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If you think about water damaging your home, you might conjure up an image of a hurricane, torrential rain or another natural catastrophe.  The unfortunate reality is that damage that is caused when ordinary household appliances fail can be just as destructive as an extreme weather event.

According to the Insurance Industry Institute, water damage accounts for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters policies each year.  It is also responsible for about 25 percent of all property insurance claims. In fact, Travelers Claim data suggests that water is ten times more likely to damage your home than a fire. 

There are steps that you can take to help prevent water damage from appliances and protect your home.  It is helpful to understand some of the common causes of water damage, which include leaky baseboard heating, air conditioning condensation drains, failed water heaters, washing machine hoses, and plumbing.

These household appliances do not always offer warning signs until the damage has already occurred.  That is why it is important to check them regularly.  The simple steps below can help you protect your home from the most common causes of water damage:

  • First, know where the main water supply is located, in case of emergency.
  • If you will be away from home for an extended period, shut off the water supply and drain the pipes. 
  • Consider having your air conditioning system inspected regularly by a professional.  Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged. 
  • Inspect water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, and dishwashers annually. Have repairs made if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion.  When possible, install water heaters in areas with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
  • Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilet bases.
  • If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, the hose between the wall and the refrigerator should be made of braided copper, which has greater cracking and corrosion resistance.
  • Check pipes for cracks and leaks.  Have pipe damage fixed immediately to prevent more costly repairs in the future.
  • Check appliance hoses and plumbing fittings for breakage, crimping or bending.

It is very important for you to know and understand what coverages your policy provides!