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In an earlier posting, Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers noted that the majority of homeowner’s insurance claims are due to water leaks. While water leaks might seem less devastating than fires, even a small leak can cause major damage to your home. Between the mold, mildew, water stains, waterlogged drywall and other destruction, a water leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
We have already discussed what types of insurance will cover claims for damage caused by water leaks, but what do you do in the immediate aftermath of a burst pipe or water hose? Below are six essential steps to help you minimize damage and reduce the risk of personal injury after a water leak.
- Turn off your water. As soon as you notice the leak, turn off the main water valve. All members of your household should know where the main valve is and how to turn it off.
- Turn off utilities. If the leak is substantial, turn off the electricity and natural gas that might be in contact with or within close proximity of the water. Additionally, because of the risk of electrocution, do not use any electrical appliances near the leak.
- Mop up excess water quickly. Letting water sit can cause further damage.
- Move and clean clothes and rugs. Wet/damp fabrics can easily grow mildew. Be sure to wash and clean them as quickly as possible. Additionally, the dye in wet rugs can stain wood and linoleum.
- File your insurance claim as quickly as possible. The sooner you file the claim, the sooner you can make repairs.
- Document all items that have been damaged. Do not throw away any expensive items, and be sure to photograph or videotape all damaged areas and items after the leak. This will help the insurer determine the amount of your claim.
If you have any questions about water damage readiness in your home, do not hesitate to call TMIB at 310-828-9662.
This segment of “Did You Know” tackles a gross but common problem: a backed up sewer. An overflowing toilet can be one of the most maddening calamities you face as a homeowner. The sudden deluge of filthy water flooding your home can be perplexing, overwhelming, and disgusting. This overflow is called a sewer backup, and it can be caused by a variety of malfunctions in your piping, or in your residential sewage system. Below, TMIB has included a list of some of the most common causes of sewer backup, and how to help prevent a back up from occurring.
- Solid items blocking the drain: The most common cause of sewage backup is solid items accidentally or intentionally flushed down the toilet or forced down a kitchen sink.
- How do you deal with this?
- Don’t put any solids down the toilet or sink that are not supposed to be there. As a general rule, the only paper product you should flush down the toilet is toilet paper.
- Never pour grease into the sink. Grease can cling to the inside of your pipes and cause backup over time. Instead, allow it to congeal first and then scrape it into a trashcan.
- Tree Root Obstructions: Overgrown tree roots can wreak havoc on your pipes. Roots can grow through pipes, blocking water and debris as the tree grows. They can also crack or break pipes that come in contact with them.
- How do you deal with this risk?
- If you have an old or large tree on your property, you may need to schedule regular checks with a plumber to determine if roots are infiltrating your pipes.
- Before you landscape your yard, we suggest doing research on what types of trees are the most likely to cause invasive root problems. Plant trees at least 10 feet from your sewer lines in order to minimize the risk of root obstruction.
- How do you deal with this risk?
While these simple techniques can minimize your risk of sewer backup, many of the causes of blockages are out of your hands. Some blockages can originate in the city sewer lines, while others are the result of storms inundating the sewer.
Unfortunately, many standard homeowner’s insurance policies DO NOT contain sewer backup coverage. If you are concerned about sewer backup, contact your broker at TMIB. We can recommend a homeowner’s policy that will fit your needs. Please call us at 310-828-9662.