Friday, February 6, 2015

Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Homeownership comes with plenty of challenges. Insure the Lake is here to help you decrease the number of things you need to worry about. Keeping on top of potential water problems can end up saving you buckets of money! Regular home maintenance can help you uncover these problems before they start. Take a moment to learn these easy ways to prevent small leaks from turning into major disasters from

Become a Drip Detective

Don't be fooled into thinking a minor leak is a minor problem. Even the smallest leaks can lead to costly water bills and result in major damage.

1. Turn Off the main water valve and then check the water meter outside of your home. If it is still moving, water is flowing somewhere and you need to investigate it. The average household's leaks can waste 10,000 gallons of water every year.

2. Check your water bill. A bigger water bill most likely means you have a leak. The average cost of claims due to water damage or freezing is $7,039. Water damage is the second-most frequently filed homeowner insurance claim.

3. Inspect your washer, dishwasher and other water-related appliances for worn or damaged hoses at least once a year.

4. Look all around the house. Water can get in from damaged roofs, seep in through wet foundations and appear where you least expect it. Don't forget about the outdoor irrigation systems too! An irrigation system leak no larger than the thickness of a dime can waste 6,300 gallons of water each month.

5. Understand where water damage can begin. The leading cause of water damage in the home is leaks and bursts. The most common reasons for these incidents are wear and tear over time, or that the water pressure is set too high, putting stress on the household plumbing.

What to Do After a Leak or Flood 

Think about it...there's water everywhere, in your walls, under your carpets and soaking into your belongings. Whether it was a burst pipe, a broken water heater or a flood that caused the excess water in your home, there are things you can do immediately to salvage belongings and limit the damage or loss.

1. Stop the Water - If water is coming from inside your home, shut off the main water valve immediately. It is a good idea to make sure everyone in your household knows where the shutoff valve is located before an event like this occurs.

2. Turn Off the Utilites - In a serious water event, turning off the power and natural gas might be a necessity to ensure the safety of yourself and the rest of your household. In the case of a minor water leak or drip, there probably is not a need to shut off the utilites.

3. Prevent Electrocution - Do not use any electrical appliances if your capter or flooring is wet. use a wet vacuum to remove water, but check the manufacturer's instructions before attempting the process.

4. Use Fans to Circulate Air - Encourage drying by strategically placing fans to effectively circulate air. This is especially important in the first 24-48 hours after an indoor flood occurs.

5. Get Water Out Quickly - Fast and safe action can prevent further damage, help you save your belongings and minimize the time and expense of repairs. Clean up as much water as possible by mopping or blotting with towels.

6. Move Property to a Dry Place - Move wet belongings and furniture to a dry area. Put furniture on blocks or at least slide a piece of aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent the wood stain from bleeding into carpeting.

7. Remove Area Rugs - The dyes in carpets can stain flooring, carpeting and wood floors.

8. Do Not Lift Carpet - Carpets can shrink after they've become wet and are left out to dry. If you remove the tacks from wet wall-to-wall carpet, it will probably shrink after it dries out.

9. Wash Your Clothes - Clean your clothing, linens and other washables that have been soaked as soon as possible.

10. Wipe Excess Water from Furniture - Open drawers and cabinet doors to allow for faster drying. Spread out books to speed drying and prevent further damage.

11. Watch Out for Debris and Pests - If water is flowing in your house, there may be dislodged materials such as nails. If the flooding has occured naturally from water outside your home, snakes and other vermin may see shelter in your home, so beware!

12. File a Claim ASAP - The sooner you file a claim with your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent, the better! We can help you get your home and life back to normal faster.

13. Don't Throw Anything Out - Don't throw out damaged belongings, especially expensive ones. A claims adjuster may need to inspect them. Make a thorough list of stuff that was water damaged as soon as you can. This will help your Lake of the Ozarks insurance company process your claim faster. It also helps if you document damage with photos and video.

14. Save Receipts - Save all your receipts from any rental equipment, temporary repairs or payments for professional services in realtion to the water damage you experienced.

Are You Covered? 

Talk to your insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks about water damage to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. You can do everything listed above to help prevent water damage to your home, but sometimes avoiding it completely just isn't possible. There are two types of policies that cover losses due to water damage: homeowners insurance and flood insurance. Each type of insurance provides distinct types of coverage; they compliment eachother. Most homeowner policies cover damage to your home caused by a sudden, accidental water event, such as a burst pipe, wind-driven rain or melting snow that seeps into your home after a winter storm. Poor home maintenance is generally not covered; things such as overfilled gutters, lack of roof upkeep, condensation buildup due to inadequate ventilation or ignored leaks. Flood damage however, is not covered under your homeowner policy, but it could be with a separate flood insurance policy.

Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks homeowners insurance needs! 

About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC

3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral

T: 573-348-2794
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