Drip. Drip. Drip. It’s more than an annoying sound. It’s the sound of more than one trillion gallons of water wasted through leaks in American households. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover unexpected water damage due to a plumbing malfunction or broken pipe. But, do your policyholders understand the impact to their lives that even a covered water claim can cause? Proper maintenance and monitoring of home plumbing is in the interest of both the consumer and the insurance carrier.

What does this mean for you, the home insurer? Money lost through claims thanks to unchecked minor leaks that become major repairs – if the policy covers it; and lost time managing a denied claim if it doesn’t. Not to mention the harm to the customer experience if a policyholder doesn’t know the difference.

This week – March 18-24 – marks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 11th annual Fix a Leak Week. All week the EPA and utility companies across the country will be encouraging homeowners to find and fix leaks in their homes and on their properties. Here are a few quick facts about water leaks courtesy of the EPA:

  • 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more of water each day
  • A leaky faucet – at one drip per second – wastes more than 3,000 gallons a year
  • A leaky shower – at 10 drips per minute – wastes more than 500 gallons a year

According to the EPA, “The average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons each year from easy-to-fix water leaks. That’s the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider that across the country, easy-to-fix household leaks can add up to nearly 1 trillion gallons of water lost every year.”

Fix a Leak Week is a great opportunity for home insurers to reach out to their policyholders and let them know about the many easy steps they can take to help save water in their communities now and for future generations. For some great ideas, visit the EPA’s WaterSense website.

Non-weather related claims – the trends

While weather related claims are the frequent events for homeowners insurers, according to the 2018 LexisNexis® Home Trends Report, non-weather related water events have seen a consistent—and rather steep—increase in loss cost for non-weather related water claims. Claim severity has remained relatively stable; however, the frequency of claims increased by 19 percentage points from 2016 levels.

You can gain key insights from loss cost, seasonal and geographical trends by downloading and reading the 2018 LexisNexis Home Trends Report.