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In the last week, three major water main breaks have created chaos and damage to both residents and commercial properties. The water main break that broke in Burnaby was the second one this year. A street became a river in Surrey, after a water main burst on Tuesday morning. And in downtown along West Georgia and Hornby streets, a significant water main breach will have lanes closed for months. The challenge with water main breaks is they are spontaneous and create significant damage in a very short period of time.  It takes time for city workers to arrive and get this type of breach under control. The amount of water flowing is substantial. So the best thing for any home or business owner is to be prepared.

Do your insurance homework

Our very own Sr Account Executive, Laurie Kay, tells Vancouver Sun reporter, Claudia Kwan, that it really pays to do your homework before you buy or renew your insurance policy – either home or business. Find a broker who asks lots of questions. An insurance policy is not something you want to penny-pinch. It is key for the broker to really understand your risks and recommend the correct product at the right price for your individual circumstances. “We all know insurance is complicated, but that is where we come into the picture, we spend our days understanding risks and the coverages from various underwriters, so we can explain it in plain language and help you make the best decisions”, explains Laurie Kay.

Water damage is the leading cause of insurance claims

Fire is essentially a universally covered peril, but it’s worth reading the fine print on your insurance policy when it comes to water damage. To a homeowner, flooding is flooding (and equally terrible). An insurer considers whether it’s from a burst pipe, a leaky pipe, water seeping up from underground, or water coming overland from a nearby body of water or a storm; all of this can affect whether the damage is covered by insurance.

Water damage has now exceeded fire claims and is exponentially on the rise. The costs of extreme weather and catastrophic losses in Canada totalled $5.5 billion in 2017. Homeowners need to think about what additional water coverage to buy, and whether the cost is worth it. The same goes for earthquake coverage and earthquake deductible buydown insurance.

Be prepared is the best way to mitigate water damage

With so many water-related taking precautions can help mitigate water damage. Think of it as your emergency plan for water ingress. Top 5 tips:

  1. Be prepared – have the pipes and sewer connections checked annual and keep HVAC systems, water appliances and your external structure in good repair.
  2. Know how your water system works on the premises. How do you turn off water valves?
  3. Have preventative devices installed such as water sensors and automatic shut-off valves.
  4. Have a water mitigation plan for your family and or co-workers so they know what to do in our absence.
  5. Prepare your belonging in waterproof containers and have an emergency plan in the case of a catastrophic event.

One of the most vulnerable areas of your property will be the basement. There are many tactics to employ before a flooding incident in order to best protect your belongings as well as keep the damage to a minimum. These easy steps can help to keep overall insurance rates down. Find out more about smart tips basement flooding prevention. 

Water damage and floods can occur anytime without warning. Having the correct water and flood insurance can make a world of difference should a water event occur. Talk to a Reliance agent before your next renewal.


Vancouver Sun: Doing your homework pays off for home insurance

CTV News: Homes damaged in surrey after broken water main floods neighborhood

CTV News: Homes in Burnaby flooded after a water main break

CTV News: Downtown Vancouver water main break leading to lengthy lane closures

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