What you need to know about Water Damage


Water damage has drastically increased in severity and frequency over the past 10 years.  The increase in the number of water damage claims that are processed each year has resulted in an increase in property insurance premiums, an increase in minimum policy deductibles, and depreciating property values.


We thought it may be helpful to provide some information on the common types of water damage, the main reasons for the increase in the number of claims, and what can be done to help minimize or prevent claims from occurring in the first place.


Common types of water damage claims:

  • broken pipes
  • overflowing toilets
  • rupturing of appliance hoses
  • leaky hot water tanks
  • leaky roofs
  • sewer backup
  • drainage system backup


Reasons for water damage claims:

  • appliances are not being maintained or replaced
  • less people are at home during the day
  • more expensive materials are being used in home finishing
  • more refrigerators have ice makers/water dispensers
  • more homes have laundry upstairs as opposed to in the basement
  • more basements are developed
  • many people live in areas prone to sewer backup


Reasons for basements to flood:

  • leaks or cracks in the foundation
  • poor drainage
  • failure of the weeping tiles
  • leaking or blocked down spouts
  • blocked pipes between the home and sewer
  • failure of the hot water heater
  • worn hoses on the washing machine (if located in the basement)


In addition to causing immediate damage to your dwelling and personal property, frequent flooding or water issues can cause long-term damage to the building.   It can also create a risk for mold to develop, resulting in respiratory and other health problems.  So what can be done?  There are quite a few steps you can take to minimize or eliminate the risk of water damage to your home.


Reducing the risk of water damage:

  • regularly inspect all of the plumbing for leaks or cracks
  • replace older plumbing
  • regularly inspect older appliances
  • replace appliances once they reach their life expectancy
  • install backflow valves
  • replace old worn rubber hoses
  • install active monitors that can alert you in the event of a leak
  • purchase and install a hydrometer, which measures the moisture in the home
  • upgrade to energy efficient windows which support a higher level of humidity


Many forms of water damage are covered under your property insurance policy.  In response to the 2013 Alberta Floods, most Insurance Companies are now offering (or are in the process of introducing) overland water coverage.  If you would like to learn more about your coverage or do a review of your insurance policies, please contact our Office and one of our knowledgeable Insurance Brokers would be happy to assist you!


For additional information, please check out the following links:




Thank you,

The Costen & Associates Team