What’s the difference between $1,000 and $20,000 in water damage? Time. If you experience a water leak, even a minor one, while you are out of town or while your second home is vacant, the water damage can be severe even in just a week’s time. We’ve partnered with Chubb Insurance to bring you some insight as to how suddenly a minor leak can waterlog your home along with some preventative measures you can take to protect your property and establish peace of mind.

Let’s say a family leaves their home for a week-long vacation. They would typically:

  • Bolt the doors
  • Arm their security system
  • Lock their windows
  • Leave on a light or two

While our imaginary family has taken these preventative measures, they’re still not fully protected. Here’s what could happen in the event of a leak.

Water damage makes up nearly half of all property damage—about 45 percent. Only one in five (about 19 percent) of homeowners view internal water damage as the top risk to their home while on vacation. 91 percent of home owners say they are “vigilant” or “do an ok job” at preventative home maintenance but just 22 percent of people shut off the water main before heading out of town.

A small but steady drip can cause a large amount of damage. Let’s say an icemaker were to sever—that could end up leaking three gallons per minute. If a small leak like this were to happen, inundation would begin on day one. Undetected, that leak could spill 2,520 gallons in a single day—enough to fill 50 bathtubs. Full restoration of the home is still likely, although, less than 20 percent of homeowners have installed a water leak detection device.

By day three, damage would be mounting and the window for home restoration would be closing. Base cabinets would be unrestorable, water would wick up the wall about 18 inches and carpets and rugs would begin to smell.

On day six secondary damage would take hold. Electrical components would require inspection and adjacent rooms not affected in the original loss would be impacted. 17,000 gallons of water would run under doors and framing—enough to fill a swimming pool. This is the start of major water logging. Of those who have experienced water damage in the past two years, 15 percent paid $20,000 or more in clean up and repair costs.

By day eight, our imaginary home would have reached the “regulated, hazardous materials and mold” category. Drywall ceilings and walls would show mold growth, and door and window frames would swell. The HVAC system would spread mold throughout the house. Our imaginary family would need to hire an indoor environmental professional for clearance.

63 percent of homeowners cite the possibility of an extended relocation, about one month to a year, as their first or second most pressing water damage-related concern, which would be a likely outcome once this level of damage is achieved.

Protect Your Property
Before leaving your home vacant, here a few steps you should take to proactively protect your home against waterlogging:

  • Turn off the water main
  • Drain pipes
  • Check all appliance hoses
  • Inspect the sump pump
  • Clear gutters of debris
  • Ask a friend to keep an eye on the house
  • Install a water leak detection device

When you leave your home vacant, it is pertinent to take preventative measures against a leak or waterlogging. Still, no matter how prepared you are, accidents can happen. Connect with a Penny Insurance agent today to learn how you can protect your properties against water damage. Your peace of mind is our priority.