A Guide to Protecting Your Property
Over the last 15 years, water damage has become the number one cause of home insurance claims. From water seepage through the roof or windows to sewer back-ups, spring flooding, overflowing bathtubs and hot water tank breakdowns, no one is safe from this type of event. Here are some tips to keep your home water damage-free!
In 2018, 40% of home insurance claims paid were related to water damage. Did you know that there are ways to protect yourself?
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your home is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. The following list can help you identify potential risks.
- The grade of your property should slope away from your home.
- Your windows should be watertight. Check them regularly to make sure they are in good shape.
- Your roof should be in good condition. When in doubt, get it inspected by a professional. You should also pay particular attention to accumulated or melting snow. Many insurers require that the roofing on your house be less than 20 years old to benefit from the maximum amount of coverage.
- Clean out your gutters regularly to prevent clogging, which could prevent them from working properly.
- Install a backwater valve (check valve) in your basement or check it regularly for blockages.
- Downspouts should extend away from the foundation of your home, toward the street, backyard or alleyway.
- Before winter comes, empty your garden hoses and turn off any outdoor faucets.
Am I covered for water damage?
Certain water damage risks are typically covered by your basic insurance policy. As a general rule, this is the case for water damage that originates inside the home, such as:
- Overflowing plumbing fixtures and appliances (washing machine, bathtub, dishwasher, etc.)
- Burst pipes
- Water leakage from an air conditioner, water bed or water dispenser
Some risks that are not covered by the basic home insurance policy can be insured through additional coverage, commonly known as “endorsements” or “riders”. These risks include water seepage, sewer back-ups and flooding. Find out more about these three endorsements by contacting your Lareau broker or reading this article:
- Water damage—Soil water and sewer
- Water damage—Aboveground water
- Water damage—Soil water, sewer and overflowing bodies of water
How to deal with water damage
If your home is affected by water damage, you will need to dry out your home and belongings. The main goal is to limit the damage and tackle the problem at the source. From the first time you call your broker or insurer, they will do everything they can to find the best possible solution and minimize the damage.
Note: if you will be away from home for more than four days during the winter, make sure to arrange for someone to visit your home or drain your water lines before you leave and keep the heat on. Otherwise, an exclusion in your insurance policy could cause you plenty of headaches once you return home…
To conclude, when it comes to water damage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, this type of occurrence is still all too common. Once you have followed our advice, give your broker a call to find out whether your home insurance policy provides adequate water damage coverage. You can never be too careful: after all, there is nothing worse than damage to a beloved property.