June 6, 2023

Preventing Water Damage: Why You Need an Automatic Water Shut Off Valve

Caitlin Sacasas

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A washing machine leak that flooded the laundry room and living room

Water damage is the costliest and most devastating claim customers deal with. It’s also one of the most common. But there are ways to prevent your risk of water damage, such as automatic water shut off devices and proactive home maintenance. 

Many high-net-worth individuals assume water damage won’t affect them much. They assume their high-quality home will cause them fewer issues. Or, because they have insurance coverage, it’s not a concern. 

But water damage can affect everyone, regardless of affluence or insurance coverage. When water damage occurs, customers underestimate how much it will impact their daily lives. 

Instead of waiting for water damage to happen, take action today to prevent months-long headaches later. 



Water Damage Statistics 

Water damage frequency is about 30% of all claims, costing $20 billion in damages every year.  

Water damage cleanup can take many months. Customers are displaced from their homes for 6 months on average. 

But those with a higher number of damaged custom features can see even longer wait times. The level of unique personalization, imported luxury materials and required building code updates impact the time displaced. 

And depending on the level of impact, water damage restoration can change drastically. If a water leak is not stopped and dried out within the first 24 hours, it can spread and lead to mold growth fast. 

It’s also crucial to continue to evaluate your insurance policy. Make sure you are properly covered to reflect today’s costs for reconstruction and remediation. It is not uncommon for water damage to cause tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands, due to a leak or pipe burst. 


Read how one homeowner could’ve prevented over $110k in damage with a simple $8 fix. 


Water Damage Mitigation 

These tips for preventing water damage will help you reduce your risks: 


  • Install an automatic water shut off system. This is the best thing you can do to prevent massive damage. Your insurer may help connect you with a licensed professional to install the device and you may be eligible for a policy credit or discount for having one. 
  • Locate your main water shut off valve. In the event of a leak, turn off your water at the main valve. It’s a good idea to practice this process before an event occurs so you are prepared and have the necessary tools readily available. 
  • Check for leaks or signs of mold. Keep an eye out for musty smells, mold spots, warped flooring, miscolored, flaking or sagging walls, ceilings and paint. 
  • 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. 
  • Have a backup battery for sump pumps. In the event of a power outage due to a storm, a sump pump may stop working and overflow. 
  • Prevent freezing pipes. Insulate water pipes, open cabinet doors to allow warmer air to the pipes, and allow faucets to drip overnight when weather temperatures drop. 
  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear. Gutters full of debris can cause water leaks into your attic. 


If you’re already seeing a leak, follow these steps fast: 

  • Start drying out the area immediately. 
  • Call your insurance provider to report a claim so remediation can begin as soon as possible. 
  • Open windows and use fans and dehumidifiers to get airflow into the space.   
  • Save what you can and remove items from flooded rooms, including water damaged items. 
  • Use a wet vac to get as much water out as you can. 


Common Water Leak Areas and Causes 

Home water damage often occurs in a few common areas: 

The bathroom is a common area for water leaks, especially the pipes under the sink and anywhere with poor caulking. Check the caulking around the toilet and shower, keep drains clear and unclogged, and prevent pipes from freezing with the tips above. 

Check appliances that use plumbing, including the fridge, dishwasher, and washer. Ensure there aren’t any leaks and tighten hookups. Also, check the pipes and garbage disposal under the kitchen sink.  

Ice makers are often a surprising cause of leaks from the kitchen and bar areas, but this happens more frequently than you would expect. 

Air conditioning handlers inside the home can overflow due to the drainage pipe clogging. Twice a year, clean out the drainage pipe with hot water for proper unit maintenance. 

Maintain sump pumps and have a backup battery to prevent leaks. Have your device serviced as needed and hook up a backup battery to prevent water overflow in the event of a power outage. 


Download the Free PDF: Water Damage Prevention Insights and Tips 


Automatic Water Shut Off Valve 

Many customers put off getting an automatic water valve shut off because they think they are too costly. 

So, are automatic water shut off valves worth it? 

93% of all water leaks could be prevented from causing massive damage with an automatic water shut off valve. 

An automatic shut off valve stops water from flowing through the main line when a water leak is detected. The device syncs with an app on your phone and alerts you to the leak. It also works if it detects unusual amounts of water consumption. 

By stopping the flow of water when there is a leak, it helps reduce the amount of damage (and therefore, repairs) significantly. It is the most effective way to prevent water leaks and damage. 

These devices are easy to install and provide peace of mind. Vault can help you find a licensed professional to install your shut off valve. 

Plus, most insurance policies offer a credit or policy discount for installing one. 

When compared with the cost and stress of water damage, installing an automatic water shut off valve is a no brainer. 


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage? 

Water damage coverage can be a bit confusing, because it is separate from flood insurance. 

If damage happens from within your home due to an accident, such as a pipe burst or a roof leak, your homeowners insurance policy will typically cover the water damage repairs. 

But if the damage comes from something outside your home, such as a hurricane which causes flooding, you will typically be responsible for repairing water damage unless you have flood insurance. 

Every policy is different though, and you should always check with your insurer to understand your coverage. If you live in an area prone to floods or bad storms, flood insurance is a smart choice to reduce your risks. 


Based on a True Story: Automatic Water Shut Off Valve Saved Almost $100k in Potential Damage 

The Texas Winter Freeze caused massive damage throughout the state. Like many, John* wasn’t prepared. 

In 2021, Winter Storm Uri blasted through Texas, bringing in cold weather unlike anything the state had ever experienced. 

Our customer, John, and his family lost power for days. Their pipes froze and burst, flooding from the ceiling and causing $101K of damages. All drywall and flooring had to be removed as infrared scanners showed immense water damage behind walls and under all floors. John and his family saved what they could, put their belongings in storage, and left their home. It took more than 6 months to restore the water-damage home which needed to be gutted, the mold remediated, and major areas rebuilt. 

To prevent a repeat nightmare scenario, Vault installed a whole home water monitoring system which would detect water leaks. 

When a cold front hit Texas again in 2022, John’s pipes once again burst. But this time, the automatic shut off valve saved his home by stopping the leak and shutting off the water. Only $3,500 in damages occurred, and John didn’t have to leave his home. 

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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