The order of the most common sources of homeowners’ insurance claims changes often. Wind, hail, lighting, fire, and water damage always make the list, though the type and severity of damage they cause varies. So do the chances that the damage is covered. When it comes to water damage, the range of likely claims may include plumbing and appliance leaks, roof leaks, and rain- and snow-storm damage. Policies often don’t cover water damage that starts on or in the ground around the house like flooding, backed up foot drains, a malfunctioning sump pump, or a leaky foundation. They do often cover plumbing leaks. Of course, the only way to know for sure what’s covered is to read your policy.
At well over $10,000, the average value of water damage claims is not insignificant. When it comes to plumbing leaks, those that are caught quickly may not cause enough damage to warrant an insurance claim, while those that go undetected can result in more severe damage including rot and mold. Moreover, water leaks don’t have to be damaging to be costly. If you pay for water or live in an area where water conservation is important, undetected leaks can be wasteful. So, if you could minimize the damage and cost of a plumbing leak by finding it as soon as it starts, would that be worth $100? How much would you be willing to spend on a device that automatically shut off the water supply when a leak was detected?
When designing and building a house, there are a lot of possibilities for “cheap insurance.” Waterproofing plus a dimple mat on the foundation (in case you finish the basement someday), air-sealing tape and expanding spray foam around windows (the old “belt-and-suspenders” approach), a heat pump and backup electric baseboard heaters…
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