The Most Common And The Most Costly Homeowners Insurance Claims

May 18, 2016

Recent research information from the Travelers Companies, Inc. showed the most expensive and the most common homeowners insurance claims. Their data was based on home insurance claims filed in the United States between 2009 and 2015. During this time period, they found that weather-related damages were the most common causes of claims. Freezing pipes, broken pipes, wind, flashing leaks, roof leaks and ice dams were some of the biggest problems related to weather.

The Most Common Causes Of Home Insurance Claims

Exterior wind damage comprised 25 percent of all losses, and water damages that were not related to weather took second place at 19 percent. These included appliance problems, toilet flooding, burst pipes and similar issues. Hail was the cause of 15 percent of claims, and weather-related damages made up 11 percent of claims. These damages included those resulting from snow, ice and rain. Six percent of home insurance claims were filed because of theft.

Although many things could possibly go wrong in a home, most incidents are not predictable. Experts said that if homeowners focus on the common risks, they can perform regular maintenance and take the right steps to prevent these common damages. 

The Most Expensive Home Insurance Claim Causes

Although weather-related claims were the most common type, claims from fires were the costliest. They accounted for about 25 percent of all claim costs. In most instances, the fires were caused by the misuse or failure of machines and appliances. Electrical fires, wiring issues, faulty outlets and cooking mishaps were also common causes of fires. Hail, wind and leaks from appliances or plumbing parts ranked below fires for being the most expensive home insurance claim causes.

Water damage was also a costly type of claim. For water damage, there are two types of problems - internal causes and external causes. Internal causes are plumbing issues, burst pipes and similar issues. External causes are snow, ice or rain. The majority of water damage claims happened because of internal issues rather than external ones in this research project.

How Claims Differ

Claims and their causes differ by region. Wind was the leading cause of claims in the Northeast. In this area, the weight of snow and ice during the winter also led to a large amount of claims. For the costliest type of claim in the Northeast, fires took first place.

In the South, the most common claim cause was wind. Hail ranked the highest in this area for being the costliest type of claim. Hail was the leading cause of claims in the Midwest and in the West. It also caused the most expensive damages in those areas. As a secondary problem from the hail, many homeowners in the Midwest experienced problems with their sewers or sump pumps backing up.

Preventing Common And Costly Claims

There are several ways for homeowners to keep themselves and their families safer. Simple tasks such as cleaning leaves from the gutters in the fall and keeping a trickle of water running when the temperatures drop in the winter can prevent costly water damage. Fire safety plans and extinguishers are also a must for every home. There are plenty of other tips. Every family's risks vary in likelihood depending on several factors. It is important to have a personalized assessment of risks before setting up a plan to prevent serious claims. To learn more about protecting a home from claims and what steps to take based on individual risks, discuss concerns with an agent.


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