Water Hose Rupture Causes Costly Damage

Loss Amount: $68,152

Situation: A pressurized water line connected to a clothes washing machine at the back of an animal hospital ruptured, sending water flooding into the business. The hospital was closed at the time so nobody noticed the leak when it happened. By the time the first staff arrived in the morning the water had spread throughout the small practice, damaging the walls of the property and equipment placed on the floor. It also prevented the hospital from opening as scheduled, which created a business interruption loss to the owners and a serious inconvenience to their customers. Although the insurance company was immediately notified and flood recovery services were promptly dispatched, the accident resulted in the hospital being closed for several days.

This loss resulted from a simple case of deferred maintenance. The washing machine hoses ruptured because they had become old and brittle. It is a common accident that is easily prevented.

Lesson Learned:

  • Standard washing machine hoses are only designed to last a few years, but in this case there was no process to inspect them on a routine basis. Had the exposure been identified in advance new hoses could have been installed, at almost no expense to the business, and the loss averted. Higher end hoses such as stainless steel braided lines last longer than standard rubber-based ones, but should still be inspected on at least a monthly basis.
  • Timing is important. Had the failure occurred during business hours the water line could have been shut off, minimizing damage to the property. Consider running the washing machine(s) while staff is present, and shut the water lines off before everyone leaves the property.
  • Drainage is also important. If there is a leak in the laundry area, will it drain safely away from the property and expensive equipment? If not, consider installing a drain line or moving the equipment to a safer location. As with the hoses, the drains should be inspected and tested regularly to verify that they function properly and have not become blocked by debris.

For further assistance in preventing all types of losses, call VISC at 888.762.3143.