I try to pay a lot of attention to what the average Nashville homeowner and renter doesn’t know about their home, or their insurance coverage. If I grasp that, I can help share information, and get my clients better prepared, and protected.
So the new Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey from Chubb caught my eye. If you’re a Nashville homeowner, I’d point toward its findings for two main reasons:
It underlined a dramatic rise in water damage for homeowners, and a dramatic lack of education and preventative measures.
Since I know digging into a detailed insurance study can be a little tedious, here are a few fast facts that stuck with me:
TL;DR? Let me break it down:
Leaks are a very big, very expensive, increasingly common problem for homeowners, and way too few of us know that, know why, and take steps to prevent them.
Preventing water damage
It doesn’t help much to share damage/risk statistics without sharing ways to prevent those problems, so here are a few things to know, and do:
The most effective way to prevent a surprise leak: regular inspections and maintenance.
The general recommendations: Inspect your plumbing supply lines and drain systems every year. Inspect your appliances (things like refrigerator ice maker and washing machine supply line hoses, your water heater’s anode rod) at least annually. Check your water shut-off valves regularly. Check for leaks under your sinks every six months, and don’t forget to check the outside spigots too.
By and large, it’s recommended that you replace hoses on appliances like washing machines and dishwashers every five years.
If you’re DIY-inclined, the EPA has a whole rundown of how to inspect for leaks yourself, everything from shower heads to toilets.You can always pony up and schedule a pro, too. (Oddly enough, it was the homeowners with the means to hire the job out that were the worst when it came to inspections — middle-class homeowners were almost twice as likely to take care of it as high-net-worth homeowners.)
A more high-tech option: install a leak detection device.
There are a ton of these on the market with varying functions; most, like this well-rated Honeywell gadget, have water, temperature and humidity sensors and can alert you to issues, either through an audible alarm or a smartphone alert.
Some, like this leakSMART device, can even shut off your main water supply automatically, and notify you of a leak, within five seconds.
One more simple thing: If you leave town, shut off your water main.
The Chubb survey showed that, while leaks happen all the time during homeowners’ vacations, very few (just over 20 percent) remembered to nix the water before they left. Time is of the essence in the water-damage game, so skipping that step can be costly.
From the survey: “The time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage.”
Beyond preventative measures, I can help on the protection front. If you’re not sure what your home insurance policy does and doesn’t cover — or you’re worried you don’t have enough coverage — I’d be more than happy to go over it with you, or shop for new, more thorough policies.
Any other home insurance questions? Just reach out.