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6 Ways to Prevent Home Water Damage


It’s a fact of life that water backs up, overflows, floods and generally goes where it doesn’t belong.

Are you worried about water ruining your home? If so, the following list can help you spot – and fix – some of the most common home water damage problems. Some you can tackle on your own, but others are best left to the pros.

And since nothing is foolproof, extra insurance coverage can help if water still seeps in. Talk to an independent insurance agent, such as your local ERIE agent, about available add-ons to your homeowners insurance that can expand your protection to include different types of water damage, such as ERIE’s Extended Water endorsement1.

This endorsement brings peace of mind by covering water events such as backup of sewers, drains or floods, which also include inland flooding, tidal water, storm surge or mudflow and mudslide.

This endorsement features coverage for:

  • Basements and other rooms that flood during a storm or various flooding events2
  • Water that backs up from sewers or drains (separate Water Backup endorsement required in North Carolina)
  • Repair or replacement costs for both your home and personal property2
  • Additional living costs associated with temporarily relocating while your home is being restored3
  • Flood avoidance reimbursement (up to $10,000) to help proactively protect your home before flooding occurs4

How Can You Protect Your Home From Water Damage?

The problem: Plumbing failure from frozen, rusted or leaky pipes

The fix: Remember, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Look for any telltale signs of leaks like unusually high water bills, mold or mildew growth, water stains on walls and warm spots on your floor. To prevent frozen pipes, keep your home’s temperature no lower than 55 degrees. Read more about what every homeowner should know about frozen pipes.

Level of difficulty: Easy – if you know what to look for and stop a minor problem before it becomes a bigger one.

The problem: Plumbing drain system failures

The fix: Drain system failures are more common when your local storm water system is tied to your home’s sewer system. To prevent problems, install a backflow prevention assembly in your drain system. Also, remember to refrain from pouring grease down your drain; instead, let it cool before bagging and trashing it.

Level of difficulty: While grease disposal is a no-brainer, it’s best to seek professional help installing a backflow prevention assembly.

Bonus tip: If you’re an ERIE customer, ask your agent if your homeowners policy includes Sewer or Drain Backup coverage5Learn more about ErieSecure Home® bundles that include this valuable protection.

The problem: Weak washing machine hoses

The fix: Replace hoses every five years – and choose a reinforced steel-braided hose over a less durable rubber hose. And if your washer has seen better days, it might be time to replace the whole thing to prevent bigger issues. Learn more in our related post about when to replace major appliances.

Level of difficulty: Replacing a hose is a moderate job if you’re somewhat handy. Otherwise, call your plumber.

The problem: Water heater failure

The fix: Replace the “sacrificial” anode rod that diverts corrosion away from the tank at least once every two years. Also, flush your tank every six months to prevent sediment buildup. (This is especially important if you have hard water.) Read more in our related post: 6 Reasons Why Water Heaters Fail.

Level of difficulty: Relatively easy. If you’re not handy, leave it to your plumber.

The problem: Pooling water against the wall of your house

The fix: Redirect the water with a waterproof membrane or a French drain (a ditch in the ground inset with a perforated pipe that’s then covered with a layer of gravel). 

Level of difficulty: While adding the membrane isn’t a difficult job, a French drain installation is best left to the pros.

The problem: Weak roof coverings that let rainwater seep in

The fix: Seal your roof to add an extra barrier against the water. Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive things a homeowner will encounter, so it’s also a good idea to understand how homeowners insurance can (and can’t) pay to replace a damaged roof.

Level of difficulty: Difficult as well as dangerous – leave any roof sealing jobs to a licensed roofer.

Don’t Let Water Damage Soak Your Wallet

Even the best precautions can’t prevent all home water damage. That’s why it helps to have the right insurance coverage to get life back to normal.

Contact us today to learn about your options to insure your home against flooding or other water damage5.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of January 2024 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.

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