The #1 Cause of Water Damage In The Home Is…

corroded pipeThere are statistics for everything these days and home water leaks are no exception. The Insurance Institute For Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has surveyed residential water damage claims across the nation as well as the amounts paid by major homeowner’s insurance companies. Based on the type of claim and payout, the IBHS has compiled solid data about the most frequent causes of home water leaks.

Far and away, the number one cause of home water damage is a ruptured water supply line. Pipe ruptures generate homeowner’s insurance claims at a rate 48% greater than the second most common cause. (What’s number 2? Toilet failures.) The payouts are equivalently large, as well. The average claim for damage from a ruptured supply line is just over $5,000. A breakdown of the main causes of broken pipes reveals that 65% were triggered by failure of the pipe material itself while 18% were ruptures due to freezing.

Here are some recommendations targeted to prevent major damage from home water leaks due to broken supply lines:

  • If the house incorporates older galvanized steel water supply lines, this pipe material is very vulnerable to rust and corrosion that may trigger a major pipe rupture. Some insurers will not insure a home with galvanized plumbing, others will offer coverage only at a substantially higher rate. To avoid expensive water damage, homeowners are advised to re-pipe the house with copper piping or a synthetic alternative.
  • Be alert to signs of an impending pipe rupture. No leaks or seepage from water supply lines, including tiny pinholes, are acceptable. These can be early warnings of a damaging pipe rupture that could happen at any time. Other signs of supply line deterioration include unexplained water bill increases, rusty water from taps and mysterious moisture stains on walls or floors.
  • During winter in a freezing climate, take steps to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Know where and how to turn off the main water supply to the house in event of a pipe rupture.


Tags: , ,

Return to the Blog Home Page