Most-preventable homeowners claims from PEMCO Insurance

Burst washing machine hoses top list of common and costly damages



​​SEATTLE – PEMCO Insurance today released a list of the top preventable homeowners claims to help homeowners avoid costly maintenance claims and keep their houses in good working order. As the fall season for home repairs and remodeling approaches, PEMCO Insurance encourages homeowners to check these minor problems before they turn into major repairs.

Most homeowners claims are not caused by fires or storms, but by neglected maintenance that grows into a larger problem. Depending upon circumstances, these types of problems may or may not be covered by homeowners insurance. "Preventive maintenance is one of the best investments a homeowner can make," said Janet Paulson, PEMCO Insurance's claims manager. "One hour of work now to fix a leaky tub, for example, can prevent several days of work from costly contractors to replace a water-damaged floor."

Paulson noted that costly damage often occurs from washing machine hoses that burst and flood laundry rooms or entire floors.

"Laundry rooms are low-traffic areas, and large leaks or hose failures can go unnoticed for a long time," Paulson said. "The mess is quite a hassle, and water can damage hardwood floors, carpets, furnishings and even walls."

Experts recommend replacing rubber washing machine hoses every three years or exchanging them for metal mesh hoses.

The preventive maintenance tips below list areas and problems identified by PEMCO Insurance as frequent causes of larger home repairs.

Top Ten Most-Preventable Homeowners Claims

Burst washing machine hose – The rubber hoses that come with most washing machines eventually leak, and since the laundry room is usually in a low-traffic area of the house, the water damage can go undetected and be extensive.

Recommendation: Replace rubber hoses every three years or replace with metal mesh hoses from any hardware or home store.

Slow leaks around tub/shower grout and edges – Over time, cracks can develop or grout and caulking can decay, allowing water into the wall or floors. This damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance.

Recommendation: Check and maintain seals. Make certain you keep shower doors or curtains securely shut to prevent water from spilling.

Toilet seal leaks – This can happen when the toilet is not stable, the seal is worn out or the toilet seal is not installed correctly.

Recommendation: Check for water around base of toilet and repair promptly.

Refrigerator water-supply line leaks – Small water supply lines for ice-making refrigerators can leak easily or become brittle if they are plastic.

Recommendation:> Inspect metal lines for leaks and crimps. Replace plastic lines if they become brittle.

Roof leaks – Spots appearing on the ceiling are telltale signs of roof leaks. Also look for curled or upturned shingles along house edges.

Recommendation: Clean gutters regularly. Check for loose or missing shingles. Don't try to make a roof last 'just one more season' if it's worn out.

Chimney/fireplace fires – The onset of cold weather regularly brings fires caused by dirty or plugged chimneys.

Recommendation: Check chimneys for signs of excessive soot and ashes. Clean chimneys regularly.

Hot water tank leaks – Often forgotten, hot water tanks are susceptible to leaks and rust. They only last so long before showing wear.

Recommendation: Inspect the flooring around your hot water heater for signs of leaks. A qualified technician should periodically inspect hot water heaters installed more than five years ago.

Electrical cord fires – Cords under throw rugs, overloaded outlets and baseboard heaters are the most likely sources of electrical fires.

Recommendation: Reroute cords around throw rugs and use certified power strips. Don't place furniture against baseboard heaters.

Unattended cooking or candle fires – Unwatched, a 'contained' fire can spread and rapidly become a tragedy.

Recommendation: Carefully monitor all cooking and candle fires.

Garage door opener theft – Garage door openers stolen from cars parked outside the house can give thieves easy access to a house later.

Recommendation: Take out garage door openers if the car is not parked in the garage.

PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life and umbrella insurance to residents of Washington state. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the state, as well as through PEMCO offices.