Has Spring Sprung a Leak in Your Basement? State Farm Lists the Top States for Water-Related Claims

PR Newswire

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., April 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Water is a vital part of the seasonal transformation from the frozen ground of winter to the green lawns of spring but it can just as easily destroy homes and belongings. Water losses are rising even though many of these accidents are preventable. Visit learningcenter.statefarm.com/residence/maintenance/wet-basement-problems/ to learn how you can prevent water from damaging your home.

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Has Spring Sprung a Leak in Your Basement? State Farm provides tips to reduce water damage.

In 2013, State Farm Insurance paid more than $1.3 billion for more than 175,000 water loss claims as a result of burst frozen pipes, flooded basements, and broken appliance hoses. The top 10 states with the most water-related State Farm claims in 2013 were: 

  1. Texas                21,700 claims
  2. California          17,900 claims
  3. Georgia             10,200 claims
  4. Pennsylvania     9,100 claims
  5. New York           8,700 claims
  6. Illinois                 8,100 claims
  7. Arizona               5,900 claims
  8. Florida                5,800 claims
  9. Michigan            5,400 claims
  10. Tennessee         4,400 claims

Understanding what your insurance policy covers will help keep your head above water when there is a water loss. Reviewing your insurance policy annually with your agent can help you as the homeowner make an informed decision about adding coverage to your homeowner policy. Homeowner policies do not cover flood losses.  Back-up of sewer or drain endorsement is an additional endorsement that may be purchased for covered accidental direct physical loss caused by water or sewage that enters through a sewer or drain that is located inside the interior of the home or building. It also provides coverage if water enters and overflows a sump pump well that is located inside the interior of the dwelling. The Insurance Information Institute offers general information on the cause and ways to prevent sewer backup at www.iii.org/articles/sewer-backup.

Maintenance of your home is vital when it comes to preventing water damage. Preventive maintenance can be cheaper and easier than tearing out and replacing the floor and subfloor because of an undetected leak from a toilet or pipe.

Suggestions for Regular Home Maintenance to Help Reduce Water Damage

  • Regular cleaning of your home's interior helps you spot trouble early. Pull out everything under sinks monthly and check for moisture all the way back to the wall.
  • Check water lines to ice makers, disposals, dishwashers and other appliances that use water. Be sure not to kink or puncture water lines if the appliance is moved.
  • Check the sump pump at least once per month as the metal pole on pedestal pumps can corrode, plus the float and intake can become stuck or clogged. Use batteries or a generator if you lose your electric power often during storms.

Suggestions for Seasonal Home Maintenance to Help Reduce Water Damage

  • Check your drains and gutters every few months. Water can seep into your home if leaves and debris block gutters and drain pipes.
  • Gutters and downspouts should extend far enough away from the foundation to carry water away from the dwelling. The ground should slope away from your home, garage and outbuildings.
  • Inspect your roof yearly. Make sure you don't have any loose shingles and that the edging is down nice and tight.
  • Inspect window frames and look around windows and doors for gaps between the sills where caulk needs replacing. Act quickly to replace, prime/paint and caulk any damaged wood.
  • Replace appliance hoses with a tougher hose that's covered in flexible, braided steel.
  • Consider having a water leak detection system installed. Water leak detection systems connect a water-sensitive probe to an electronic alarm that signals a water leak.

Sometimes water still gets in. If you have a finished basement, be aware of the dollars you have at stake if a sewer or drain loss occurs. To ensure that your belongings aren't damaged, items stored in basement areas should be shelved or kept off the floor. Furniture should be on casters or shims and arranged away from floor drains. Don't let water losses sink you. Remember that water will go where it wants, when it wants, so take care of problems immediately.

About State Farm
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com or in Canada www.statefarm.ca.

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