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Water Damage From Leaks Is 7 Times More Likely Than Fire Damage

Posted by Geordie Romer on April 19, 2011

The following is a Guest Post from Eric Kossian of Leavenworth Insurance.
Most people believe that fire damage is the most likely cause of loss to their home but the data proves homes are much more likely to be damaged by water than by fire.
Travelers Insurance analyzed its homeowner’s insurance claims in one state, excluding claims related to catastrophes or weather, and found that damage caused by water accounted for 23 percent of its property claims, compared with just three percent for fire. Annual inspections could save you thousands of dollars as property insurance does not cover for losses that are considered maintenance issues such as all the resulting damage from a slow leak behind a shower wall.; policies only cover “sudden and accidental” water losses. Water losses from any flooding are only covered by a separate flood policy.
photo © 2008 Thirteen Of Clubs | more info (via: Wylio)
After examining the most common causes of water damage, I suggest the following list of preventive measures homeowners can take to help avoid extensive non-weather-related water property damage.

(Note: Eric recommends, when replacing pressurized hoses and pressurized hoses behind toilets & washing machine etc, buy only the woven steel mesh variety. They not only last longer but are much less likely to spring a leak and are only a small extra cost – much lower cost than your $500 deductible. When buying these it is also a good time to buy a good fire extinguisher too – one that can be used on any type of fire. It should have the code 2A10BC on it –usable on any type of fire.)

Leaks from washing machine hoses: Washing machine hoses should be inspected annually and replaced every five years (10 years if metal mesh type) – or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking, bulging or corrosion.
Leaky plumbing around water heaters: Plumbing should be inspected annually and repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, water heaters should be installed in an area with floor drains, or a floor pan the water heater sits in, to minimize damage if leaks should occur. Water heaters only have a life span of about 8 years -12 years depending upon quality but if the water is hard it could really shorten the lifespan. The newer water heaters are much more energy efficient as well.
Leaks from refrigerator ice machines: Ice maker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, should be inspected annually and hoses replaced if they appear cracked or corroded.
Clogged drain lines on air conditioning units: Air conditioning drain lines should be checked yearly.
Plumbing Leaks: Check in crawl space along pressurized pipe and look for water damage from slow leaks to subfloor. Check ceilings below upstairs bathrooms for any visible water damage. Check under bathroom and kitchen sinks and if possible behind the dishwasher too. (one dishwasher claim which I heard about from a guy that was being canceled by his insurance co, had sprung a leak in the pressurized pipe to his dishwasher while he was gone for a week. The claim was over $200,000! The cost of his replacement policy was triple his prior premium.

Eric Kossian was an Underwriting Specialist prior to starting his own agency, catering to clients who own a home in WA. They specialize in offering the rare home coverage that includes no cap on replacement cost, back up of sewer and drain coverage, and a more comprehensive list of covered perils, usually for less premium than traditional policies. Email: [email protected]



    If you’re planning to buy a home in this area, the best place to start is with the Leavenworth Home Buyer’s Guide.

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