Fire is the danger that most people think of when they consider insurance protection for their home and possessions. But according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), water damage is one of the most common and costly disasters for U. S. residences. It accounts for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters.
Water can damage your home from burst pipes, wind driven rain, sewer and drain back up, or flood. Our homeowners insurance policies generally cover burst pipes and wind driven rain. Sewer/drain back up can be added to your policy and flooding is covered with a separate flood policy.
Today let’s talk about water damage from within your plumbing system. Yes, water damage caused by burst pipes is covered, but a loss is subject to your deductible. And like all losses, even though we’ll pay you to fix the damage, avoiding the hassle of a loss makes your life much easier.
We consulted the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and found some tips on preventing damage from the plumbing systems in your home. Below are very brief summaries of each. We suggest you consult their web pages to find out more. They’re easy to read and offer instant results in helping you avoid disaster.
All of us living here in the Mohawk Valley know that our winters can be tough. That’s why freezing pipes are common and can cause extreme damage.
- Install pipe insulation on all accessible pipes. You can get it at the local hardware store.
- Disconnect hoses from hose bibs and install insulating covers over the hose bibs.
- If the weather gets well below freezing, open doors to base cabinets and closets to let warm air from the house in.
- Let all your faucets drip if you experience extremely cold weather.
One of the top ten sources of water damage to homes is from washing machine failures. The average cost after insurance deductibles? $5,308!
- Look for blisters in the supply hose, worn tugging, stress cracks or a loose connection.
- If the supply hose does show signs of wear, replace it with a reinforced steel braided hose.
- The most common site of failure is near the connection where the hose bends. Tighten that if it feels loose.
- Even with no signs of wear, replace the supply hoses every five years. Deterioration can occur inside the house, invisible to your observation.
- When replacing washing machine hoses, choose reinforced steel braided hose, not traditional unreinforced rubber hose.
The average cost for damage caused by water heater failures after the insurance deductible is $4,444. Most failures result from a slow leak or sudden burst.
- The risk of a leak or burst increases if your heater has reached its life expectancy. If it has, be even more vigilant about inspecting and maintaining it.
- To avoid corrosion of the tank, an anode rod is installed in the heater. Get the anode rod inspected every two years, or annually if the warranty has expired.
- Remove sediment by flushing the tank every six months.
- Get a plumber to inspect the heater’s shut-off valves and piping annually.
So there you have some easy maintenance tips to prevent frozen pipes and for your washing machine and water heater. And remember, if you have any questions about your homeowners insurance policy and what it covers, give us a call. That goes also for you if we don’t have your home insurance policy now. We can talk coverages and offer you a second opinion. We’ll also shop all of our insurance carriers to get you the best price.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.