Water damage is the leading cause of property-related losses for homeowners, according to Chubb claims data. A recent Travelers report revealed similar findings. After analyzing eight years of claims data, the insurer found that 20% of homeowners claims were attributable to non-weather water issues including plumbing, sewer or appliance leaks and failures – making non-weather water losses the second most common homeowners claim, after wind.
Meanwhile, 11% of homeowners claims were caused by weather-related water. And beyond just contributing to the frequency of claims, water is also the culprit in many devastating losses. Travelers reports that non-weather water and weather-related water accounted for 17% and 7% of the most expensive homeowners claims in 2009-2016, respectively. Since 2015, water losses exceeding $500,000 have doubled, while those exceeding $1 million have tripled according to Chubb.
Regarding weather-related water losses, Chubb reports that nearly half of homeowners believe weather reporting is “regularly” or “frequenly” exaggerated, and 36% believe it’s “sometimes” exaggerated.
Furthermore, between summer 2017-2018, which encompassed one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, Chubb reports that 64% of homeowners did not change their home protection strategies.
But people are still at risk from hurricanes even if they don’t live near the coast. 33% of Chubb’s Hurricane Harvey and 31% of Chubb’s Hurricane Irma claims were, respectively, 25-50 miles from the shoreline. Hurricane or not, flood remains the number one disaster in the U.S. says Ana Robic, COO, Chubb Personal Risk Services.
“A lot of people think, ‘This is never going to happen to me-this is only a problem in X location,'” says Tanya Brown-Giammanco, lead researcher on the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Investigation Report. “But most locations in the U.S. are prone to some kind of disaster.”
Non-weather water can also be more devastating than many homeowners realize. “Once someone has a water loss, they’re definitely more aware of it for the next time,” says Angi Orbann, vice president of Product Personal Insurance at Travelers. “But other than that, people typically aren’t thinking about those types of water losses.” Whether it’s a leaky pipe or a problem with the connection between the refrigerator and the icemaker, “as supply lines and materials age, they can break down,” Orbann points out. “And if a homeowner is away and doesn’t notice a leak immediately, the damage can be quite severe. Think about a two-story home where there’s a bathroom on the second story. If that hose line goes, it’s easy for it to be running down to the downstairs and possibly the basement for eight hours or longer if you’re away for a weekend. Those claims tend to be very disruptive.”
Article By: Jacquelyn Connelly
Source: IA Magazine