A Major, but Under-Appreciated, Risk

Frances O'BrienHiding in your home is an unforeseen – and often overlooked – risk that may cause major stress, disruption and financial loss. The culprit? Water damage.

Regardless of your home’s location, be it on the coast, a flood-prone area or inland, water damage poses an enormous risk to your home and valuables within. In fact, water damage is seven times more likely to occur than a fire and six times more likely than a burglary – and more than half of homeowners who experienced water damage in the past two years reported spending over $5,000 in repair and clean-up costs, with 15% of respondents spending $20,000 or more, according to a Chubb survey.

While many homeowners are often unprepared for a water leak or the resulting damages, there are some quick (simple) steps you can take to mitigate against such risk, including:

  • Replace washing machine hoses every five years
  • Check water heaters older than their five to 10-year expected life for signs of rust, corrosion and moisture
  • If living in an area of cold winter weather, insulate hot and cold water pipes in unheated areas of the home
  • In the late fall, turn off and bleed water lines for sprinklers and outdoor hoses
  • Inspect the roof and check gutters and downspouts. Make sure water is draining away from the home’s foundation
  • Shut off water at second homes when unoccupied

For additional peace-of-mind, take the time to sit down with your agent and broker to discuss your current homeowners policy and ensure your home – and valuables – are covered from water damage-related risks. To learn more, check out my recent ThinkAdvisor column.

Fran O’Brien is Division President, North America Personal Risk Services at Chubb.

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