How to prevent water damage

2 min.

Water damage represents nearly 50% of home insurance claims. Here are some tips to avoid unpleasant surprises.

When speaking about water damage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

To avoid water damage, here are some home maintenance items to include on your yearly to-do list a few times a year:

  • Check the condition of your water heater to see if it is rusted. It is recommended that you change it every 10 years to avoid leaks
  • Clean out downspouts and empty out any dead leaves to ensure water doesn’t back up
  • Close outdoor taps before the winter and put away garden hoses after emptying the water

Take precautions when going away

Water damage often occurs when no one is home. This only makes it worse, since no one is there to react quickly and stop the damage. As a result, the water damage can spread unchecked, making a bad situation worse. Here are a few tips to prevent water damage in these cases:

  • Shut off your main water valve and empty the pipes if you’re away from home for a few days
  • Don’t leave your dishwasher or washing machine running while you are away
  • Keep the heat on low if you go away during the winter so your pipes won’t freeze

It’s important to have good home insurance coverage

Did you know that 48% of home insurance claims are caused by water damage,1 making this the #1 cause of home insurance losses? Be sure that your insurance policy covers this.

Some water-related damage is automatically covered under your policy, such as flooding from a water main break, a sewer break or a household appliance malfunction.

However, some water-related damage is not covered by every insurance policy. To be properly protected, ensure that your home insurance covers things such as sewer backup, water ingress or water inlet break. As well, the insurance amounts for each of these coverages should be high enough to cover the damage to your house.

Are you a tenant?

There’s a waterfall in your downstairs neighbour’s apartment because your bathtub overflowed or a pipe burst. As a renter, you are responsible for the water damage you cause your neighbours. So it is important to have tenants’ home insurance that will provide coverage for water damage. Even though water leaks occur frequently and cause lots of damage, there are ways to prevent them by staying on top of things. And with good home insurance, you will have peace of mind even if you have a water-related claim.

1 Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)


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