May 23, 2023

Water Damage Nightmare: How an $8 Device Could’ve Prevented $100k in Damage

Caitlin Sacasas

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In the middle of the night, Jackie’s* dog alerted her to a massive water leak causing over $100,000 in damage. It could have been prevented with an $8 device. 


Around 1:30 in the morning, Jackie had woken up to use the restroom, which is located on the 1st floor of her home. She flushed the toilet and went back to bed, thinking nothing of it.  

An hour and ten minutes later, at 2:40 am, her dog woke her by barking, insistent and nervous. 

Jackie instantly knew something was wrong and shot out of bed to investigate. What she found was devastating heartbreak.

Upon leaving her room, she stepped into puddles of water streaming all over her home from a busted water supply line in the bathroom. 


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Jackie’s home was remodeled in 2015, and the toilet serial number dating to 2013 was less than 10 years old. The toilet supply line was faulty due to a manufacturing issue and broke after she flushed. The pressure from flushing the toilet caused the braided supply line to fracture, flooding her home for more than an hour. 

Over the course of that hour, the entire first floor of her home filled with water, causing massive damage. 


The fractured braided supply line 


When she initially reported the claim, she suggested it was $10,000 in estimated damages. 

But water damage is the most costly insurance claim, causing $20 billion in damages annually. 

It’s not only the most costly but also the most devastating. Water damage leaves people displaced for more than 6 months on average. It can take even longer in high net worth homes with unique features and quality materials.  

And besides the gutting and remediation often required, there are many items lost. Customers often greatly underestimate the level of service needed to return a home to its original state. 



Water Damage Claim Cost:

For this claim, it took approximately: 

  • Packing expenses to move items into boxes and into the driveway to prevent further damage: $5,000 
  • Water cleanup, fans, cut out, and pack back: $14,000 
  • Energy expense for fans due to the dry out process: $600 over more than a week of use 
  • Mobile storage unit for housing furniture and other household contents during remediation: $1,700 
  • Drywall, baseboards, flooring, cabinets gutted and repaired through the first floor, and flooring on the second floor due to stairwell damage and continuous flooring: $50,000 
  • Personal property damage, non-repairable: $1,400 
  • Temporary housing during reconstruction: $38,000 


Total Damages Cost: Approx. $110,700 


This is more than ten times Jackie’s initial estimate of the damage. 


After the cut out and dry process 


After repairing her home, Jackie bought new supply lines for all 3 of her toilets. This only cost her $8 each to fix. 

Vault also recommends installing a full-home automatic water shut off device and monitoring system to prevent a repeat incident. 

Installing an automatic water shut-off valve will stop the flow of water when a leak is detected. It also sends an app alert if an abnormal amount of water is used. They can be customized to your home and plumbing system and will not affect daily water usage. 

These devices are easy to install and low cost, providing peace of mind and reducing the risk of devastating damage. Most insurance policies offer a credit or policy discount for installing one. Vault can connect you with professionals to install the device. 

In fact, 93% of all water leaks could be prevented with an automatic water shut off valve. This one device helps reduce the amount of damage and repairs needed in the event of a leak. It is the single most effective way to prevent displacement and heartbreak from water damage. 


“This was a huge unfortunate moment for me to learn of the importance of an automatic water shut off device.” 


Tips for Preventing Water Damage: 

  • Install an automatic water shut off system in your home. Vault can help you find a licensed professional to install this device. 
  • Have a backup battery for sump pumps. 
  • Know where your main water shut off valve is located. In the event of a leak, turn off your water at the main valve. 
  • Save your insurance provider’s claims and support numbers. Call them after damage occurs so remediation can begin as soon as possible. 
  • Review your insurance policy to ensure you have adequate coverage, including water damage. Not having enough reconstruction and repair coverage can be a costly financial risk. Ensuring proper coverage and having a responsive insurance provider, such as Vault, can save you from the immense stress and loss of water damage. 
  • Take whatever steps you can to reduce the level of damage: 
    • Dry things out as much as possible 
    • Get airflow moving with fans and open windows 
    • Removing items from flooded rooms 
    • Saving what you can before water spreads further 
  • Understand this will be a longer process than you may expect. 


At Vault, we go above and beyond to make sure our customers have peace of mind and immediate attention to their water damage insurance claims – that’s the Vault difference 

When you file a claim, an adjustor will reach out to you within 2 hours and get the information they need to schedule services. On our end, the average time to some form of payment for your claim is 48 hours.  

Request a quote and experience the Vault difference for our high net worth homes.  


Related Products: Homeowners Insurance 



*names and some details have been changed to protect identity and for clarification.


While Vault believes the information provided in this article to be accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information provided. Vault is not responsible for, and does not adopt, endorse or approve any third-party webpages, or their content, that may be hyperlinked from this page. Nothing on this page alters any terms or conditions of an insurance policy and is not intended to be taken as legal, medical, or other professional advice. 

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