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Easy steps to prevent water damage in your home

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Easy steps to prevent water damage in your home
OMA Insurance
8/11/2017
Over 50% of home insurance claims are due to water damage. Even more alarming - that trend is on the rise due to the increased frequency of violent storms and our aging sewer infrastructure. A burst pipe or severe rainstorm can destroy your valuables in mere minutes. There is good news, though. Water damage is preventable. Here are some ways you can help protect your home.

​Precautions outside your house

To paraphrase the old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cleanup…

  1.  Keep your roof in good shape. Install a vapour barrier as a second layer of protection under the shingles. Clean debris from eavestroughs and downspouts regularly. 
  2. Install flood-proofing devices. Sump pumps remove water before it floods your basement and battery backup ensures that it keeps working during power outages. A backwater valve will prevent sewage from backing up into your basement. It closes automatically if the sewer backs up. 
  3. Grade your lot. Does your property slope enough to drain water away from the foundation? Ensure downspouts extend at least 1.8 metres or six feet from your basement wall. These efforts will improve drainage and prevent flooding. 
  4. Install a rai​n barrel. It's easy, and it can help prevent basement and sewer flooding by diverting water.  
  5. Prepare for up​coming storms. Secure gutters, outdoor furniture, windows and doors. Check to make sure the roof is in good condition and that the seals are tight.  

Precautions inside your house

  1. ​​Check caulking and drain pipes. Is the silicone caulking around the bath and shower in good shape? Do you know where your main water shutoff valve is located should a pipe burst? 
  2. Pay special attention to the bathroom. Fix small leaks in your toilet and check your shower drain for backups regularly. If your bathroom is in the basement, make sure your appliances are protected by anti-backflow valves. 
  3. Check washer or dishwasher hoses. Hoses leak due to wear and tear. Check the condition of your hoses and pipes regula​rly and consider replacing them with metal-reinforced hoses. Avoid pouring fats, oils and grease down household drains. Are your washing machine faucets in the 'off' position?​

Are you covered for water damage?

Make sure you have the insurance coverage you need for water damage to your home. Most standard homeowner policies provide protection for sudden and accidental water damage. If a burst pipe happens and you're not at home, you can get smartphone notifications through programs like The Personal's Alert program which notifies you if water is detected in your home, before the damage gets worse. 

​Make sure you read your policy carefully. According to the Insurance Information Institute, home insurance does not typically cover damage from unresolved maintenance issues, flood damage, or water backup from an outside sewer or drain. Some of these risks can be covered by a special rider on your policy – and some depend on taking the steps needed to prevent water damage in your home.


More on this topic

Get ​more ideas for maintenance and prevention from the IBC

Keys to preventing water damage in your home

Simple steps you can take to protect your home against water damage

​​The information provided by The Personal is meant to be illustrative only and does not constitute or replace the advice of experts. The Personal assumes no liability with regards to how such information is used.​