Toilet Failure Is A Leading Cause of Residential and Commercial Water Damage

Leaky plumbing fixtures and burst pipes are common reasons for home and commercial water damage insurance claims every year. Some common issues with toilets can lead to serious water damage, and many plumbing problems are preventable with regular maintenance and a watchful eye. If a toilet is experiencing problems, call a professional immediately. The worst damages happen because a person does not call a professional, and water damage that may not be visible on the surface continues to spread and worsen. Follow these recommendations to avoid costly water damage from toilet problems.

Toilet Failure
Most maintenance tasks take care of small problems before they turn into major ones. In a study conducted by IBHS, closed water damage claims were analyzed to determine the leading causes of significant damage claims and the surrounding details. The leading cause was toilet failure, and the average cost of damages for this was about $5,500. This figure did not include required deductibles. More than 30 percent of toilet failures were attributed to clogs or overflowing. 

Reducing Damages
After flushing the toilet, watch the water to ensure that it goes down and also that the valve completely refills the bowl and tank. If it looks like the toilet will overflow, take the tank lid off immediately. Lift the float device upward. This is often a plastic gray or black piece, and it may be located near the handle. Doing this shuts off the water to the tank. Continue to hold it to avoid further clogging. Turn off the supply valve below the toilet until the clog has been cleared. 

Inspect the supply, flush and fill valves twice each year. Also, look at the supply line. Be sure that the supply line can be turned off easily if necessary. For older valves that have screw mechanisms, it may be harder to turn them off. If these are leaking, they should be replaced. It is better to replace them with a simple ball valve, which is easier to turn off quickly.

Another way to prevent water damage under the floor is to keep the toilet caulked around the bottom. Water can seep under the floor from a slow leak, condensation or an overflow. For those who own a condominium, such water damage can spread to a neighbor's ceiling below and cause some costly problems. To learn more about water damage from toilets and other plumbing fixtures, discuss your concerns with an agent

 What Renters Need To Know About Insurance
Since most homeowners are also mortgage holders, they are required to have home insurance. However, most renters are not required to purchase renter's insurance according to the terms of a lease. They face many of the same risks as homeowners. Although renters do not have to pay for the actual structure that is rented, they are responsible for covering their personal belongings that they bring into the structure. Most renters do not purchase insurance because they feel that it is too expensive. Average policies range between $15 and $30 per month. 

In comparison with the cost of replacing expensive belongings, the monthly premium is a good deal. This is especially true since renters have no control over the actions of other renters who may be careless. Fires destroy hundreds of apartment complexes every year. Some renters do not purchase coverage because they own very few valuables. However, insurers encourage renters to tally up the value of even their small-ticket items. Dishes, furniture, clothing and other belongings often total well into the thousands even for renters who do not have expensive possessions. A basic policy will cover the cost of replacing necessities.

One of the biggest misconceptions about insurance is that the landlord's policy will also cover the renter's belongings. This is not true. The landlord's policy only covers the building and certain features like plumbing fixtures, pipes, wiring and other things that a renter will leave behind when moving out. 

How Much Renter's Insurance Is Needed?
The best way to determine how much coverage to choose is to talk to an agent who will collect information about belongings. An agent can suggest how much coverage to buy based on the value of current possessions. An agent will also be glad to explain what certain terms mean. These are some additional issues to consider:

  • Does the insurance plan affect roommates?
  • Does the insurance plan cover all existing hazards?
  • Is any additional coverage needed?
  • How much liability coverage does the plan include?

Renter's Insurance Discount
Some insurance companies offer discounts if there are fire extinguishers, burglar alarms, sprinkler systems or other safety features on the rental property. Also, some insurers may offer discounts if a policyholder has other types of insurance with the carrier. Ask about bundling discounts.

Natural Disasters
Some areas are more prone to flooding or earthquakes. Damages from such disasters are not usually covered under a standard renter's policy. Ask an agent about extra coverage when renting in a high-risk area.

Certain cities require owners of specific types of pets or dog breeds to carry insurance. Owners of these pets may have to pay more for renter's insurance if their pets or pet-related incidents are not covered under the standard provisions.

Temporary Relocation
If something happens to the rental unit that makes it inhabitable for a period of time, renter's insurance covers the cost of living elsewhere temporarily. Some examples of such damages include fires and toxic substances.

Renter's insurance includes personal liability insurance, which covers injuries to others who visit the renter's property. If a renter's insurance claim must be filed, it is important to take pictures of any damage or issue. Contact an agent immediately for help in filing a claim to ensure a quicker process. To learn more about renter's insurance coverage, speak with an insurance agent.