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.

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Here are some steps to help clients safeguard their homes.

  1. Inspect your roof: To prevent leaks, get the roof inspected every few years to check the condition of the shingles and replace when necessary.
  2. Clear out gutters: Prevent blockages, such as leaves and other debris that could force water into your home.
  3. Install a backwater valve: These valves close automatically if the sewer backs up and can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.
  4. Scope out your sump pump: If your basement has one, examine it and conduct a test run if it doesn’t get used frequently.
  5. Divert snow away from your home: Ensure snow is removed from around your home, its foundation, doors and basement windows.
  6. Check your foundation: As ice melts, if you notice water pooling in certain areas, clear the liquid away from your home.
  7. Ensure your window wells are debris-free: Clear any accumulated garbage or leaves to allow water to drain properly.
  8. Ensure street catch basins are not blocked: These prevent snow from building up on the street level, protecting water from seeping towards your property.
  9. 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.
  10. Start right: If you are finishing your basement, make sure to seal your exterior walls.

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And with spring underway, many Canadians may look for a new home or think about renovations.

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Here are some home insurance tips from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

  1. 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.
  2. Know your policy renewal date and allow yourself at least 60 days to review coverage. Read carefully and have your insurer explain any exclusions.
  3. Make a list of details about your home and contents. That information may be needed when calculating the amount of insurance you need.
  4. In the event of a claim, know the amount of your policy deductible.
  5. Ask about discounts, such as multi-product discounts for insuring your home and auto with the same insurer.

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