More than half of all home insurance claims in 2013 caused by water damage: Aviva

Claims payments up 69% versus 2012

More than 50% of all of Aviva Canada’s home insurance claims in 2013 were caused by water damage, according to the company.

“With last year’s storms, water damage reached an all time high making up 51% of all Aviva Canada property claims,” said Wayne Ross, vice-president of Property Claims for Aviva Canada, in a press release. “The flooding in Alberta and Toronto certainly played a big part in the increase, but the general trend is upward. And as severe weather events are growing in frequency, we expect to see more situations like this in the future.”

Read: Alberta floods the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history

Aviva Canada paid out a record of more than $190 million in water damage claims in 2013, a 69% increase versus 2012. If the 2013 Alberta and Toronto catastrophes were removed from the calculation, water damage would have still made up 40% of all property claims for Aviva Canada.

“The 40% is still a large portion of total property damage claims and illustrates the need to be aware of how to protect your property this spring with the winter melt underway,” the release states.

Read: A Year in Catastrophes

Data also shows that in 2013, the average cost of a water damage claim rose to $20,537, a 130% increase versus the $8,944 that the company experienced 10 years earlier. Even with the flooding catastrophes removed, the figures have trended higher for a number of years.

“The reasons for the upward trend are rather simple,” commented Wayne Ross. “The increasing investment Canadians are putting into their basements, combined with more frequent severe weather events and an aging sewer system that is unable to deal with large amounts of water within a short time period, results in a lot of homes experiencing damage.”

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 that this coverage is not widely available.

Read: Can overland flood ever become insurable in Canada?

Here are 10 steps Canadians can take this spring to safeguard their homes and possessions from water damage are:

  1. Inspect your roof: To prevent leaks, get the roof inspected every few years to check the condition of the shingles and replace when necessary.
  2. Clear out gutters: Prevent blockages, such as leaves and other debris that could force water into your home.
  3. Install a backwater valve: These valves close automatically if the sewer backs up and can prevent thousands of dollars in damage.
  4. Scope out your sump pump: If your basement has one, examine it and conduct a test run if it doesn’t get used frequently.
  5. Slope right: Ensure that soil, walkways and patios slope away from the home to allow for proper drainage.
  6. Check your foundation: As ice melts, if you notice water pooling in certain areas, clear it away from your home.
  7. Ensure your window wells are debris-free: Clear any accumulated garbage or leaves to allow water to drain properly.
  8. Ensure street catch basins are not blocked: These prevent snow from building up on the street level, protecting water from seeping towards your property.
  9. Protect your valuables: If your home is prone to water damage, consider moving valuables away from high-risk areas such as the basement, or place items on high shelves or risers.
  10. Start right: If you are finishing your basement, make sure to seal your exterior walls.

“Without taking such precautions, homeowners could put their homes and family belongings at great risk,” states the Aviva release.

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Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.