5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Homeowners’ Public Enemy No. 1—Water Damage

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Water damage continues to be the most common cause of insurance claims in Canada. Checking the following five key areas regularly can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to Homeowner’s Public Enemy No. 1 – Water Damage:

  • Your Roof – The First Line of Defence

    • Have your roof inspected and have any damaged areas replaced or repaired by a qualified roofer.
    • Periodically have your chimney inspected for exterior damage where water can seep in, such as cracks in the bricks or blocks, and openings by the flashing, etc.
    • Remove debris from gutters and downspouts.  Repair or replace any loose or leaky gutters.  Ensure downspouts drain away from the foundation.
  • Your Home’s Exterior – Inspect to Protect

    • Clean, inspect and repair siding or stucco.
    • Check for any water pooling around your home. If it occurs, it may need to do some landscaping so that your yard slopes away from your home to direct water away from it. Or, the pooling may be due to blocked water and sewer connections, or the weeping tiles may be plugged. If you suspect that may be the cause, these lines should be inspected and repaired by a professional.
    • Check the trim and weatherproofing around windows and doors.
  • Your Basement – The Favourite Flood Zone

    • Keep all basement floor drains clear of obstruction.
    • Install a backflow valve to prevent water or sewage from entering your home.
    • Check your basement for leaks after every heavy rainfall or a quick thaw.
    • Consider installing water alarms to protect against faulty sump pumps, leaks from hot water heaters, toilets, sinks, etc.

For a detailed discussion on ways to reduce the risk of basement flooding, see the Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding

  • Your Appliances – Potential Convenient Catastrophe!

    • Don’t leave your home while the dishwasher or washing machine is running.
    • Turn off the water to the dishwasher, clothes washer, refrigerator (with water or automatic ice-making features), toilet, and sinks if you are going away for more than a few days.
    • Replace the rubber hoses on your dishwasher and washing machine with braided stainless steel hoses, particularly the hot water hoses.
    • Inspect your water tank regularly for evidence of rusting or pin hole leaks.  The lifespan of water heaters vary; some suggest replacing them every 10 years or sooner if there is evidence of rust or leakage.
  • Your Insurance Policy – Know What’s Covered and What’s Not

    • Some types of water damage are simply not covered under most insurance policies.  For example, damage caused by the following are typically not covered:
      • continuous or repeated seepage or leakage of water
      • freezing during the usual heating season within an unheated portion of your dwelling
    • If you have been away from your premises more than 4 consecutive days during the usual heating season, water damage caused by freezing will not be covered unless you take one of the following three precautions:
      • arrange for a competent person to check your home daily
      • shut off the water supply and drain the pipes
      • install a monitored alarm system to your plumbing and heating system that is connected to a 24-hour monitoring station
    • Additional coverage may be purchased to cover some causes of water damage such as the backing up or escape of water from a sewer, sump or septic tank. Check your existing policy to see if you are covered and then call your insurance broker for more details.
    • BREAKING NEWS: Some Canadian insurance companies are now offering Overland Water Coverage.  This coverage can protect you from damage caused by heavy rains, spring run-off, and overflow from rivers and lakes.  Contact your insurance provider to ensure that you add this important coverage to your policy.

Being aware of what is and what is not covered by your current insurance policy is essential to preventing unwelcome surprises at claims time.

Call one of our experienced insurance professionals today to review your policy.  1.800.663.3739.  We are here to help.

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