Water-​Related Property Damage Concerns 73% Of Homeowners

BY Rachel Cagle
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A new study from Chubb finds that while homeowners are nearly unanimous (90%) in saying they are "vigilant" or do an "okay job" at home maintenance, their responses tell a different story when it comes to water damage prevention, the number one cause of property-​related claims.

Only 2.5% of U.S. adults plan on purchasing basement waterproofing or renovation services within the next year, reports AudienceSCAN. Of the consumers who do make up Basement Waterproofing Customers, 53.1% are between the ages of 25 and 44, 49% have annual household incomes of over $100,000 and 41.2% live in metropolitan areas.

According to Chubb's 2018 Homeowners' Water Risk Survey, three quarters (73%) of homeowners are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about property damage from environmental or maintenance issues. But, when asked about the specific water protections they take, just 19% of homeowners have installed a water shut-​off device. Further, only 47% of homeowners periodically check appliance hoses and 41% conduct water heater maintenance, despite being two primary components of water leak prevention. Potentially more concerning is the fact that these numbers reflect a downward trend, with 52% and 51% of homeowners, respectively, reporting taking the same actions in 2017.

Homeowners fare no better when protecting their home from weather-​related flood risks. Although 2017 was one of the worst years on record for weather-​related property damage, including two of the top three costliest U.S. hurricanes, two-​thirds (64%) of homeowners report not changing their home protection behaviors over the last year.

What can homeowners do to protect their homes from water damage of all kinds? The first step is understanding how homeowners' seasonal behaviors shape their exposure to water.

Staying Dry Year-Round

Despite the known connection between weather and water damage, the study found that 45% of homeowners believe weather reporting is "regularly" or "frequently" exaggerated, and another third (36%) think it is "sometimes" exaggerated. If homeowners don't believe the weather reporting, they are unlikely to take the necessary home protection steps. With storms becoming stronger, homeowners are putting their property and finances at risk.

"Soaking Up" Summer Fun

The study found that the warm, dry summer months lead to two water-​related home risks stemming from travel and renovations.

According to the study, homeowners are unlikely to leave relevant information with care takers while away from their home during summer, a popular time for vacations. Specifically, less than one-​third (30%) of homeowners report leaving appropriate water leak information, and only 17% leave information about what to do in the event of a weather-​related flood

Regarding renovations, the study found that the majority (58%) of homeowners will "definitely" or "probably" undergo a renovation this year, with many looking to renovations to improve home value: the number one home concern identified by homeowners. With an abundance of water-​connected devices in the home and a vast network of pipes hiding behind interior walls, carrying out a DIY project without the technical expertise or hiring an unqualified candidate carry equal water risks for homeowners.

Falling into Water Traps 

Autumn's cooler months provide a pleasant opportunity for homeowners to work on their gardens, yards and outdoor areas, as 30% of homeowners believe improvements to their home's exterior features best impact its resale value. Yet, common garden improvement projects, from sprinkler system installation to adding an outdoor kitchen, can easily let water into all the wrong places

Winterizing Your Home

Homeowners are 40% more likely to experience a water loss during the cold winter months, according to Chubb data. Despite this, only 21% of homeowners report installing pipe insulation, even though it is one of the surest ways to protect one's home in cold weather.

Spring into Preventative Action

Spring inspires many homeowners to spruce up their homes' indoor and outdoor features. But by the time spring has sprung, homeowners have often waited too long. A leaky faucet, for instance, can spill up to 3,000 gallons a year, at a rate of just one drip per second. Yet, this urgency isn't resonating with homeowners, as close to 30% take more than a week to fix an issue in their home.

Homeowners can be shown the importance of waterproofing their homes through a variety of advertisements. Last year, 71.4% of Basement Waterproofing Customers took action after seeing a TV commercial, according to AudienceSCAN. About 10% of this audience considers mailed ads/​flyers to be the best for comparing prices, so they can also be targeted via direct mail. Last year, 66.8% were driven to action by ads or coupons they received in their mailboxes. This audience is also 69% more likely than other adults to take action after seeing an ad in a directory search, both online and printed in the yellow pages.

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.