Spring Is Just Around The Corner. With It, Comes Water And Lots Of It!
Don't be left holding the "bucket". The destructive power of water entering your home cannot be emphasized enough. Here are some loss prevention and insurance tips we hope will help save you considerable grief and expense –
Of major importance; Make sure you, and everyone in your home, knows where the main water line is, and how to turn it off. There are few things worse than one of your kids staring helplessly at water pouring in from a burst pipe and not knowing what to do!
Have a professional install sewer backflow valves at the main sewer connection. If the sewer gets backed up, the valves close reducing the chance of sewage backing up into your home and causing major disaster – headaches, inconvenience, and damage to your wallet.
Never put cooking grease or fat down your drains; keep it in an old can until it solidifies then throw it in the garbage. Grease that goes down the drain eventually congeals (no matter how much hot water you send down after it) and will block your pipes or cause sewer backups.
Take precautions when you are away from your home. Consider having your home checked daily or shutting off your water (necessary during the cold months). A burst pipe could happen any time and just imagine the damage caused from water running throughout your home for days! Also, do not start a load of dishes or laundry then leave and never turn on a tap and walk away.
Check all of your windows, skylights and frames looking for any signs of leakage, cracks, moisture, mould or mildew. Properly designed, maintained and caulked windows and skylights are intended to keep out even the heaviest rains.
Have your eavestroughs cleared of fall and winter debris. This will help keep water away from your home.
Make sure your downspouts are in good condition, extend at least 1.8 m from house and drain toward street.
To help prevent flooding, keep the sewer grates on the street in front of your home clear of debris..
Ensure the grading around your home is sloped away, allowing water to run off to street (and not into your basement).
If you have a sump pump, make sure it is properly cleaned, maintained and the back-up battery is fully charged. If you do not have one, consider getting one installed to help collect water from the weeping tiles and send the water outside, away from the house.
Have your roof examined by a professional as soon as possible replacing worn or loose shingles and checking caulking around all openings such as skylights and chimneys. Consider installing a waterproof membrane under any new shingles. If the roof has not been reshingled in 14 years or more, it is probably due.
Check for tree root problems. Spreading roots can damage sewer lines. Have a professional clear them away.
Check your attic. If it is well insulated, and cold in the winter time, it keeps warm air from penetrating through to the roof. Warm air in an attic caused snow on the roof to melt and form ice dams. When the ice dams melt, the large amounts of stored water can get under your shingles, through the roof, and inside.
What your insurance (typically) covers
Most home insurance policies cover water damage that happens "suddenly and accidentally" – the kind that is hard to anticipate. So, if your bathtub or dishwasher overflows, or a pipe bursts, you're likely covered for the damage. This may not be the case in many "standard or basic" policies such as those arranged on rental properties or where the plumbing system is very old and the possibility of water damage likely.
What your insurance (typically) might not cover
Sewer backup protection is an option generally available, subject to previous claims and even the area in which you live. If you are concerned about this type of damage, and are unclear whether your policy covers it, check with your home insurance advisor.
Also, coverage will not apply if damage occurs over a period of time, such as a slow leak, water seepage, or drips from deteriorated caulking. Reasoning here is that this is a home maintenance issue and this should be caught as part of looking after your home.
Natural flooding, such as that from a local river swelling, is also generally not insured.
In conclusion –
Insurance professionals are here to help you. If you don't know what coverage you need, we can be relied upon to give you sound advice and point out potential issues you might not have considered.
Make sure you check with in with us periodically and always call before you do any renovations or major home improvements so your needs can be properly assessed.
This way, you know you will have the appropriate insurance protection, just in case the need arises.
PS. For past articles relating to insurance, safety, and loss prevention, please scroll through the "read our blog – Guthrie News & Views" section in our website noted below.
The Insurance Advisors @ Guthrie Insurance Brokers Ltd