The two main types of plumbing system failures involve frozen pipes and supply system material failures. In a study, frozen pipes that eventually broke made up nearly 20 percent of plumbing system insurance claims. The study also showed that failure of the pipe system materials was a factor in two out of every three plumbing system claims.
This study showed that the leading cause of residential water loss was plumbing supply system failures. These failures averaged nearly $5,100 per incident in expenses after homeowners paid their deductibles. For the claims in the study, 65 percent were due to material failures. When frozen pipes were to blame instead, the failures were about two times more severe in damages than material failure incidents.
A home's geographic location determines its risk for frozen pipes. For example, a home in Southern California is unlikely to have this problem. However, a home in the upper Midwest is more likely to experience a frozen pipe during the winter months. Homes with pipes that are located in exterior walls or in basements have greater risks of frozen pipes. Exterior hose bib supply lines are the most vulnerable part of a system for freezing.
When sewer drains back up into homes, drain system failure is likely to occur. This is more likely to happen than drain corrosion. The study showed that more than 50 percent of drain system failures happened because of backed-up sewers. Only about 35 percent of failures were attributed to performance problems. Claims from failed drain systems showed that they were among the top five reasons for residential water loss.
Homeowners reported average costs of $4,400 per incident after paying their deductibles. Failures were more common in homes that were under 40 years of age. Almost 70 percent of sewer-related drain claims came from homes with basements. When the basement was finished, the damage was 65 percent worse than it was in homes with basements that were not finished.
This ranks number two on the list of top causes of residential water loss. Clogged drains and faulty fill valves are usually to blame. Almost 80 percent of claims in this category were due to faulty supply lines, assemblies for fill valves, backed-up toilets and flanges. Incidents averaged about $6,000 per claim. New homes were more susceptible to severe damages from sudden failure, which resulted in significant water loss. About 15 percent of toilet failures happened in vacant homes.
When water heater tanks reach their maximum age expectancy, they start corroding and rusting. Most water heater failures happen because of corroded tanks that lead to bursts or leaks. If the tank is flushed and maintained properly, it can last longer. Almost 70 percent of water heater failures happened because of sudden bursts or slow leaks. Incidents averaged about $4,500 per claim in the study. Although supply line claims only accounted for 10 percent of all claims, they cost homeowners about 60 percent more than other types of water heater failure claims. In about 95 percent of claims, the hot water heater was 20 years old or less.
Washing Machine Failure
This type of failure is usually caused by supply hose failure, drain line failure or overflow. The study showed that the average cost per incident was about $5,300. Hose failure was to blame in about 50 percent of claims. Of those claims, nearly 80 percent involved machines that were under 11 years of age. More than 5 percent of failures took place in unoccupied homes, and the failures in those vacant homes led to damages that cost more than two times as much as the failures that happened in occupied homes.
According to the study, damages in many categories were more costly in the southern regions than they were in northern regions of the United States. It is important for homeowners everywhere to know their risks and minimize them. To learn more about common types of claims and how to avoid them, discuss concerns with an agent.
March 08, 2017
by Melanie Stout