In deep water with water losses
Most people tend to think of fire protection or roof replacement from storms when they consider their home insurance and what it covers them. But according to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a water damage or freezing claim is nearly as likely as a wind or hail claim.1 Water losses are also over seven times more likely than fire and lightning losses.
Across the industry, more than 2.5 million homeowners experience a water loss each year. And as your Atlanta independent insurance agent, we can attest to this right here within our office. A recent rundown of our clients’ claims from the past year revealed that about half were in fact water losses. Some cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the most frustrating part is that many of them could have been prevented…
Causes of water losses
Plumbing failure is the #1 cause of non-weather related losses and can occur from supply lines, toilets, hoses, joints/valves, and pipe bursts. Homes just are not built like they used to be and the average age of a home at its first plumbing failure is 8 years.
Another contributor to water losses is appliance failure – from water heaters, ice makers, sump pumps, washing machines, and dishwashers. It depends on the hardness of the water at your house, but most water heaters only last an average of 10-15 years.
Keep your head above water with these water leak detection systems
Besides simply selling insurance, it is part of our agency philosophy to educate our clients on how to prevent losses before they even occur. The most fool-proof way you can prevent a water loss is to install a water leak detection and/or a water shutoff system in your home. Many of our carriers provide discounts for these as well! There are three levels of protection:
Basic protection – local alarms
Also known as “water sensors” or “water bugs”, these sensors are designed to sound when water touches them. Typically self-installed, they sit on the floor near appliances such as your water heater, washing machines, etc.
The general consensus: while these are the cheapest option and don’t require a plumber to install them, they are not always reliable and do not shut off the water. You’re doing better than most if you have them, but a higher level of protection is advised.
Moderate protection – local alarms that use WIFI to alert your phone of leaks
These sensors do more than just sound at the source like the local alarms. They alert your phone so that you can go to turn off the water yourself or have your spouse at home do it.
The general consensus: still better than nothing and a cheap/easy way to have some level of protection when you are away from your house but may not work properly if WIFI signal is weak.
Maximum protection – whole-house shutoff system
These systems are installed in your main water supply to protect your entire house and stop the flow automatically if a leak is detected. It can also be integrated into your smart home or security system to prevent water losses while you are away.
The general consensus: this is our recommended option and the good news they become much more affordable in recent years! The reality is just knowing you have a leak does not help unless it is shut down immediately which is what you get with these systems. As your Atlanta independent insurance agent, we have partnerships with our insurance companies to provide you discounts on the installation of these systems so ask us for recommendations!
A final word to the wise
At the very least, please know where the water main shutoff is located and educate your family on how to shut it off. This is the #1 skill a homeowner can have to stop a leak ASAP. If you have any questions, as always, please reach out to us!
- Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance. (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance).
- Photo credit of: http://www.noworriesremovals.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Protect-your-Furniture-in-Flood.