Home Water Damage on the Rise
With home water damage (quite literally) on the rise, the potential for fire is no longer the biggest risk facing average homeowners. It's a water claim. Driving the increases are a number of factors, including aging homes, pipes and valves, and luxury amenities such as second-floor laundry rooms.
Not surprisingly, older homes are at greater risk of plumbing failures. But even new homes can generate water claims, as they often have more appliances with water connections.
Second Floor Laundry Rooms
In addition, more and more homeowners want the convenience of a second floor laundry room. With a traditional basement laundry, if the washing machine leaks or overflows, all it takes is a mop or shop vac to clean up your basement floor. But the potential damage caused by overflow from a second floor laundry can be devastating. Especially if you're away—and the damage goes unnoticed for any period of time (think mold). When you add in factors like ripping open and replacing plaster walls, marble and hardwood floors, and/or electrical, the costs can grow exponentially.
Luxury amenities such as wet bars, chefs kitchens, water filters, and extra bathrooms mean dozens of potential plumbing connection points—increasing the chances of a leak, overflow or backup issue. And while insurers' payouts are growing, it doesn't mean they pay every water claim. For more than 50 years, standard homeowners policies have excluded storm surge and river flooding. A typical homeowner's policy covers "sudden and accidental" damage—not routine maintenance.
So what's the solution? Smart home devices that are designed to detect potential damage. Sometimes referred to as telematics, these devices provide peace of mind by mitigating water (or other) damage to homes and personal property, avoiding the hassle and cost of major repairs—sending immediate alerts to your smart phone if any leak, freeze, or smoke issues are detected back home.
These inexpensive solutions, which can be found at your local home improvement store, online or even through your insurance company, pack a powerful punch. Many insurers offer premium credits for policyholders' use of preventive technologies—smart home devices such as water sensors, frozen pipe sensors, or smoke detectors. These devices are so effective at detecting potential problems and staving off home damage risk that some insurance companies even give them away for free—something we always recommend taking advantage of.
Contact Forest Agency with all of your insurance–related questions.
Dan Browne is the President of Forest Agency Insurance, an independent insurance agency proudly serving Oak Park and the surrounding communities since 1957.