If you think fire is the single largest cause of home property claims, think again. It’s water. While frozen and burst pipes get most of the attention in the news, appliance leaks cause millions of dollars of damage annually.
What’s covered – and what’s not
Water damage caused by an appliance hose or pipe that suddenly splits and sends hundreds of gallons of water cascading through your home may be covered by your homeowners policy, but the mess and damage to your home’s floors and walls (especially if the washer is on the second floor) could take months to repair.
Any mold that results may not be covered by your home policy. Water damage, even if it’s extensive, that is caused by a slow leak is usually considered a maintenance issue and may not be covered by your home policy. Keep ahead of maintenance issues that could cost you a bundle.
Do these things to avoid getting soaked
- Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water main shut-off is. You’ll have a fast way to turn off your home’s water supply if a pipe or hose bursts.
- Check the hose on your washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator (if it has an ice-maker or water dispenser).
- Make sure it’s not jammed against the wall where the pressure can cause the hose to split – a three-inch gap is usually recommended.
- Test the connection – make sure the hose is firmly seated.
- Is the hose dry or brittle? Replace it if it shows signs of stress or cracks; replace it every few years to ensure it stays flexible. One good option is to replace rubber hoses with stainless-steel versions.
- Look beyond your refrigerator’s hose. Make sure the drip tray isn’t cracked. While a slow drip won’t cause a major flood, it could cause sub-flooring to rot. If your drip pan has a lot of water, take a look at the defrost drain hose to make sure it’s not clogged.
- Water heaters are a top cause of home water damage. Carefully inspect yours for signs of corrosion, rust, or failing soldering. Check for water dripping from a pipe or pressure valve, and have your heater inspected by a professional every few years. Consider flushing it annually to remove sediment and mineral buildup that can cause a malfunction.
- Check your toilets regularly – toilet leaks are the second-leading cause of home water damage. The biggest threat comes from loose or worn-out joints in the supply line. Rubber linings can also wear out or become brittle over time, and chemical cleaners can accelerate aging to the flapper and float, contributing to wear.
- Check your water bill. Slow leaks may become apparent when your water bill unexpectedly goes up. If your bill spikes for no apparent reason, start checking your water supply lines.
What to do now
Call us to work with an Electric Insurance Risk Coach™ to help ensure you have the homeowners coverage you need.1 Our Risk Coaches are licensed insurance professionals who are glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Call us at 800.342.5342, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.
Electric Insurance Company Risk Coaches help you assess your current coverages and exposure to risk based on the information you provide during your discussion with them. The services provided are for informational purposes only and do not create a professional or fiduciary relationship. Incomplete information or a change in your circumstances after your meeting may affect coverage requirements or recommendations.
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