(NC)—Many homeowners are surprised to hear that water damage is the most common insurance claim. Water damage—often in the form of a flooded basement—can come out of nowhere and cause extensive damage to the house.
“Once homeowners understand the most common types of insurance claims, they can take steps to guard against them,” says John Jenner, vice-president of marketing and communications at Western Financial Group. “Measures might include making sure their home insurance policy covers sewer backup, installing a sump pump, having properly installed drainage systems, or making sure that downspouts are sending water away from their home.”
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, there are many circumstances that can cause a flooded basement, including tree roots growing through cracks in the waterline, overloaded stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure, frozen pipes, vandals blocking lines and more.
To keep your home safe, practice the following guidelines:
Have someone check on your house when you're away
When you leave home for more than three days, make sure you have someone come and check the premises. A flooded basement, leaky pipe, or a broken window can be devastating if it is not discovered immediately.
Keep drains clear
It may seem simple, but many homeowners need to be reminded to keep their basement drains clear of obstructions. That means moving large objects such as furniture and making sure the drain is not sitting under a layer of dirt or debris. In older houses, drains may need to be snaked to ensure they can do their job properly.
Install a sump pump and backflow valves
This will greatly reduce the frequency and severity of basement flooding. Backflow valves or plugs can be installed on drains, toilets and other sewer connections to prevent water from entering the home.
Move items that are in flooding prone areas
The 10 minutes spent on inspecting your home for items that are in flooding prone areas could save hours later. Make sure you store important documents and irreplaceable personal items where they will not be damaged.
“It is important for homeowners to go over their insurance policy yearly with a representative,” adds Jenner. “This will make sure you have the coverage you need.”