Few of us would go without smoke detectors in our homes. After all, fire results in billions of dollars in insurance claims every year. But did you know that water is one of the leading causes of non-weather-related homeowner property damage claims?
In fact, instances of water damage have been rising dramatically and the frequency of pipe bursts has nearly doubled in recent years.
A crack that’s just an eighth of an inch in a pipe can leak 250 gallons of water over the course of a single day, leading to thousands of dollars of damage, massive cleanup headaches, and mold and other issues down the road.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average water damage insurance claim is a staggering $11,695.
With a homeowners policy in place, you’d be covered for plumbing leaks when they’re sudden, accidental, and significant enough that they’re discovered right away. But most homeowners insurance policies exclude damages that occur gradually. So, if that damage from the leaking pipe happened over the course of several weeks or more, it may not be covered.
There is a better way: Installing a water-leak detection device in your home.
These devices can be installed in any building, monitoring the flow of water as it passes through pipes and shutting off the water if it detects a leak.
The market is, forgive the pun, flooded with these devices but there are three main types of water-leak detection devices to consider:
- Point/leak sensors, which detect and monitor moisture or humidity where it doesn’t belong. These are best for under sinks and next to water heaters, washing machines, toilets and the such. When they detect water or low temperatures, they send an alert to your smartphone.
- Flow monitors, which attach to your main plumbing line or water meter and monitor water usage for your entire home. These are easy-to-install devices that can learn your typical water usage patterns over time and notify you if abnormal usage or water flow is detected.
- All-in-one devices, which measure flow, pressure, and temperature, and can both notify you and stop a leak automatically. You can install some over your existing plumbing in minutes. Others require a plumber to install them in your main water supply. While these are pricier than the other options, they’re the best at detecting even the smallest leaks.
Once you’ve installed one of these devices, be sure to let your insurance brokerage know. Some homeowners may be eligible to receive a discount on their home insurance premium for installing these devices, especially the ones that send notifications to your smartphone.
One last note on this: The best way to prevent a water leak is to keep your appliances in good working order and inspect them periodically to make sure there are no issues. Insurance company surveys have found fewer than 20% of homeowners ever check their appliance hoses, heating systems or have their water heater professionally maintained. All of these cost far less than a serious water leak might.
The Mahoney Group, based in Mesa, Ariz., is one of the largest independent insurance and employee benefits brokerages in the U.S. An employee-owned organization, we’ve been providing our clients with the confidence to face whatever lies ahead for more than 100 years. For more information, contact us online or call 877-440-3304.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.