Water damage insurance claims in Australia continue climbing despite more Australians working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to QBE Insurance’s (QBE) latest survey.
The survey found that 77% of the respondents who experienced water damage were at home during the incident. It also found that water damage is common, with 58% of the respondents having experienced internal water damage, know someone who has experienced it, or both.
The data in the latest survey is reflected in QBE claims data, which suggests that water damage incidents account for 24% of all home insurance claims. The figure makes water damage one of QBE’s most common home insurance claims, with the average claim coming in at $5,000, and more severe claims reaching over half a million dollars.
According to QBE’s research, the most likely causes of water damage include:
- Burst or blocked pipes, accounting for 46% of water damage and the leading cause of water damage according to QBE claims data;
- Damaged roofs, accounting for 27.2% of water damage instances;
- Old or worn-out plumbing, also accounting for 27.2% of instances;
- Overflowing baths, sinks, and showers – accounting for 13.4%;
- Clogged drains, accounting for another 13.4%; and
- Flexi houses, accounting for 8.2% of instances.
Arron Mann, the general manager for short tail claims at QBE, said prevention and preparedness are key to limiting the potential damage caused by internal water damage.
“Sometimes, the difference between no damage and severe damage can be in how quickly a householder responds. Yet concerningly, many people are unaware that much of this damage – and the stress and cost that comes with it – is often preventable,” Mann added.
However, Mann warned that an unforeseeable water damage event can still happen despite preparation efforts. Therefore, quick response and insurance can make a huge difference to the impact and cost incurred to families in these scenarios.
“Home insurance can offer important financial protection and cover the cost of repairs and temporary accommodation for insured events, but, even if you have cover, the emotional and psychological cost can be significant. Major water damage cases can see families displaced from homes while repairs are carried out and important sentimental items and memories lost forever – it can be devastating,” he said.
He added: “Wear and tear, such as a leaking pipe that becomes a more significant problem over time, may not be covered by your home insurance. So, maintaining your home – alongside insurance and other protection measures – are important investments worth considering.”