Spring flooding – Protect Your Home

The article below has some great information and tips for those of us who live on the flood plains of British Columbia.  Make sure you have the information so you can protect your family and their precious belongings.

High risk of spring flood in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: Insurance Bureau of Canada urges homeowners to take preventive action

VANCOUVER, Feb. 28 /CNW/ – After a wet fall and snow-filled winter, experts are forecasting a high probability for a spring flood in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds homeowners that while overland flooding is not covered by insurance, there are ways to protect their belongings from water damage.

“Now is the time to start preparing for a potential spring flood,” said Lindsay Olson, Vice-President, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, IBC. “There are steps homeowners can take to minimize the potential for damage to their properties arising from the spring thaw.”

IBC also applauds the provincial governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba for proactively taking preventive measures to address flood concerns.

Five tips to help prevent water damage before the spring thaw arrives:

  • Move valuable items from the basement to upper floors
  • Make sure floor drains are always free of obstructions
  • *Install a sump pump; if you already have one make sure it’s in working order
  • *Install a sewer backflow valve to prevent water from entering the home
  • Check the grading around your home and address any concerns (ie: ground sloping towards the house).

* Talk to your municipal government to clarify any local requirements before installing sump pumps and/or backflow valves.

Olson encourages individuals to start thinking about the spring thaw and begin taking the proper measures to protect their properties against a potential flood. Since overland flooding cannot be covered by home insurance, homeowners are urged to take preventive action now.

“The objective of insurance is to assess risk and then spread it accordingly among many policyholders,” said Olson. “And since overland flooding is a risk for only a small percentage of homeowners, flood insurance would simply be unaffordable for this small group of people.”

“But not all water damage is a result of overland flooding or water seepage; some is a result of sewer backup,” added Ms. Olson. “And because sewer backups are a reality and concern for many homeowners, installing sump pumps and sewer backflow valves is a smart, proactive way to reduce the risk of water damage in the basement.” Coverage for this type of damage might be available, but must be purchased as an add-on to a homeowner’s policy.

IBC encourages homeowners to review their policies now and contact their insurance representative to verify what coverage they have.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.

15 Mar | No replies

Contents Insurance – How Much Do I Need? How Do I Protect My Stuff?

This is definitely not a comprehensive training session on the topic, just a few guidelines to help that my agent never told me and I’ve seen people learn the hard way from my years as a restoration contractor.

First let’s talk about your stuff. Once a year (I do this just after Christmas) go through every room and photograph every single thing you own. Start with big perspective pictures and then open every drawer as you get to the small stuff. Don’t forget all the stuff in the garage, garden shed and the trunk of your car. Go through every picture to ensure it is in focus, zooming in to see the brand and model # is good. That $1500 suit/dress only flies if you also photo the ‘tag’. Having the receipt is better but not critical. The point is to prove what you had, how much you have and the quality.

Just having a draw that holds 400 CD’s doesn’t ‘prove’ you had 399 Cd’s. Saying that DVD collection was 250 will only fly if you have pictures that when zoomed in show 250 titles. The difference in cost between the underwear drawer being full of Victoria’s Secret vs Walmart can be $1000.

Now make a written list of all ‘real’ jewelry and ‘real’ art and ‘real’ valuable stuff. Include identifiers such as serial numbers, certificates of authenticity, and valuations/receipts of purchase. Most policies have rather low limits on this kind of thing and you don’t want that $3500 mountain bike/diamond earrings to limit out on your policy at $500. If you want coverage that exceeds the policy limits for these kinds of items, they must be ‘declared’ and the insurance company will probably require some extra premium.

Since insurance is mostly replacement cost, you need to add up what it would cost to replace absolutely everything with like, kind and quality. You may have purchased something on sale, but if your house burns and you need to stock your new residence with even the basics, you don’t have time to shop every sale.

So that’s how to figure out how much you need.

Another point to remember is that the insurance company doesn’t insure emotional distress or sentimental value. That painting by Gramma might mean a lot to you but if it’s stolen (God knows why), the insurance company will only replace the value of the frame and canvas. That also goes for your ‘little darlings’ kindergarten art that you shadow boxed. There are often items that you attach value to that the insurance company (or anyone else for that matter) don’t. What can you do to protect those? Well, that’s what security companies get rich doing and they have lots of different ideas about how to best do that. How you protect it depends on what you’re trying to protect from.

Water – store items in Rubbermaid containers NOT cardboard boxes ALWAYS. Water damage doesn’t just happen on the bottom floor or crawlspace.

Fire – Have copies of all important documents scanned and saved on your computer at work, or a portable storage device. That goes for all old negatives and all new digital pics too.

Security – remember the adage “Locks are for honest people”. Any home is easily broken into by any one who wants to enter. But if you make it harder then your neighbor, well than…..      Layer your security efforts by how hard it is to replace. There’s lots of other ways but I figure that’s what insurance is for. Your stamp/coin collection should be in a safe that’s hidden. Having said that, a friend sunk his safe into his crawlspace cement, had over $50k in a collection and lost it all when his house flooded (the safe wasn’t waterproof).

4 Nov | 1 reply

Contents Insurance – Is it Necessary?

The short answer is YES!

The long answer is because if you do not have it, you are S.O.L. should a disaster befall your place of residence.  Whether you are the home owner or a tenant; Especially if you are a tenant, you need to have coverage for your personal belongings.

In the restoration business we see all too often insurance claims where a fire or flood has happened and the tenant mistakenly assumed that the homeowner (landlord’s) home insurance will cover their damaged or destroyed belonging.  This unfortunately is not the case.  The homeowners insurance only covered the building itself and any permanent fixtures and fittings.  We desperately want the help the distraught tenant who has just found their favorite couch, TV, computer, area rug, 1 million stuffed animals or heirloom photograph damaged… BUT we can’t.

You MUST insure your personal belongings.  We cannot restore your precious belongings through the damage claim without it.  We can only offer to help at a direct cost to you.

Personal  story… I moved into a basement suite a few years ago. Amidst all the other things going on at the time my tenants insurance was completely forgotten.  I came home on a sunny Friday afternoon, from a wonderful day at Science World with my kids, to discover my landlord and his wife standing in my driveway. “You can’t go in the house” they say. Why Not? I ask. “We were broken into and are waiting for the police to arrive. They entered your suite so you have to wait for them to get here.” WHAT!!!

I lost everything of value that the Friggin’ low life thieves could carry. Cd’s, DVD’s, my entire Jewelry box .. They even stole my duffel bag to carry it in.  And guess what… I was completely out of luck. No insurance.

18 Oct | 2 replies

PROPERTY INSURANCE RIGHTS – Things they don’t want you the know

Have you had a property damage insurance claim in Vancouver, BC? You need to understand something…. I just read this on the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp) website under “What To Do After A Fire

Your insurance company may suggest specific firms with which they have established relationships.  But it is not only your right to choose the best contractors and to ensure that they do the work promptly and well – it is your responsibility.

Do you see that… YOUR RIGHT …… YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!!  Many homeowners do not realize they have the right to choose who they want to restore and repair their home.  Often the contractor chosen by the adjuster just shows up and ‘takes over’, other times the adjuster and contractor show up together.  It is interesting to note that ‘sophisticated’ property owners rarely use the company ‘chosen’ by their insurer but rather qualify and have pre-arranged service agreements with contractors that they have chosen. To see why many property managers have chosen Genesis, visit our site at www.genesisrestorations.com . I’m Graham Dick, your restoration specialist at Genesis Restorations in Vancouver, BC.

9 Aug | No replies