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The Case for Installing Water Shutoff Devices

August 18, 2020

With this Chartwell Bulletin we are on a mission to convince our readers to install water detection devices not only to protect their homes (and condominiums) from water damage but to help reduce the rising cost of insurance.

AIG water loss pie chart

Insurance premiums are rising. According to a recent  Valuepenguin study, home insurance rates have outpaced the cumulative rate of inflation (9.14%) in 31 states. The states with the highest average rate filing increases for 2020 include California and Nebraska, but also Illinois, where Chartwell Insurance Services is based.  We have tracked our renewal premiums and calculated a 9% average increase among our clients nationwide. The Insurance Information Institute and Verisk have analyzed the causes of loss and found that between 2014 and 2018 5.6% of insured homes experienced a claim, and water damage and freezing accounted for 38% of those claims.  What makes the case more compelling is the finding from an ACE Private Risk Services study of damage sustained in higher valued homes that up to 93% of the cost of water damage could have been prevented or minimized if an automatic water leak detection and shut-off system had been present in the homes. “Smart” technology has finally made it possible for homeowners to proactively help prevent water damage to homes with the installation of water shutoff devices.

flo moen water device

water cop water deviceStreamlabs water devicefloLogic water devicewater hero water devicephyn water deviceLeak Defense System

There are many water detection devices currently available.  Features can include (1) total water supply shut-off each time a home is unoccupied, (2) sensors, sometimes referred to as “water bugs” which detect water in targeted locations and trigger alarms and sometimes shut off the water  supply, and (3) “flow” systems which monitor the water flow of the home, detect any unusual water flow and then shut off the water supply. These devices will NOT turn off water to interior fire sprinkler systems which should have an alarm which notifies the fire department in the event of accidental discharge because only the fire department should turn off water to interior fire sprinklers.  This Chartwell Bulletin will focus on devices in the “flow” category because these products can monitor water both while the home is occupied and unoccupied and offer more comprehensive protection than passive sensors which are placed in targeted areas only and often do not turn off the water supply.  Flow based devices featured here are controlled through mobile phone apps which allow the homeowner to manually reverse the shutoff and can generally be installed in most homes including parts and labor for under $2,500. There is often an added benefit of lower water bills and water conservation because the devices will help identify leaks that might otherwise go undetected.  And most insurers offer a modest policy discount; so don’t forget to notify your agent after installation.

According to Gwen Banas, Founder and President of Water Security Solutions, LLC, a respected vendor of products to prevent water damage in residential and commercial buildings,  “Device compatibility with the plumbing configuration and user lifestyle are crucial considerations when choosing technology that will offer the best protection and user experience for the long run.  Factors like flow sensitivity, appliances, maintenance, user interface and required smart-phone access are some of the details than can dramatically affect protection and user satisfaction.  Making sure your system meets your insurer’s standards for qualification before installation can also save a lot of money and frustration.”

Discounted pricing codes for the devices are available from many insurance companies and when purchased from Water Security Solutions . If you are finding it difficult to decide which solution is best for you and don’t have a contractor or plumber who is familiar with water detection devices,  Water Security Solutions   offers consultation directly by phone, and will train your plumber to install any system correctly and customized to your home and plumbing configuration.  The cost is $375 and is complimentary to all AIG policyholders.  To contact Water Security Solutions call  888-356-5644 or email  info@wssus.com for more information about purchasing discounted water devices or for consultations.

Up to 93 percent of the cost of water damage could have been prevented or minimized if an automatic water leak detection and shut-off system had been present in the homes, according to an ACE Private Risk Services study  of damage sustained by owners of higher-valued homes.

Chartwell Insurance Services Inc, receives no compensation from Water Security Solutions, the manufacturers, vendors or installers of these products, nor do we recommend any one particular product. As the design of homes varies a licensed contractor and plumber should be consulted about any installation. The following are some of the most popular products:

 

flo moen water device

Flo by Moen

  • Robocall to warn before shutoff in addition to text.
  • Battery backup also available
  • 1″ valve available, 3/4″ and 1 1/2″ with a transition fitting
  • Away mode for tighter protection when home will be empty
water cop water device

WaterCop

  • 1/2″ through 3″ valves and larger available
  • Large multi-family residential solutions available
  • Can integrate with Z-Wave smart home technology
  • Works with or without Wi-Fi and app, indoor or outdoor

Streamlabs water device

Streamlabs

  • 3/4″, 1″, 1 1/4″ valves available
  • Up to 0.1 gallons per minute low-flow detection
  • Alexa, Google Assistant and Nest integration
  • Humidity and low temperature alert

floLogic water device

floLogic

  • 3/4″, 1 1/2″, 2″ values available
  • Battery backup for power outage of up to a week
  • Indoor/outdoor/underground leak detection
  • Extreme low-flow sensitivity and temperature alarms
  • Condo, Multi-family and Commercial facilities dashboard and control for property managers
water hero water device

Water Hero

  • 3/4″, 1″, 1 1/4″, and 2″ valves available
  • Indoor and outdoor models available
  • Can integrate with home alarm system
  • Offers temperature, flow-rate and total flow volume alarms
phyn water device

Phyn

  • Water supply of 3/4″ with 1″ connectors, 1.5″-2″ coming in 2021
  • Claims to be only connected water monitor to
    include an ultrasonic flower sensor with no moving parts
  • Does not have an away mode
  • Alexa and Google Assistant integration
leak defense systems eater device

Leak Defense System

  • 7 valve sizes from 0.75″-3.0″
  • Can integrate into alarm system
  • Flow sensor and motorized ball valve to monitor water flow

Alert Labs

  • 3/4″, 1″, and 1.25″ valves available
  • Large multi-family residential solutions available
  • Battery lasts up to 2 years
  • Integration with Google Assistant
  • Complete suite of flow meters, floor sensors, sump pump alarms and HVAC controls

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Chartwell Bulletins are produced by Chartwell Insurance Services an independent insurance broker specializing in the personal asset protection of successful individuals. Chartwell Insurance Services is not affiliated with Keyth Security, nor do we accept compensation for referrals to Keyth. Chartwell Bulletins address issues of general interest and since coverages vary by company and by state should not be taken as an interpretation of a particular policy or advice on any individual situation.

A representative of Chartwell Insurance Services will be pleased to discuss your personal insurance program including family protection coverages. Contact us at 312-645-1200, email your Chartwell representative or info@chartwellins.com