water damage entirely. Others limit it to $10,000 or some other amount. It is important that you know these details before you make your buying decision.” – Steve Hall, President – East Coast Insurors

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.