Common Causes and Signs of Water Damage
Severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind for many when thinking of water damage. It’s true that storms and flooding can cause catastrophic water damage, but they are often not the main culprits. Various items in your home can be the culprits responsible for many water damage situations.
Understanding Water Damage
Many homeowners will face water damage. Water damage was the third most common reason for homeowners insurance claims between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.
Insurance claims are impacted by the type of water damage. Gradual damage, for example, is often not covered by insurance. Gradual damage is something that has been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, many aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.
Common Water Damage Culprits
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), lists the leading causes of water damage as outlined below:
Plumbing drain system failures. These can occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home or from material performance issues. In their study, IBHS determined that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. It was also discovered that the average costs incurred due to drain system failure were higher in southern states than in other areas of the country.
Plumbing supply system failures. Frozen pipes can burst due to water pressure buildup caused by freezing water or when the supply system material fails and results in a leaking or burst pipe. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses, costing an average of $5,092 per claim after the deductible. Homes with ages of 16 to 40 years made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims.
Toilet failures. Toilets are the second highest cause of residential water damage loss after plumbing supply system failures and result from faulty fill valves to clogged drain lines. Surprisingly, according to IBHS, toilet failures on the first floor of a home resulted in more extensive claims than those in basements or upper floors.
Water heater failures. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy, expect that the tank will begin to rust and corrode, resulting in leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures were a result of a slow leak or sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident after the deductible has been paid.
Washing machine failures. Typically washing machine failures are caused by supply hose failures, machine overflows and drain line failures. Washing machines are one of the top 10 sources of residential water damage losses. Per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related