Water damage to your home can take on many different forms: a leak in your hot water heater a frozen pipe that bursts or leaks through your foundation walls. However the most frequent source of water damage to Canadian homes is through sewer back-ups .
A sewer back-up occurs when your municipal drainage system overflows and sends water back through the pipes and into your home. This can happen for a variety of reasons but the most common is when a large amount of water either from heavy rainfall or from a large snow melt overwhelms the sewer system. This causes a system-wide failure that pushes the excess water back up the pipes and into your home.
Given that many of our basements are no longer unfinished concrete storage rooms the result of this water and sewage damage can be quite devastating—destroyed furniture rotting floors and mold spores are just a few of the issues—and the costs of repair and replacement can be astronomical.
The key to mitigating both the damage and the cost is immediate and proper clean-up—and this can be costly. Prevention and protection are invaluable as well.
Protecting Your Home
The good news is you can protect your home with sewer back-up insurance. By adding this extra insurance coverage to your home insurance policy you protect your home and your belongings from claim costs that arise from a back-up or discharge from a sewer or storm drain as well as all claims due to an overflow from a septic tank or sump.
While prices for this additional coverage vary from province to province and city to city a typical sewer back-up rider will cost anywhere from $50 to $1 500 extra per year. Consider it a cost-effective solution that will prevent you from shelling out $5 000 to $50 000 should your basement become damaged due to a sewer back-up.
Keep in mind though not all water damage is covered under your home insurance policy. Sewer back-up is often paired with overland water or flood insurance. Since every policy is different and your home insurance coverage needs can change it’s best to speak to your insurance broker. They can help review your current needs and confirm you have the best coverage to suit those needs.
You may also get a break on your home insurance premiums if you proactively try and avoid a sewer back-up. That’s because the cost of prevention will always be significantly cheaper than paying for the damage .
There are several things you can do to prevent sewer back-up from destroying your home and property:
Install sump pumps and check regularly to ensure they are in good working order.
Install back-flow valves in your home.
Ensure that your property has good drainage which means all dirt and landscaping slopes away from your home’s foundation.
Plug all drains and toilets during extremely heavy rainfall.
Keep all of your eaves troughs and downspouts clean and clear to allow proper drainage.
Don’t forget to carry out regular maintenance on these mitigation measures and ensure they’re clean and in good working order.Home water alarmscan help alert you and flash flood protective measures can also aid in preventing sewer back-up.
In some cases especially extreme ones back-up might not be preventable but the damage can at the very least be minimized with these precautions.
Since rates and coverage caps can vary widely from company to company it’s best to talk to an independent insurance broker about your needs. A broker will be able to help you get the best coverage at the right price.