Insurance Risk – Have Your Home Checked When Away

Insurance companies in Canada may limit or void your homeowner coverage if you failed to recognize your obligations and did not take proactive steps to manage the risk.  This is certainly the case with the most common coverage exclusion – water damage as a result of leaking or burst pipe.

Canadian insurance policies state that the homeowner must provide proof that they proactively managed the risk of water damage if they have been away for more than four days during the typical heating season.  Therefore, if you plan on being away, you are obligated to take preventative action regarding the possibility of a leaking or burst pipe. For example, turn off the water at the main valve, lower the heat but keep it on above freezing, and have an adult check the property on a regular basis.

The earlier any interior water damage is detected, the lesser the overall damage and cost of repairs

It’s wise to follow some good precautions prior to going away for any extended period of time.  Here are some suggestions:

  • turn off the main water supply
  • drain the water by opening the faucet at the lowest level in the house – usually the basement bathroom
  • turn the dial on the hot water tank to “vacation” mode
  • keep the heat on to prevent freezing
  • have a trustworthy and competent adult check the home at least twice a week.
  • ensure your home check inspector maintains a log of all visits