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April 10, 2023

Most common property insurance claims – and how to prevent them.

Some property losses can be prevented. Here are some common causes of home insurance claims, and how to avoid them.

You work hard for the home and lifestyle you and your loved ones enjoy. That’s why it’s important to protect your home from preventative damage. Here are some common causes of home insurance claims and a few tips that may help you prevent them.

Bathroom leaks

An overflowing tub, a leaky toilet, a shower that doesn’t drain properly or even a slow leak, all add up to water damage – the costliest type of damage to your home.

Prevention tips: Always be vigilant. Never let the bath run unattended, repair small leaks immediately and, if your bathroom is in the basement, make sure your appliances are protected by anti-backflow valves.

Leaking dishwasher or washing machine hoses

Hoses and pipes leak due to corrosion, damaged fittings or just wear and tear.

Prevention tips: Check the condition of the pipes regularly. Consider replacing them with mental-reinforced hoses. Avoid running the dishwasher and washing machine when you’re not at home.

Kitchen Fires

Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Heating oil is a significant fire hazard: in just seconds, oil can ignite into a fire that becomes impossible to control.

Prevention tips: Never leave the stove unattended when you cook. For oil frying, a deep fryer is a safer option than an open pan. Be sure to use a CSA- or ULC-certified fryer with a thermostat. Read the instructions for use and storage and turn it off immediately after use.


Barbequing is a great way to cook food. However, if not done properly it can pose a safety and fire hazard.

Lighting and using your BBQ:

  • Never use a gas or charcoal grill indoors
  • Use your barbeque in a well-ventilated area. Position it away from any flammable material and make sure it does not block any exits

Safety tips for gas grills:

  • Always lift the lid before opening the valve of the tank, then turn on the burners and press the igniter switch
  • Make sure all pipes and hoses are empty by first closing the tank’s valve and then shutting off the burners
    Gas grill maintenance:
  • Clean the pipes of the burners every year, using a brush designed for this purpose
  • Check for leaks after opening the tank’s valve by moving a brush full of soapy water over all moving parts. Bubbles will appear if there is a leak, tighten the joints and replace the damaged parts
  • Always store the tank outside

Cigarette butts

Even though the number of smokers is steadily decreasing, fires caused by cigarettes still seem to be a major cause of property damage.

Prevention tips:

  • If you’re a smoker, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Never smoke lying on a bed or sofa — it’s too easy to fall asleep
  • Always wet cigarette butts before throwing them in the trash
  • Never extinguish cigarette butts in flowerpots or planters outside. The earth is inert and can pose a fire hazard. Black earth or mulch contains peat, moss or wood chips, which are combustible materials. They may also contain chemical fertilizers that could ignite. Did you know that it can take four to five hours from the time the butt is extinguished to the time a flame starts?

Electrical Fires

Temporary electrical installations or overloaded connections are significant fire hazards.

Prevention tips:

  • Never operate more than one high-energy appliance at the same time on the same circuit
  • Connect electronic devices to surge-protected power strips
  • Avoid using plug dividers as they can overload the electrical outlet
  • If you need to use an extension cord, make sure it has enough capacity for the appliance and never slide the cord under a carpet. For long-term use, hire an electrician to add more electrical outlets instead


A candlelit dinner can turn into a catastrophe if you leave burning candles unattended. Despite the recent rise in homes damaged by water, accidental fires are still among the most common insurance claims.

Prevention tips:

  • Never let candles burn unattended
  • Use good quality candlesticks that are not made of wood or plastic
  • Arrange the candlesticks in a closed, non-passing area at least 30 cm from draperies or woodwork


Having your home broken into can be very traumatic. Being robbed of valuables or sentimental treasures can be both a financial and psychological hardship.

Prevention tips:

  • Invest in an alarm system
  • Do not leave a key outside
  • Lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house
  • Inform a trusted neighbour if you are leaving for more than a few days

Natural Disasters

Hailstorms, violent winds and other natural disasters can severely damage your property.

Prevention tips: If a storm is coming, minimize the potential damage by storing your patio furniture and BBQ (without the tank) inside. Additionally, make sure you have enough supplies for the first 72 hours of an emergency.

Need to update your home insurance policy? Now is the perfect time with OMA Insurance.

Conditions apply. The OMA Home and Auto Insurance Program is underwritten by The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and by The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.