Weather incidents were the most common cause of damages, resulting in more than half of all claims according to newly released data by The Travelers Companies, Inc., identifying the most common and costliest homeowners claims.
Based on a review of its U.S. homeowners insurance claims made from 2009 – 2015, Travelers found wind, pipes freezing and bursting, roof and flashing leaks and ice dams were among the major issues leading to damage during weather events.
The five most common causes of home claims were:
- Exterior wind damage – 25 percent of all losses.
- Non-weather-related water damage (e.g., plumbing or appliance issues) – 19 percent.
- Hail – 15 percent.
- Weather-related water damage (e.g., rain, melting ice, snow) – 11 percent.
- Theft – 6 percent.
“Any number of things can go wrong with a home, and it’s impossible to predict them all,” said Pat Gee, senior vice president, Personal Insurance Claim, Travelers. “But if consumers focus on these particularly common risks and take preventive steps and perform routine maintenance, it may help lessen the likelihood of damage.”
Costliest Claim Causes
While weather-related claims were most common, fire caused the most expensive claims, accounting for nearly one quarter of the total claim costs. Fires were often caused by appliance and machinery misuse or failure, electrical problems, including wiring or outlet issues and cooking. Hail, wind and plumbing or appliance leaks followed fire as the most expensive claims.
There are typically two main causes of water damage — weather events, such as rain or snow melt, and other issues, such as pipes bursting or leaking. By comparison, more water damage was caused by events such as a pipe bursting or plumbing or appliance issues, than from the weather.
The leading cause of claims differed depending on where customers lived:
- In the Northeast, wind was the most common cause of claims. The weight of ice and snow on the roofs of homes was also a common claim throughout the region. Fire was the costliest source of claims for homeowners in this area.
- In the South, wind was the most common cause of home claims and hail was the most expensive.
- In the Midwest and West, hail was both the most common reason for a homeowners insurance claim and caused the costliest damage. Midwestern homeowners also saw repeated problems caused by sewer or sump pump backups.
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