Canadian Direct Insurance

Canadian Direct Insurance

November 04, 2014 08:00 ET

Alberta Homeowners Neglecting Indoor Water Damage Threats

Water damage insurance claims more common than fire, theft

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Nov. 4, 2014) - Winter is coming! Fewer than one-quarter (23 per cent) of Alberta homeowners and tenants polled by Canadian Direct Insurance cite water damage as a top concern. Yet water damage - typically due to burst pipes - is one of the most common causes of loss paid out by insurance companies.

Most homeowners regularly have their gutters cleaned and roof inspected. But when it comes to indoor water threats, such as leaky appliances, fewer than half have their dishwasher and washing machine inspected.

Here's what Albertans are doing to protect their home from water damage:


  • Gutter cleaning - 66 per cent
  • Roof inspection - 63 per cent
  • Appliance inspection - 52 per cent

"Your appliances and hot water tank should be checked regularly for corrosion and tight connections," says Karen Hopkins-Lee, Chief Underwriter at Canadian Direct. "Busy homeowners or condo owners can easily overlook routine maintenance. But despite what many people think, water damage claims are more likely than both fire and theft. Many of our customers' water damage claims are the result of indoor plumbing, such as water tanks for toilets or water lines connected to your dishwasher bursting."

What's covered? What's not?

Water damage resulting from sudden or extreme events is typically covered by your home insurance policy. Leaking roofs and clogged eaves, which are the most common sources of outside water damage, are likely not covered because the problem ultimately resulted from lack of maintenance.

Going out of town?

Approximately three-quarters (70 per cent) of Alberta homeowners arrange to have someone check their home for water leaks when traveling for longer than a weekend. Remember to contact your insurance company if you are traveling, to understand any limitations or conditions of your home insurance policy while you are away.

Flooded basements are another common problem during any rainy season, and though flood is not usually insured in Canada, you may have coverage for sewer or water back up from a sewer, storm drain, or sump tank. Make sure you review your policy, or ask your insurance advisor or broker what coverage you have for sewer or water back up - and whether there are separate limitations or deductibles if you have a sewer back up claim.

How common are home insurance claims?

More Alberta homeowners than tenants surveyed have previously made a home insurance claim:


  • Homeowners: 30%
  • Tenants: 4%


  • Clean your gutters annually, and get your roof inspected every 10 years.
  • Check indoor appliance hoses for wear and corrosion. Use steel-braided instead of plastic hoses.
  • Winterize outdoor faucets to avoid frozen pipes: Turn off valves to outdoor faucets from inside the home, then drain the pipe by opening the external faucet.
  • Check your dryer vent. If your clothes aren't drying properly, moisture may be collecting inside your home rather than venting outside.
  • Advise your insurance company of home improvements such as basement upgrades, so the replacement cost is reflected accordingly in your policy.
  • Ensure adequate venting in your attic and other crawl spaces.
  • Familiarize yourself with shut-off valves for your home's primary water supply and indoor plumbing.

About the survey

A recent online survey was conducted among homeowners and renters. The results have been statistically weighted according to age and gender. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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