After the worst year for water damage claims in Canadian history, insurance providers are encouraging Canadians to take steps to protect their property this spring. Last year’s water damage reached an all-time high. Although flooding in Alberta and Toronto played a big part in the increase, the general trend is upward. Data also shows that in 2013, the average cost of a water damage claim rose to $20,537, a 130% increase over the average experienced for the previous 10 years. While an insurance policy may be in place to protect against certain weather events, you need to protect yourself against loss. Overland flooding, such as water swells from nearby rivers or lakes, is not covered under standard home insurance policies and that this coverage is not widely available.
Here are ten steps to take this spring to safeguard your home and possessions from water damage:
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.
Slope right: Ensure that soil, walkways and patios slope away from the home to allow for proper drainage.
Check your foundation: As ice melts, if you notice water pooling in certain areas, clear it 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.