After a long winter, most of us welcome spring with open arms. As the temperature rises, snow begins to melt and rain starts to fall overhead, excess water can cause a lot of problems. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, an estimated $1 billion has become the new “normal” for yearly catastrophic losses, mostly due to water-related damage. If you live in an area prone to flooding or sewer backups during winter thaw, here are some steps you can take to protect your home and property.
Inside your home
- Keep a detailed and up-to-date inventory of all your valuable possessions.
- Don’t store valuable items in the basement.
- Use water-resistant building materials.
- Install a sump-pump with backup battery power.
- If flooding is a possibility, cut electricity to areas of your home that could be affected.
- Use sandbags or flood shields around basement windows and doors.
- Repair cracks in your home’s ceilings, walls, foundation and driveway.
- Don’t store hazardous materials like paint, oil and cleaning supplies in the basement. In the event of flooding, they can leak and can create an environmental hazard.
- Know where the water main shut-off valve is located in your home.
Outside your home
- If possible, grade the landscaping around your home to allow water to drain away from your home instead of toward it.
- Landscape with plants and vegetation that will resist soil erosion.
- Relocate snow at least 3 to 5 feet away from the exterior foundation.
- Check your gutters and downspouts to prevent water from seeping into attics, walls and the foundation.
- Make sure downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from basement walls.
- Maintain your patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven’t settled over time.
Other ways to prepare
- Talk to your children about what they should do in the event that you’re away from home during flooding.
- Have an emergency preparedness kit for each person in your household in the event of evacuation.
- Come up with a plan for your pets. If you do need to evacuate, your pets may not be allowed in temporary or emergency shelters.
- If you plan on going on vacation for more than 4 consecutive days, your insurance policy may require that you have somebody check your property on a regular basis. Choose a trusted friend, family member or neighbour who can check on your home when you’re away.
Do you have questions about your home insurance policies? Let’s get in touch.