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How to Avoid Three Common Homeowners’ Insurance Claims

Water damage is one of the most frequently reported types of property damage.   Most household floods and water damage are not caused by storms, but instead stem from plumbing or appliance failures.  The bills for such home disasters can add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars.

In one study, Roto-Rooter, a U.S. plumbing and draining service company, found that only eight percent of residential flooding claims are the result of weather.  Thirty percent are caused by appliance failure, such as a dishwasher leak, and another 62 percent by plumbing failure, such as a hose or pipe bursting.

Although there are exceptions, the general rule for most homeowners’ insurance policies is that only sudden damage and breaks are covered (commonly known as a “covered peril”).  Although, our Miami property damage insurance claim lawyers know that individual policies may differ and could include a broader range of coverage.  Most policies will exclude damage caused by a lack of maintenance.  This clause is designed to encourage homeowners to repair items such as leaky sinks and toilets before they cause significant damage that requires filing a claim.

Here are some easy steps you can take to protect your home and wallet against water damage:


            Dishwasher hoses and lines can spring a leak or blow out, sometimes in the middle of a wash cycle, often flooding a kitchen with gallons of water.  Damages caused by burst hoses will generally be covered, though a deductible will likely apply.  To prevent the problem, never run an appliance if you are not home.  If a pipe does burst, shut off the water supply under the sink to prevent further damage.  Be proactive in maintenance and replace rubber hoses as soon as they show signs of wear.

Washing Machines

            Malfunctioning water hoses and drains result in some of the most common claims filed by homeowners.  A washing machine with a burst hose can discharge up to 500 gallons of water, causing extensive damage to a home.  If a hose does burst, the water damage should be covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy, minus the deductible.

To prevent the problem, inspect hoses frequently and replace any that are over five years old.  Install an automatic shut off valve with an alarm to alert you to any problems.  For the $100 this valve costs, you could prevent serious leaks or floods.

Leaky Toilet

            Any type of toilet leak is a sign of serious trouble.  Cracks in the toilet itself are uncommon unless something hits the tank, but supply lines within the water tank can develop holes.  Generally, in the event of a leaky toilet, all damage caused by the water will be covered but the toilet itself will not.

It is better to replace a leaking toilet than repair it, as it costs about the same amount and will decrease the chance of further leaks.  If the water supply is the problem, replace it with metal braided supply line because it holds up better in the long run.

Greenberg Stone and Urbano:  Obtaining Full Coverage for Your Property Damage

            Sometimes, property damage will occur despite the best of maintenance and care.  If you experience property damage and the insurance company has denied or minimized your claim, the Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano can help.  For over 130 collective years, our dedicated attorneys have assisted clients across South Florida with all manner of homeowners’ insurance issues, earning us an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and recognition as one of South Florida’s top firms by the Miami Herald.  Allow us to put our skill and experience to work for you.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.


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