Canadian Underwriter

Most U.S. homeowners not shutting off water main before travelling: Chubb

August 21, 2017   by Staff

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 Water damage is more likely to cause property damage than fire or theft yet close to 80% of homeowners in the U.S. don’t prepare for potential water damage before leaving their home for vacation.

Chubb’s Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey finds that only 19% of U.S. homeowners believe water damage is the most concerning home threat, even though it is the most likely source of property damage. The frequency of sudden pipe bursts has nearly doubled in the past decade, says the insurer, and in 2015, water damage accounted for nearly half of all American property damage.

“The time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage. As a result, leaks that occur while you’re away result in greater amounts of damage, in terms of both cost and severity,” says Fran O’Brien, the division president of Chubb’s personal risk services for North America, in a statement.

August is the month when the highest number of water damage events occur, a fact of which only 8% of respondents were aware. And only 22% of respondents shut off the water main before leaving on a summer vacation. Although summer vacationers are particularly vulnerable to water damage, homeowners face year-round leakage threats.

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Close to half (45%) of respondents have had or know someone who has experienced a water leak in the past two years, but only 18% have installed a water leak detection device. “Internal water leaks are a leading cause of property damage. With 57% of homeowners who have experienced a water leak claim in the past two years spending $5,000 or more on clean up and repair costs—and 15% spending $20,000 or more—many are overlooking their exposure at a significant cost,” says O’Brien.

If homeowners don’t have a leak detection device, she recommends that that homeowners add shutting off the water main to their checklist of tasks to complete before leaving home for vacation.

Chubb’s Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey was conducted in the U.S. by ResearchNow between July 24 and July 29. The results are based on 1,202 completed surveys.

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.