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With any water damage claim, time is of the essence. The longer a leak goes on, the more water damage it will cause to a client’s property. Whether it’s behind the washer or refrigerator, even a little drip can lead to big trouble.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing accounted for over a third of property damage claims – making it the most popular type of property damage claim in 2018.

In-unit washing machines – often located next to a master bedroom, or in a master bedroom closet on an upper floor for convenience – are de rigueur in today’s condo/loft and apartment buildings, where before they were relegated to a common area in a basement or ground floor, if they were even on the property. Refrigerators, with ice maker and water dispensers, are standard in most fixture and finish packages. If the washing machine or refrigerator lines leak, not only that floor, but every floor below, even down to the basement, along with neighboring shared walls and units, can be severely impacted.

For water damage from leaky appliances the damage must be “sudden and accidental” in order to be covered by insurance – such as a pipe that bursts while in the process of washing clothes, or an ice maker feed line that ruptures.

Preventing a water disaster

It’s a good idea for a landlord to periodically check behind appliances to make sure everything is dry. Be careful when pulling out a refrigerator to check for a leak in the ice maker water line, and avoid running over a water line or crimping a copper feed line. Investing in washing machine drain pans is a good first line of defense.

Replacing aging rubber supply hoses to appliances with braided hoses, made of rubber surrounded by wire mesh is a good step toward mitigating a potential issue. Braided hoses can still spring leaks, but they won’t burst. And it’s good practice to replace water supply hoses on these appliances every five to seven years.

For additional information and specifics regarding our Commercial Lessor’s Risk Only (LRO) product, contact Novita Insurance,


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