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Home Insurance in Ontario: How to Safeguard Your Property Against Water Damage

Home Insurance in Ontario Pays for Covered Water Damage Claims

January, 13 2022

Water damage can develop suddenly or start slowly and get worse with time, and depending on the source of the water, home insurance in Ontario may offer some assistance with the damage.

Damage caused by water can enter your home from the outside or be due to a leak from the inside.

During the winter months, water damage can be especially damaging and dangerous. By making sure you have the right home insurance coverages and taking steps to prevent water damage, your home can be safe and claim-free until the spring thaw appears.

How Can Water Damage Affect My Home?

The primary reason water damages homes is because water is considered a universal solvent. It dissolves more substances than any other liquid.

Three types of water that can damage your home include clean water, gray water, and black water.

Clean water, rainwater, or water from snow or ice can damage your home due to an interior leak or a leak from the outside to the inside of your home. Clean water is usually due to overland flooding, where water overflows onto dry land after an excessive rainfall or snowmelt.

Gray water is wastewater from your sinks and washing machines. It refers to water that has been used for cleaning purposes within the house.

Black water is a mixture of sewage and flush water from toilets, drains, and septic systems.

Small leaks often begin slowly, and they are not always easily detectable at first. If you look closely, you may notice minor cracks in walls, ceilings, or floors, or water staining on wall coverings. Over time, small leaks can become big leaks, and when they do, they can become big problems.

How severe the problem becomes depends on the type of construction materials used to build your home and the kind of water that caused the damage.

Here is a list of what water damage can do:

  • Leave a bad odor
  • Cause wood rot
  • Damage walls, floors, and ceilings
  • Weaken the home’s foundation and structure
  • Damage appliances, furnaces, air conditioning units, and electrical systems
  • Attract bugs, snakes, and rodents
  • Cause health concerns for members of the household

Does Home Insurance in Ontario Cover Water Damage?

How bad can water damage be? According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the average catastrophic loss for homeowners is $2 billion and most of it is due to water damage.

That is not to say all catastrophic losses were covered by home insurance in Ontario for homeowners who live there.

Homeowners insurance in Ontario is designed to cover water damage losses that are sudden and accidental. Home insurance policies also have various exclusions for water damage that policyholders should be aware of.

Because of the heavy amounts of snow and ice, homeowners insurance in Ontario is designed to cover a reasonable amount of overland flood damage due to snowmelt and stormwater. Your home insurance policy will usually also cover damage caused by water that entered your home due to an opening resulting from wind, hail, fallen trees, or flying debris.

Home insurance in Ontario that covers all perils (all-risk) will also cover water damage to vehicles that are damaged by wind, hail, or water. This is optional coverage on some policies.

However, home insurance in Ontario contains certain exclusions. If water escapes because your pipes freeze, the ensuing damage may not be covered, depending on your policy.

Water that backs up through sewers or drains is also a typical exclusion on home insurance policies, but it is often available as additional coverage.

If your home insurance policy includes additional living expenses, your insurance company will pay for the additional costs for you to live in temporary housing until it is safe to return home.

How Will a Water Damage Claim Impact My Home Insurance in Ontario?

It is wise to consider whether it is prudent to file a home insurance claim, especially if the damages are not much more than your deductible. A home insurance claim affects your risk score, gets recorded on a central database, and could increase your home insurance in Ontario.

In Canada, the Habitational Insurance Tracking System records all claims into its database, and insurance companies have access to the details. Claims may remain on the database for 5-10 years or more.

Due to the rising cost of home insurance claims, home insurance in Ontario rates are increasing to account for billions of payouts for home insurance losses. Thus, it is often best to pay for smaller claims out of your pocket to avoid having too many claims on your record at once.

High-level claims, along with increasing catastrophic events, more expensive homes, and aging infrastructures, are causing insurance companies in Ontario to reevaluate how they offer home insurance.

Water Damage Is Common When the Weather Changes

As warm weather turns cold, Ontario residents have many tasks to protect their cars and homes. Sometimes, working to prevent water damage takes a backseat to other priorities. That is a mistake that could cost a large sum.

While home insurance in Ontario covers many types of water insurance, you do not want to have a claim that you are not prepared for and is not covered by insurance.

During heavy winters, ice damming is a common problem for Ontario homeowners. Ice dams form when there are repeated periods of melting and freezing of ice and snow on your roof and in your gutters.

Snow acts as insulation on your roof. While snow warms your attic, the heat causes the snow to melt. Water then rolls down your roof and soffits. Without proper drainage, the water freezes and creates ice dams. Ice dams can become problematic when the water works its way under your shingles and starts leaking into your home. In a vicious cycle, water weakens your insulation, warm air rises into the attic, and the ice dam grows more.

In the very worst cases, ice dams can cause mold to grow in your home and cause breathing problems for residents. Moreover, severe damage due to ice damming is expensive to repair in labor and materials.

How To Prevent Water Claims on Home Insurance in Ontario

Each year in the fall or when your home insurance policy renews, it makes sense to assess your risk of water claims.

We have put together the following list of valuable tips for preventing water claims on your home insurance policy:

  • Remove excess snow from the roof using a roof rake or hire a professional to do the job.
  • Clean out your gutters and downspouts in the fall when the weather is warmer.
  • Break off icicles that hang from your roof and gutters.
  • Hire a roof inspector to evaluate the airflow in your attic and make recommendations for improving exhaust fans, air ducts, chimneys, and attic hatches.
  • Clear snow from 5-6 feet away from your home.
  • Inspect downspouts to make sure they are connected and extend away from the home.
  • Seal, caulk, and paint exterior wood.
  • Install water sensors that alert you of water leaks with electronic notifications.
  • Make sure the soil is high enough around your foundation so water will not pool around it, and shovel dirt over low spots.


How To Submit a Water Damage Claim on Home Insurance in Ontario

As soon as you have decided to pursue making a claim on your home insurance in Ontario, call your insurance company. Most companies accept claims around the clock.

Provide the insurance representative with as many details as possible. Take photos of any damage. Keep a list of all the items that were damaged or destroyed. Create a file for receipts, warranties, and proof of purchase for all items you buy. Do not dispose of any items or materials unless they pose a health hazard.

Keep receipts for additional living expenses such as housing, food, and other expenses. Your policy may reimburse you for them. Be cooperative and responsive with your claims adjuster when they ask for information.

Final Thoughts

Snow and ice return every winter in Ontario, creating beauty everywhere. While it is nice to watch the snowfall, melting snow and ice can cause damage to your home. You have a responsibility to maintain your home to the best of your ability, and your home insurance in Ontario will handle the costs for covered losses described in your policy.

Contact Duliban Insurance to learn more about home insurance coverage and get a quote today!

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