IBC encourages “water-savvy” ways for Canada Water Week

Edmonton, AB (Mar. 18, 2013) – It’s Canada Water Week, a week-long celebration of water across the country. While fresh, abundant water is an important resource in our lives, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds Canadians that water damage to your property can result in expensive repair bills and ruin priceless valuables. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your home and your property before spring arrives.

“Based on estimates, the Canadian insurance industry paid $1.7 billion in claims in recent years due to water damage. That’s a staggering figure, but with a little planning you can ensure that you and your family protect health and home,” says Bill Adams, VP, Western and Pacific, IBC.

Here are some focused activities that will help prevent water damage:

Inside your home

  • Install backwater valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections.
  • Move valuable items from the basement to upper floors.
  • Prepare a detailed home inventory. This will help you and your insurer keep track of your valuables in the event of a loss.
  • Use water-resistant building materials below ground level.

Outside your home

  • Ensure proper lot grading. If possible, build up the ground around your house so water can drain away from your basement walls.
  • Clear snow about three to five feet away from the house foundation to prevent leaks.
  • Check sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven’t settled over time and are causing water to drain toward your house.
  • Clear your eavestroughs of debris and if possible, help clear catch basins near your home.
  • Keep water out of window sills.
  • Make sure downspouts extend at least six feet from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your house and neighbouring homes toward the street, backyard or back lane.
  • Use a rain barrel to catch water runoff from downspouts.

Insurance coverage

  • Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage.
  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is covered by all residential policies. However, damage may not be covered when freezing causes the escape of water.
  • Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.
  • Overland flooding resulting in water overflowing onto dry land and causing damage is not covered in residential properties in Canada. (Speak to your insurance representative for more information on how you can protect your home).

IBC also has a new Dry House Challenge iPad app, a free, fun and interactive game that shows homeowners how to prevent water damage in 15 potential problem areas around the house.

The Dry House Challenge iPad app can be downloaded for free through iTunes here and from IBC’s popular social media site at www.getintheknow.ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 115,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $44 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca, for IBC on Twitter follow @insurancebureau or like us on Facebook.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada