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The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Some Great Water Damage Prevention Tips for Homeowners from The Folks @ MetLife

www.FedPrimeRate.com: Water / Flood Damage
Water / Flood Damage
The good folks @ MetLife Auto & Home have released some great tips about water damage prevention, tips that any homeowner can and will appreciate. Here's a clip from today's press release:
"This is the time of year when a winter chill settles upon much of the country, which means that it's a good time to think about water damage prevention. Fully 25 percent of homeowner insurance property damages involves water or freezing, and water causes an estimated $6.8 billion worth of property damage each year, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety. As alarming as these figures are, however, they only tell part of the story, according to Tim Bowen, a claim manager at MetLife Auto & Home.
'While your insurer can replace a chair or a couch, you can't replace the lifetime of memories -- scrapbooks, pictures, family recipes, report cards, family bibles -- that often get permanently altered or damaged,' said Bowen. 'We see first-hand the effects of water damage every day. Many of these claims are easily avoided because they are often due to appliance failure such as when the hose in a washer, dishwasher, or icemaker ages and bursts.'

Consumers can avoid heartbreaking losses by taking a few precautionary measures. MetLife Auto & Home offers the following tips to help safeguard homes -- and memories:

  • If you live in an area that's subject to freezing weather, be sure to winterize your exterior faucets.

  • Check all the windows in your household and ensure that the seals are tight. Replace caulk as necessary, to avoid water seepage.
  • Make certain that your tub and shower make the grade. Inspect your shower stall for leaks, and inspect and replace old or brittle caulking. Also, check your sink and toilet. Water stains around the toilet may be an indication of damage to the rim and tank seals.

  • In the kitchen, regularly examine the icemaker, dishwasher, sinks, and garbage disposal for leaks. Also, replace their hoses every five years; it's a small investment that can prevent an expensive accident from occurring. 
  • Inspect your washing machine hoses and check for signs of brittleness or corrosion. Experts recommend changing standard rubber hoses to stainless steel reinforced hoses, which will reduce the likelihood of leaks, and guarantee a longer life. Also, consider installing a water supply box to your washer -- this automatic shut-off valve can prevent your home from serious damage, if a pipe bursts while you're away on vacation. 
  • Check your hot water heater for leaks and corrosion. Rust is a sign of imminent tank failure.
  • For valuables, keepsakes, and other memorabilia that you do not regularly display, or keep in your cellar, consider plastic storage containers. These containers are relatively inexpensive and can stand up to water better than other types. One major source of water damage involves flooding. Flooding is nature's most commonly occurring natural disaster, and yet flood is not covered under most homeowners policies. This is true whether you live in a flood zone or not; and, in fact, almost 25 percent of all flood claims occur outside of flood zones. Purchasing flood insurance is relatively inexpensive and can easily be obtained to cover your building and contents, subject to limitations. 
  • Also, for more information about water safety, MetLife Auto & Home offers a free brochure, 'Protect Your Home from Water Damage,' which can be obtained by calling 1-800-638-5433 (1-800-MET-LIFE), or 1-866-MET-VIDA (for Spanish-speaking callers). The brochure is available in either Spanish or English. Also available is a free Personal Property Inventory brochure, in Spanish or English, which enables owners or renters to keep careful track of their valuables.  It's an invaluable resource should a claim need to be filed. A downloadable version of the inventory is available by clicking 'Home Insurance' and then accessing 'Home Safety Tips' at www.metlife.com. 
  • MetLife Auto & Home is one of the nation's leading personal lines property and casualty insurance companies, insuring over 3.8 million autos and homes. The company was named among the industry's leaders in customer service, according to JD Powers' 2005 Claims Customer Satisfaction survey for auto insurers. For more information about MetLife Auto & Home, visit www.metlife.com. MetLife Auto & Home is a brand of Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company and its affiliates, Warwick, RI."

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