Almost half of all home insurance claims are the result of water damage, finds Aviva Canada Inc. And the average cost of such damage increased 117% between 2002 and 2012 — clients can expect to have a $15,500 claim if water seeps into their homes.
Here are some steps to help clients safeguard their homes.
- Inspect your roof: To prevent leaks, get the roof inspected every few years to check the condition of the shingles and replace when necessary.
- Clear out gutters: Prevent blockages, such as leaves and other debris that could force water into your home.
- Install a backwater valve: These valves close automatically if the sewer backs up and can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.
- Scope out your sump pump: If your basement has one, examine it and conduct a test run if it doesn’t get used frequently.
- Divert snow away from your home: Ensure snow is removed from around your home, its foundation, doors and basement windows.
- Check your foundation: As ice melts, if you notice water pooling in certain areas, clear the liquid away from your home.
- Ensure your window wells are debris-free: Clear any accumulated garbage or leaves to allow water to drain properly.
- Ensure street catch basins are not blocked: These prevent snow from building up on the street level, protecting water from seeping towards your property.
- Protect your valuables: If your home is prone to water damage, consider moving valuables away from high-risk areas, such as the basement, or place items on high shelves or risers.
- Start right: If you are finishing your basement, make sure to seal your exterior walls.
And with spring underway, many Canadians may look for a new home or think about renovations.
Here are some home insurance tips from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
- Whenever you increase the value of your home through renovations or new purchases (e.g. artwork, jewelry), notify your insurer to ensure you have adequate coverage.
- Know your policy renewal date and allow yourself at least 60 days to review coverage. Read carefully and have your insurer explain any exclusions.
- Make a list of details about your home and contents. That information may be needed when calculating the amount of insurance you need.
- In the event of a claim, know the amount of your policy deductible.
- Ask about discounts, such as multi-product discounts for insuring your home and auto with the same insurer.