TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2016
Most claims due to water damage can be avoided through proper maintenance and being proactive to potential problems. Charleston homeowners know all too well that their home can be substantially damaged by flooding. It's important to note that flood damage is excluded from homeowners insurance policies. Triest Agency offers flood insurance policies to protect your home and contents from flood damage. But this discussion will not be about flood damage since that's something that is extremely difficult to mitigate. Instead I want to mention what we at Triest Agency consider the 5 top causes of water damage claims to our Charleston homeowners.
Drum roll please...
1. Plumbing - Any home over 15 years old can be one second from a dramatic water claim. The fittings under your sinks; the toilets; the showers. the bathtubs, the laundry equipment and you get it, these are all sources of water damage insurance claims. The plumbing system in your home should be inspected by a licensed plumber and any problems should be corrected right away. If your home as any polybutene piping then that needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
2. Roof - How old is your Charleston home? Has the insurance company inspected your roof? Have you had a professional roofer inspect the roof? The roof may actually look sound and you may not see any leaks but that could a disguise. My home was only 10 years old when I found a small stain on the ceiling in our bedroom. I thought at first that this was a simple problem and maybe a shingle was bad. Instead after the roofer came, we found that the plywood under the shingles and some of the trusses of the house were rotted from water damage. Apparently the water just hadn't made it to the ceiling and after a considerable amount of time the roof was rotting out. What I thought was a simple $100 fix ended up costing over $6000. An annual roof inspection would have saved me thousands of dollars.
3. Water heaters - This is probably the leading cause of routine water damage insurance claims at Triest Agency. And I have to say that if your water heater is in the attic or above the first flood, you should have it inspected often. You should also check to see if it has a drain pan and that the pan has a drain line outside. I've seen way too many homes where the water heater is in the attic and there is no drain pan. Guess where the water goes when the water heater goes bad? They only last 10 years so have a licensed plumber inspect the unit and add a drain pan with a drain. Even water heaters that are only 5 years old can leak.
4. Washing machine - There are hoses to use for your washing machine and there are hoses to use for your washing machine. If the hose looks like a cheap hose that you would use outside to water the yard then you need to act fast and replace those hoses. For a couple of dollars extra you can save yourself tremendous aggravation by replacing cheap inferior hoses with ones that are protected by a metal mesh. Insurance claims from broken hoses are common and water coming from one of these hoses will quickly cause substantial damage.
5. Ice-maker - The hose in the back of your refrigerator to the ice-maker could be leaking for years before you notice a problem. The leak can cause rot that can be expensive to repair. We like to suggest that you put a water leak sensor on the flood behind the refrigerator. A water leak sensor will alert you if there is a leak by emitting a loud tone. These are inexpensive and it would be prudent to put one under each sink and behind the washing machine.
A licensed Charleston plumber is your best friend to inspect most of these and a licensed Charleston roofer for the roof. Spending a nominal amount each year to have these inspected is far less than you'll have to pay if there is a covered claim. Many times when a new homeowners insurance policy is sold the insurance company will inspect the outside of the house. Less often and usually for older or very expensive homes they'll do an inside inspection. Clients seem to be disturbed when their home is inspected and even more so if the insurance company requires any corrections or repairs. Instead you should be grateful that the house is being inspected because who wants an insurance claim? Nobody that we know. Regular maintenance and inspections are the key to keeping your home in tip top shape.