Water damage claims can be devastating. In addition to destroying carpets and walls, water-related damage also ruins important equipment, such as computers, fax machines, and phone systems.
Our claims history indicates that during the spring and summer, water damage losses occur from the following: heavy rains resulting in roof leaks, sprinkler system leaks, and pipe failure due to wear and tear. Regularly inspecting your property can help reduce the likelihood of a water-damage loss. The Institute for Business & Home Safety (www.ibhs.org) provides these recommendations:
- Inspect flashing and sealants around windows, roofs, and doors: If sealants or caulking are brittle or there are noticeable gaps, reseal or apply new caulk to the area.
- Check roof drainage systems and ventilation systems: Make sure roof drains and gutters are free of debris, and drain away from buildings. If the roof surface is in poor condition, repair or replace the roof. Ensure ventilation systems have appropriate hoods and are working properly. Check heating and air conditioning systems for excessive condensation or leaks in water lines. You may need to employ a professional contractor to inspect these areas properly.
- Check plumbing: Look for leaking fixtures, dripping pipes (including fire sprinkler systems), clogged drains, and defective water-drainage systems. Consider contacting a sprinkler system contractor to inspect your system for deteriorating pipes that might burst.
- Inspect foundations and exterior walls: Look for cracks in walls and gaps in expansion joints (material between bricks, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movement). Have a professional building contractor check significant gaps or cracks.
- Look for humidity and moist areas: If moisture occurs frequently, there may be an underlying problem that requires professional evaluation.
- Check interior walls and ceilings for stains: Water stains on the ceiling or running down walls may be the sign of a much greater problem behind the drywall. If left untreated, the ceiling or wall could collapse.
Some additional proactive measures include making back-up copies of important business information and storing off-site, locating computers and other electronic equipment away from windows that may leak, and reviewing your insurance coverage with your agent to verify you have adequate limits of insurance and appropriate coverage.