Water damage is one of the most common reasons for insurance claims. Here are five things you can do to reduce the risk of flooding and other types of water damage in your home.
Inspect your roof
Leaky roofs are among the top sources of water damage, so visually inspect your roof at least twice a year. If you notice any curled, cracked or missing shingles, hire a qualified roofer to make the necessary repairs. It’s also a good idea to have your roof inspected by a professional every few years.
Clean your gutters
If leaves, branches and other debris clog your gutters, water can pool on your roof and increase the risk of leaks. To prevent this, clean out your gutters on a regular basis. In addition, make sure your downspouts extend at least two metres away from your house so that water doesn’t pool around the foundation and seep into your home.
Take care of your appliances
Dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators and other appliances that use water must be periodically inspected and well-maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. In particular, check the hoses for cracks, bulges, rust and other signs of deterioration. Keep in mind that appliance hoses should be changed every 10 years. Additionally, braided steel hoses are a better option than rubber hoses, which are more prone to bursting.
Maintain your hot water tank
Hot water tanks can hold between 75 and 400 litres of water, which means they can cause extensive flooding if they spring a leak. Partially drain your tank every six months to prevent a buildup of sediment, which can cause rust. You should also have your hot water heater inspected regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep in mind that the average tank lasts eight to 12 years.
Know your coverage
It’s important to be aware that most insurance policies don’t cover all types of water damage. Water damage caused by neglect, deterioration or frozen pipes usually isn’t covered. Water damage caused by a sewer back-up typically isn’t covered in a standard home insurance policy, but it can be included as an add-on. The same applies to damage caused by overland flooding, although certain insurance companies began providing this coverage after the 2013 Alberta floods caused extensive property damage.