Protecting your condo from water damage

By Allstate

Last updated: June 2024

Each year water-related damages cost property owners billions of dollars. The most common damage results from plumbing problems (tubs, toilets, pipe breaks, showers), rainwater, washing machines and frozen pipe breaks. Damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours. By taking certain precautionary measures, and by following proper clean-up procedures, you, with the help of your condo association, may be able to lessen the severity of damage that may occur should a water-related problem present itself.

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Facts about condo water damage

While water-related damages can happen within any type of property, did you know that there is a higher risk of water damage in condos?

  • Due to condos having common walls, water damage can seep into other units causing water losses to occur.
  • 85% of building property (e.g., cabinetry, drywall, flooring, etc.) Condo claims are due to water losses*
  • Up to 35% of water Condo claims are due to burst pipes, non-weather related*
  • 30% of water Condo claims are due to overflows of sink, toilet, shower and appliances or water heater leaks*

Before condo water damage happens

Here are some helpful tips to be prepared for when unexpected water damage may occur in your condo.

  • Familiarize yourself with location of water shut off sources in case of an emergency and the pertinent processes: ex. Do you have to request for the entire building to shut off water vs only unit shut-off?
  • Keep important contact numbers handy for Condo Association board should you need to report a water issue.
  • Keep your association by-laws/governing documents readily available. These documents are key in determining coverage and can expedite and enable a smoother claim settling process.

Water damage prevention tips

Before you encounter any water damage in your condo, here are some helpful tips that may lower the chances of water damage happening from to your home:

  • Let faucets continuously drip during extremely cold weather to prevent pipes from bursting.
  • At least once a year, inspect and replace all worn fittings and hose connections to all appliances that use water. Inspect for leaking pipes under sinks.
  • To prevent overflowing, never leave the bathroom when filling the bathtub and don’t flush foreign objects down the toilet.
  • When on vacation or when gone for more than 7 days during cooler seasons, be careful not to set your thermostat or heater too low. An unexpected cold spell could cause a frozen pipe to break. Also have someone check on the property regularly.
  • Installing automatic water shut off sensors may lessen the severity of damages and may qualify you for a discount (Condo policies only).

Prevention tips if you have a basement

  • Install a backwater valve to prevent sewage backups in the basement.
  • Install a sump pump-for finished basements install a secondary battery backup sump pump in case the building loses power, or the initial sump pump becomes overwhelmed by water.

What to do if water damage happens

In the unfortunate situation that you notice water damage or leaks in your condo, consider following these tips:

  • Turn water off at its source.
  • Call for professional help immediately. For help choosing a contractor, consider the Good Hands Repair Network of vetted professionals with a 3-year workmanship guarantee.
  • File a claim or contact your insurer.
  • Prevent further loss or damage by extracting water, removing non-salvageable property and dry salvageable property.

Keep yourself and your family safe

  • Keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging due to retained water.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances that may have been damaged by fire, heat, or water. Especially avoid using electrical equipment while standing on wet concrete floors.
  • If electricity is still on, do not enter rooms where standing water is present.

These are just a few helpful hints that can help you with water damage, should it occur. For more detailed information about coverages available to you to help ensure you are protected, contact your insurer.

Additional resources around condo water damage

Find more information around protecting your home from water damage from the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Get personalized tips to protect your home using Allstate's GoodHome tool. It compiles local insurance claim information, current weather conditions and public records.

See typical and the most expensive home insurance claims in your neighborhood with Allstate’s Common & Costly Claims tool.