Key Insights on Home Insurance & Water Damage


Were you aware that leaving your home vacant for four days or more during a vacation could result in your home insurance not covering damages caused by a burst pipe? This lesson became apparent to some residents of British Columbia following a recent cold spell. While most homeowner insurance policies include coverage for damage resulting from burst or frozen pipes (excluding damage to the pipes themselves), there's a significant caveat.

During the heating season, as stated in nearly every policy, if your pipes freeze and result in water damage while you've been away from your house for more than four consecutive days, the insurance may not cover the water damage.

However, you can safeguard your coverage by managing the risk. One way to do this is to have a responsible person check your home daily to ensure the heat is on and there is no water damage.

Another precaution is to turn off the water and drain your toilets before leaving. Letting the taps run until there's no water left in them can minimize potential damage. In this way, you manage the risk, and even if a pipe freezes, the resulting water damage is likely to be minimal.

Regardless of weather, If you are leaving your home for a long period of time, it's a good idea to turn off main water supply as pipes can leak for various reasons.

Additionally, consider investing in a monitored alarm system for water damage. This ensures a swift response in case of an issue, with someone attending to turn off the water promptly.

Condo owners face complexities depending on personal insurance and strata coverage. Unit owners are often responsible for pipes within their dwelling, but strata unit bylaws can influence the extent of this responsibility. Carefully reviewing policies and strata corporation documents is essential.

When it comes to water damage claims, deductibles can be substantial. It's advised to discuss coverage options, risks, and deductibles thoroughly with insurance professionals or brokers. Those running businesses from home should also inquire about the right insurance to replace any damaged items.

Renters are urged to consider tenant's insurance, which may cost a few hundred dollars per year but provides liability coverage. This coverage can protect against legal liabilities for damages caused by the tenant, such as floods or fires, ensuring financial protection and a place to live.

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