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Contact:
Karl Newman, President
Darrin Sanger, Communications Director      
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
karl.newman@nwinsurance.org Follow at Twitter.com/karljnewman
darrin.sanger@nwinsurance.org
Follow at Twitter.com/darrinsanger

Regular home maintenance key to preventing water damage, insurance claims

SEATTLE - If your home isn't properly maintained, it could be vulnerable to one of the most costly Homeowners Insurance claims - water damage.

Water running or dripping into your home from the outside can rot drywall and support beams, crack foundation walls and cause mold.

Standard Homeowners policies do not cover water damage unless it is the result of a covered peril such as a broken water pipe, fire or windstorm.

The average water damage claim costs more than $5,700. Water damage accounted for 20.29 percent of all homeowner claims in 2006, according to the most recent available data from the Insurance Information Institute.

Damage from roof leaks, excessive condensation or poor landscaping is excluded from coverage.

"Your Homeowners Insurance policy is there to help you recover from large losses and shouldn't be considered a home maintenance policy," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "It's designed to cover sudden and accidental damage, not damage due to gradual, preventable deterioration. Your insurance company isn't responsible for the maintenance of your home - you are."

The good news is most water-damage losses are easily preventable by taking some simple maintenance steps. NW Insurance Council and the Institute for Business & Home Safety offer these tips to help you prevent future damage and thousands of dollars in repair costs:

  • Inspect your roof. Remove leaves, branches and debris from gutters to prevent water blockage and possible run-off into the home.
  • If you find a leak, clean and dry the exposed area and fix the problem immediately.
  • Routinely inspect ceilings, walls, floors and windowsills for water stains, discoloration and musty odors.
  • Routinely inspect attics, vents, ducts, washer hoses and outside water sources for leaks.
  • Check and replace heating system air filters.
  • Properly ventilate bathrooms and kitchens to prevent a moisture buildup.
  • Use high quality silicone caulk to seal areas where cables or pipes exit walls, such as around clothes dryers, kitchen or bathroom vents and outdoor electrical outlets.
  • Routinely caulk bathtubs, sinks and tile walls and floors to prevent water seepage.
  • To reduce flooding from poor drainage or excessive rainfall, clear drains of debris and make sure your lot's grading directs water away from buildings.

For free brochures, Protect Your Home From Water Damage and Maintenance Guide For Your Home, contact NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or visit www.nwinsurance.org.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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