Open plan designs and buildings with extra bathrooms could soon see higher insurance premiums, due to a swell of water damage claims.

“The number of bathrooms in homes today is significantly greater than it was 10 years ago,” says Suncorp acting chief executive Steve Johnson in a comment to the Australian Financial Review.

“The way homes are built now with integrated flooring between kitchens and loungerooms and dining rooms means when you have a problem in the kitchen, it typically means you’ve got to replace all of the flooring across the footprint of the home.”

Suncorp has estimated household premium inflation of five to seven percent this year, with open plan designs and excess bathrooms being a contributing factor. 

Insurer Chubb has also reported that average internal water damage claims in Australia have increased by 72 percent over the past five years, as well as an increase in water damage as a percentage of total household claims.

The insurer has also attributed this to an increase in bathrooms per dwelling and the growing popularity of open plan living. Specifically, issues are said to be caused by the addition of more bathrooms and laundries on the upper levels of the home, as well as open-plan kitchens and family areas.

According to Chubb, the majority of water damage claims are caused by burst flexi hoses, followed by faulty appliances and blocked gutters or drains.