As a homeowner, you've probably heard that water damage is a leading cause of big ticket home repairs. Water in the wrong place can damage property, spread mold and mildew, and invite less-than-welcome guests like termites.
Of course it makes sense to be concerned first about natural disasters. Worsening weather patterns have delivered record flooding, hurricanes and storms in recent years.
But sometimes a fridge failure hits closer to home.
Let's say you bought a new refrigerator 4 years ago but never got around to inspecting or replacing the water filter in your ice maker. You decide to go out of town, and the now-quite-clogged filter springs a leak. While you're gone, water continues flowing into it from the water line. You come back from vacay to find trashed tiles, warped hardwood floors and ... okay, go check your ice maker now. We'll wait.
ASK YOURSELF, "WHERE AM I INVITING WATER IN?"
Bottom line: You can avoid costly consequences you may not have even thought about by keeping a close watch on anything inside your house that relies on H2O. Then follow these procedures:
Inspect appliance hoses and faucets. You should replace all of these every 5 to 7 years. In the meantime, change out anything you find that has cracks and leaks.
Replace your water filters at least every 6 months.
Inspect showers, tubs and toilets. Check the seals to make sure they’re airtight – and reseal if needed.
Know where your main water shut-off valve is so you'll be able to turn off your water supply quickly in an emergency.
Shut off your water if you’re leaving your house for an extended time. And even if you’re leaving for a short while, don't leave your washing machine running.
Avoid bursting water pipes from sub-freezing temps by keeping a tiny stream of water running at night.
Regularly check your plumbing and heating pipes. Some damages happen out of sight, so watch for telltale signs of leaks like a wet spot on a floor or ceiling … or an abnormally high water bill. Keep in mind that leaking water is sneaky: it can travel along a support beam and do damage anywhere, including spreading mold. You might end up tearing up a lot of dry wall if you don't catch a leak fast.
OKAY, BACK TO THOSE RECORD STORMS.
Of course you should also prepare for those times when nature arrives without an invitation. That means you'll want to:
Check your basement floor and walls for cracks and reseal if necessary if you notice seepage (or worse) after a storm.
If you have a sump pump, regularly inspect and maintain it.
Make sure rain water drains away from your house by keeping your gutters and downspouts clear, adding extensions to your downspouts if needed, and ensuring that the ground around your foundation slopes downward (ideally, 6 inches over the first 10 feet).
Caulk and seal your windows to keep rain from seeping in.
Regularly inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. If any shingles have begun to lift, that gives water a straight shot in.
DID WE MENTION THE RIGHT INSURANCE?
It's impossible to prevent every soggy scenario. That's why you'll want to know you can handle the costs when the unexpected happens.
Homeowners insurance covers most of the damages we've discussed as long as you're not clearly at fault through a longtime pattern of neglect ... such as ignoring those spots on the ceiling. That's another reason it's so important to keep up with your preventive measures. (Or, as we call them at insurance parties, "mitigation.")
Sewer and drain backup coverage often won't be covered by Homeowners insurance but can usually be added as a separate rider.
Flood insurance is a separate policy that some carriers offer – but which generally needs to be purchased from the federal government's Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you live in an area that's prone to flooding.
Are you shopping for top-rated Homeowners insurance that will keep more of your money from leaking away? Just call a friendly licensed Mylo agent. Or look around our site to learn more about Mylo and get a quick quote. We look forward to helping you out, even if you just want advice.
Thanks to the Insurance Information Institute for all the great info.