Water damage is one of the most common—and costly—types of home insurance claims. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims in 2017, totaling more than $9 billion.
There are a number of ways to help prevent water damage in your home, and one of the most important is to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Here’s what you need to know about water damage insurance and how to protect your home from this costly peril.
What Does Water Damage Insurance Cover?
Water damage insurance covers repairs or replacement costs for damage caused by water or freezing, up to your policy limit. Most standard homeowners' insurance policies include coverage for water damage from burst pipes, but there may be some exceptions or limits, so it’s important to check with your insurer to be sure. Some insurers offer additional “endorsements” or riders that can be added to your policy.
If you live in an area prone to flooding or "ground swell", it's important to get flood insurance to help protect your home in the event that water does enter your property. Flooding is a common exclusion from most insurance policies.
Fortunately, there are a number of things homeowners can do to help prevent water damage from happening in the first place. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the key steps you can take to protect your home from water damage.
Water Damage Prevention Tips
One of the best ways to prevent water damage is to stay on top of maintenance around the house. This includes ensuring that your washing machine, refrigerator, and dishwasher are all properly connected and in good working order. You should also periodically check your pipes for any signs of leaks or wear and tear.
Another crucial step in preventing water damage is taking measures to avoid freezing pipes. This is especially important in colder climates where pipes are at risk of freezing during the winter months. Some simple steps you can take to avoid frozen pipes include insulating exposed pipes and not allowing them to become too cold. If you intend to travel during the winter months, especially if a deep freeze is pending, arrange for someone to periodically check on the home to make sure the furnace is functioning properly.
Be aware of the location of your main water shut off valve and the shut off valves for all of your water connected appliances. That way should a line burst, you can quickly stop the flow of water into the home and keep the damage as minimal as possible.
If despite your best-efforts water damage does occur in your home, it's important to take action as quickly as possible. This means contacted a restoration company or plumber right away to begin repairs. The faster you can contain the damage, the less extensive—and expensive—the repairs will be.
Water damage is one of the most common insured losses for homeowners. While your homeowner's policy will most likely cover damage caused by a burst pipe or other sudden event, it's important to understand that it generally won't cover damage caused by gradual leaks, floods, or sewage backup. Keep in mind insurance companies only provide the money to help you get the issue resolved. Just because you have insurance, it is by far better to never have to make a claim
That's why it's so important to take steps to prevent water damage in your home in the first place. By taking some simple precautionary measures—such as checking your appliance hoses periodically and insulating exposed pipes during cold weather—you can help protect your home against costly water damage.