Water damage is a major cause of property insurance claims, with an estimated annual cost of $2.5 billion according to Water Damage Defense. This damage can result from various sources, including internal leaks, valve failure, supply line failure, frozen pipes, and leaky roofs. For owners of multifamily properties, even a few inches of water can lead to significant damage.
Here are some steps that property owners can take to help mitigate water damage exposures:
- Conduct routine maintenance and regular inspections to identify water intrusions before they cause extensive damage.
- Focus on unheated interior spaces like basements, attics, and garages. Advise residents to leave faucets dripping, open cabinet doors, and maintain a consistent thermostat temperature day and night. Recommend residents to set thermostats to at least 55 degrees when away for an extended period of time.
- Keep garage doors closed.
- Monitor the age of washers and regularly check for cracked or damaged hoses. Hoses should be replaced every five years to prevent leaks.
- Insulate pipes for sprinkler systems to prevent them from freezing during cold weather.
- Regularly inspect HVAC systems for blockages that could lead to water damage.
- Older complexes should check the sewage systems for blockages caused by tree roots to prevent backups and water damage.
Contingency plans are crucial to mitigate water damage in emergency scenarios like sprinkler activation, plumbing rupture, sewage backup, major weather events, or large-scale water release. The plans should outline the necessary steps and actions to be taken promptly and will minimize the impact of water damage. This can lead to an efficient response to the situation saving time and expenses.
Share your contingency plans, preventative maintenance expectations, and inspection requirements with all relevant personnel once they are developed. Regularly review and communicate these details, starting before any seasonal changes.
Check out our Water Damage Flyer for more information or contact a Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) advisor with any questions.