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Your 3 top pieces of advice to homeowners to prevent flood | Canadian Insurance
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Your 3 top pieces of advice to homeowners to prevent flood

Your book of business could have lower water losses if you give homeowner clients just three pieces of advice.

After assessing about 450 homes for flood risk, the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, which is based at the University of Waterloo, found that many home insurance water losses can be prevented by people doing three main things.

First, homeowners should figure out whether their home actually has a backwater valve, said Cheryl Evans, director of the home flood protection program at the Intact Centre.

Second, in addition to checking for a backwater valve – and, if it is already being used, properly maintaining it – homeowners should also make sure the downspout extends at least six feet from the foundation.

The third measure relates to the sump pump. Homeowners should make sure their sump pumps are actually working and that they have backup batteries.

There is a course available in Toronto on home flood risk assessment.  While the course intended to educate home inspectors on flood risk, it is also useful for insurance professionals such as brokers and claims adjusters. A “huge part” of the training is to help professionals advise homeowners on insurance coverage.

Many homeowners do not understand what their insurance does and does not cover, said Evans. For example,  “most people don’t know that if you are away from your home without having someone check your home for four days, you don’t get coverage.”

In a separate effort to help educate homeowners, Intact Centre is subsidizing the Toronto Home Resilience Pilot Program, launched this past July.

Participants can have their home inspected and the homeowner only has to pay $95 of the $450 cost per inspection. Also subsidizing the program is the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The pilot program is taking a maximum of 200 participants. Toronto Home Resilience Pilot Program “aims to help home owners secure the insurability of their homes, and to keep their insurance premiums affordable,” Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre, says.