Anyone that has had the pleasure of being awaken by the noise of dripping water on your carpet can attest that it is not the best way to begin your day. Maybe you’ve even experienced that “next level” as the ceiling gives way from water weight to form something resembling Lake Erie in your living room. Do not take this post as authoritative on what IS and what IS NOT covered; insurance is controlled at the state level and they have the say on things that may be excluded. That being said, this information may help you save some money and headaches…
One source most people do not think about are ice makers on refrigerators. If you move your fridge to clean you might disturb the existing copper water line or fitting. May we suggest that you replace the “soft” copper line with a braided stainless steel supply line and check occasionally to make sure things are going well?
The dishwasher is very similar to the fridge in that it will usually be fed by a “soft” copper line (usually larger diameter) that is subject to vibration and may fail without notice. It also includes a drain hose that can fail, dumping gallons of water onto your kitchen floor (and hence, anything under it). Don’t run the dishwasher while away from home and replace any lines that appear worn with stainless-steel braided ones.
Luckily most of the air conditioning units in our market do not reside in our attics; nearly all are in our basements or are at floor level with air pushing downward through our homes – keeping the damage from leaks confined to a smaller area. Nearly all units have a secondary drain outlet in case the first one becomes plugged by dirt and other gunk – unfortunately 95% of them are never hooked up. Regular “clean and checks” are your best defense against unexpected A/C issues.
A clothes washer accounts for more than 50% of all water damage insurance claims and the bills can be $4-6K. Ruptured and leaking hoses are the biggest culprit here – look for blisters, bulges, cracks, discoloration, or kinks as sign the hose needs replaced, again with braided stainless steel versions if possible.
Though clothes washers account for more than 50% of the claims, water heaters lead the way in the amount of damage they cause. They hold on average about 400# of water and can fail in numerous ways that a professional may be able to recognize as imminent…bad valves, leaky relief valve, leaking at fittings from electrolysis. In case a small leak happens, a small drip pan under the tank can save you also. 75% of tanks fail within 12 years of install so replace yours every 10 years to avoid issues.
So all of the above are fully covered by insurance, correct? The answer could be NO if the leak is slow and could have been prevented by standard maintenance. The main thing is to take care of issues you find, and if you are not the handyman or woman, hire someone who can professionally determine that your home is being maintained so it will be around a very long time.