DES PLAINES, Ill., March 30, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports today that from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015, a total of 2,792,331 water damage claims were filed across the United States. In 2015, there were 1,403,054 water damage claims filed—an increase of just one percent over 2014's total of 1,389,277.
The most active months for water damage claims were January and February, averaging 158,087 and 157,136 respectively. November and December posted the fewest averaging 86,840 and 97,185 claims respectively.
The top five states for water damage claims were: California (327,648), Florida (225,222), Texas (222,972), New York (145,390) and Pennsylvania (143,788). The top five cities were San Antonio (19,344), Chicago (19,230), Houston (18,484), San Diego (17,927) and Miami (15,491).
NICB's report states that "water damage can be defined as property damage due to accidental discharge, leakage, or overflow of water from plumbing systems, heating, air conditioning, and refrigerating systems; and rain or snow through broken doors, open doors, windows, and skylights resulting in damage or destruction of the property scheduled in the policy.
"Typically, water damage may not be covered if the damage resulted from the homeowner's negligence or failure to maintain home repairs. This type of claim can be fraudulent when the participant falsely reports, purposefully creates, or exaggerates existing water damage with the specific intent of financial gain."
Property owners should regularly review their insurance policies and keep them current with the risks they may encounter. Moreover, in the aftermath of natural disasters, property owners should be aware of unethical contractors who may appear, unsolicited, to offer repair and rebuilding services.
While most are legitimate, many are not. Property owners should always contact their insurance company first and follow their guidance before entering into any agreement with a contractor—especially if it was an unsolicited contact. That is why NICB always advises, "If you didn't request it, reject it."
The complete report, as well as total water damage claims for all states is available here.
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau:Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $395 billion in insurance premiums in 2014, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($176 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.