Aviva Canada data shows 40% of all home insurance claims are water-related

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March 29, 2011 – (Toronto, ON) – Early signs of spring are a welcome sight to most Canadians, but along with warmer weather comes the increased likelihood of water damage to your home.

Data from Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance, indicates that 40% of all home insurance claims are a result of water damage.

Aviva Canada data also shows that the average cost of a water damage claim rose 160%, from $5,423 in 2000 to over $14,000 in 2010.

“It’s no secret that water damage to the home is on the rise, both in frequency and severity,” said Wayne Ross, Vice President of Property Claims for Aviva Canada. “The growth can be attributed to two main causes. First, we’ve seen an increased frequency of severe rainstorms compounded by the lack of sufficient infrastructure in most communities to handle large amounts of water in a small period of time. The second key factor behind the dramatic increase is the amount that homeowners are investing in finishing their basements.”

In 2010, Aviva Canada paid out over $124 million in property water damage claims. A provincial breakdown of the increase in the average cost of water damage claims from 2000 to 2010 is included below.

Province*

 

% increase in average cost of water damage claim from 2000 to 2010

 

British Columbia

205%

Alberta

183%

Ontario

182%

New Brunswick

120%

Quebec

117%

Nova Scotia

68%

Newfoundland and Labrador

51%

National Average

160%

Homeowners are encouraged to take a few steps to help ensure they do not fall victim to home water damage:

  • Inspect your roof: To prevent leaks, get the roof inspected every few years to check the condition of the shingles. Clear out gutters to prevent blockages 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 do a test run if it doesn’t get used frequently.
  • Divert snow away from your home: Ensure that snow is removed around your home, its foundation, doors and basement windows.
  • Check your foundation:This is especially important as the ice melts. If you notice water pooling, attempt to lead the liquid 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 street level and 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.
  • Start right:If you are finishing your basement, make sure to seal your exterior walls.

Consumers are encouraged to speak with their insurance broker or insurer to understand what types of water damage are covered by their policy. For example, many Canadians are unaware that overland flooding, such as water swells from nearby rivers or lakes, is not covered under standard home insurance policies and not widely available.

About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading Property and Casualty insurance groups in Canada, providing home, automobile, recreational vehicle, group and business insurance to more than three million customers. The group has more than 3,000 employees, 33 locations, 1,700 independent broker partners and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the world’s sixth-largest insurance group. For more information visit avivacanada.com.