There are few things more frustrating for a homeowner than a flooded basement. And in today’s world, a flooded basement often means more than a wet cement floor and some damaged boxes.
Basements once left empty for storage are now being transformed to provide increased living space for growing families. Finished recreation rooms, home theatres, living quarters for aging parents or adult children are now considered an investment in the future value of a home. These home improvements, combined with more frequent severe weather events and aging sewer systems, have resulted in significantly higher costs for water damage claims. Insurers report the average cost of water damage has gone from $8,944 to $20,5371 over the last 10 years.
Are you covered?
Some homeowners may be unaware that overland flooding, such as water swells from nearby rivers or lakes, is not covered under standard home insurance policies. A home policy does provide for sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances, however water damage in a basement due to sewer back up is only covered if specific coverage is purchased.
What you can do
Our partners in insurance have provided the top ten steps homeowners should take to safeguard their homes 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: 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 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.
OTIP is here to answer your questions and help you understand your policy.
Give us a call today at 1-800-267-6847 and we'll assess your situation to ensure you have the coverage you need to protect you from water damage.
Information contained in this article was obtained from Canadian Underwriter, March 2014 and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
1 Aviva Canada