There are many assumptions when it comes to water damage. Most people don’t appreciate the specific impact it could have on them and therefore don’t take proactive steps to avoid it. When it comes to water damage and insurance, a mitigation mindset is what is needed.
Water Damage Myths
- “It won’t happen to me.” Water damage occurs more frequently than fire, theft, flooding or any other type of home loss. Internal plumbing system water losses are the number one cause of damage to high-net-worth homes.
- “I had water damage in my home. But now that we fixed the cause, it won’t happen again.” Claim data analysis shows that a home that’s had an internal water system loss is at least twice as likely to have another water loss, even after original repairs were made.
- “A water loss won’t really happen to me, because my insurance company pays for my damages.” In most cases, insurance companies will cover water damage costs. However, people assume there will be no additional impact to their lives. This is not the case. A reimbursement check cannot restore sentimental or one of a kind items such as pictures. It could take two to three months to replace furniture, floors, cabinetry and other furnishings. In some claims, this could take longer. Increasing concerns about mold issues can add to the time required for mediation.
- “I have a high-end home, so i’m less likely to have a problem.” High-net-worth homes inherently have more exposure as they typically have more than 40 water points in the home. This includes multiple dishwashers, five or more bathrooms, Jacuzzi’s, steam showers, and more. Each water point represents an opportunity for failures linked to connection points, water hoses and valve assemblies.
- “Water damage isn’t that expensive to repair.” Even a little bit of water in the wrong place can cause a catastrophic loss. One section of damaged custom wood flooring may require an entire level of the home to be replaced.
Tactics to Mitigate Water Damage
- Home Maintenance – Implement scheduled maintenance plans for HVAC systems, plumbing systems, fire sprinkler systems, sump pump systems, and roofing systems.
- Water Damage Mitigation Devices – Install automatic condensate backup shutoff systems for air conditioning systems. Install individual appliance shutoff systems on washing machines, hot water heaters, and dishwashers. Install centrally monitored water sensors at water points in the house to send an alert if anything leaks or overflows.
- Best Protection – Install a whole-house shutoff which acts as a 24/7 security guard for the home’s domestic water supply. It can sense a leak anywhere in the house, including pipes, fixtures, and appliances, and shut the water off before major damage occurs. Many devices now have apps that notify homeowners of issues such as freezing temperatures or unusual water use.
- During subfreezing temperatures set heat at 65 degrees or more – Homes should be checked during subfreezing temperatures.Vacant homes should be checked twice a day. Bathrooms are most susceptible to freezing, so allow a slow drip of water when away from the home.
- Install a basement sump pump – Make sure it has a backup power supply.
- Install a permanent backup electrical generator – This is to ensure power to critical systems such as the furnace, alarm system, and sump pump.
Water Damage Will Impact the Ability to Buy Insurance
Some insurance carriers are not renewing homes with multiple water losses, or are requiring the installation of water mitigation devices. With luxury home claim costs increasing due to loss frequency and costs of materials. As well as growing health concerns due to mold. Insurance carriers need to partner with agents and clients to raise awareness of water damage risk. Consult with your insurance agent to devise the most effective strategy when it comes to water damage and mitigation capabilities for the home.