Water damage is on the rise – is your home protected?
(NC) In recent years, water damage from flooding has become increasingly common across Canada. In fact, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says that water damage accounts for nearly half of all insurance claims, and the frequency and cost of these claims has risen dramatically in recent years.
Some of this increase in property water damage is due to climate change, with strong storms becoming more frequent and lasting longer. Infrastructure in many areas is old or inadequate and unable to handle the volume of water associated with these new storms as well as flash floods or snowmelt.
Sewer backups are also occurring more often, both with old systems and with newer ones that are designed to handle both rain and sewer water. Faulty plumbing is another factor that can contribute to water damage, especially in aging, poorly constructed or poorly designed buildings.
Despite these concerns, a poll from the Insurance Bureau of Canada revealed that more than a quarter of people don’t know if their property insurance policies cover flooding, while another 45 per cent only “think” they do. Not knowing whether you have coverage for water damage can be costly.
Fortunately, according to Aviva Canada, one of Canada’s largest insurance providers, there are things you can do to help protect your property:
- Perform regular maintenance on plumbing systems, including sanitary lines and hot water tanks. Have water and sewer lines scoped to reveal damage from tree roots. Test shut-off valves to ensure they will work in an emergency.
- Pay attention to your building envelope. Roof leaks are one of the most common causes of water damage, especially in areas that are prone to freezing weather, strong winds and hail. So, it’s important to maintain the condition of your roof and clear your downspouts and drains of obstructions. Caulk your windows to ensure an adequate seal, and make sure grading slopes away from your premises.
- Is your water hard or soft? Depending on where you live, the quality of water can affect your appliances and plumbing systems, causing them to deteriorate much more quickly. Water softeners are available for hard water areas, but you could consider using a softener for soft water areas too, as soft water can lead to corrosion of copper piping.
- Technology can monitor and even reduce issues related to fluctuations in building temperature. Water detection and shut-off systems can prevent damage from burst pipes due to freezing or leaking of your hot water tank. Installing these systems can help eliminate or reduce loss to your property, particularly when you’re not there.
Talk to your insurance broker about what level of water damage your current homeowner’s insurance covers and what additional insurance you might need.