Secondary Homes – Water Damage accounts for 51% of home insurance claims

By: Denise Koslowsky



A secondary home that provides a place for your family to get away is often a dream come true.  Unfortunately, because a home that you don’t live in year round is more vulnerable than your primary residence, that dream home can incur substantial damage.  While both fire and water pose a threat to your home, damage from water is 10 times more likely to occur than damage from fire.


Increased water risks often associated with secondary homes:

  • They are not occupied year round so when a leak occurs, it can go unnoticed for a long period of time.
  • They are often in beautiful locations that are off the beaten path and more remote.  This can slow the time it takes for emergency workers to reach your home and stop the damage.

Water Leaks Ruin Everything

Water has a way of flowing where it wants to flow and it can cause damage to everything it touches.  A pipe that cracks just 1/8th of an inch can leak 250 gallons of water a day.  In fact, the #1 homeowner claim that Advocate Brokerage deals with on a regular basis is damage caused by a burst pipe.  Ice dams are another issue that can cause major damage to your secondary home.


Water damage from burst pipes or ice dams can cause:

  • Buckled flooring
  • Mold
  • Cracked ceilings or walls
  • Peeling paint
  • Wet carpeting
  • Wet insulation
  • Collapsed rain gutters

The good news is that these risks are avoidable.  You can choose to go the traditional route with a property manager or caretaker who frequently stops by your house to ensure that the plumbing and heating is in working order.  This will certainly add peace of mind.  However, there is a better way.


Smart Technology Saves the Day
Safety devices utilizing smart technology allow you to monitor your home while you are away with the touch of a button.  It is so effective that approximately 93% of all water damage can be avoided utilizing smart technology.

Frozen pipes can be avoided.  Water damage can be avoided.  Having to suffer damage to your dream home can be avoided.  Below are some of the smart technology options available to help keep your secondary home safe from water damage even when no one is home.

Whole-house systems use two styles of technology:

  • Sensor based systems rely on water sensors located primarily in high-risk locations around the building such as bathrooms, kitchens, icemakers, hot water heaters and washing machines among others. When these sensors detect water they send a signal back to an automatic water shutoff valve installed on the incoming supply to prevent a catastrophic loss.
    The WaterCop and WaterCop Pro are sensor based.
  • Flow based systems rely on a flow-sensor and automatic water shutoff valve. This sensor and valve communicate directly with a control panel through which the user can program custom settings for flow volume and time. Any continuous flow that exceeds this combination of volume and time will trigger an alarm and turn off the water to prevent catastrophic damage.
    FloLogic and Leak Defense System are timer based.

All of the whole-house water shut-off systems qualify for insurance policy discounts when properly installed.

Although the smart technology that follows won’t protect your home from water damage, they are still vitally important to the safety of your home:

  • Central Station Alarm that includes smoke and fire detectors in the case of potential danger.
  • Back-up generators that turn on automatically when the power goes out.
  • Security cameras with an app that allow you to view a live feed of both the inside and outside of your home on your phone or other hand held device.
  • Automatic lighting that can be controlled via your smart phone.


What about the added expense?
There is no question that cost is often a factor when it comes to adding smart technology features in your secondary home.  When the costs of a build or remodel start to add up, you look for places to cut back and items that appear to be a luxury are often the first to go.

We understand.  We’ve been there ourselves and made decisions for the short term that were not worth it in the end.  Having smart technology safety devices installed from the start is a short term sacrifice for a long term gain.

The good news is that you can receive significant discounts from your insurance carrier for installing safety devices in your home.



How Advocate can help
Educating our clients about all of the options available when it comes to protecting your secondary home is very important to us at Advocate Brokerage.  If you are purchasing, building or renovating your home away from home we would love to help you locate resources for the smart technology available in today’s marketplace.  We can answer your questions and make recommendations regarding how these products can impact your insurance coverage.


~By Denise Koslowsky

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