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Personal Insurance > Home & Property Insurance > Education Centre > Prevent and Minimize Property Damage > Water Damage

Water Damage

From burst pipes to sewer backup, the potential for water damage in Canadian homes is fairly significant. In fact, water damage accounts for over 50% of all home insurance claims1. The good news is there are steps you can take to help prevent water damage to your home and belongings.

You are on: Preventing Water Damage

Water damage is the single biggest cause for insurance claims in Canada. Find out how to prevent water damage in your home.


You are on: Typical Causes of Water Damage

Typical Causes of Water Damage

Water damage is one of the most common types of damage that can affect a home. Damage can be caused by a number of different factors, so knowing the possible causes can go a long way toward protecting your home.

Here are the typical causes of water damage:

  • Appliance and indoor plumbing incidents. Includes sudden and accidental water escaping from an indoor plumbing, sprinkler or air-conditioning system, an indoor appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine.
  • Sewer and sump backups. For example, wastewater in the sewer system or the failure of a sump pump which backs up into the home.
  • Water seepage. Most commonly caused by groundwater seeping through cracks in the basement floors or walls, or from cracks in the roof, windows or doors.
  • Water escape. Water damage that may be caused suddenly and accidentally when your bath or sink overflows or a pipe or hose inside your house breaks.
  • Flooding. Caused by water entering your home from natural sources such as lakes and rivers, or large amounts of pooled water.

You are on: Spring Water Damage Prevention Tips

Spring Water Damage Prevention Tips

The Canadian spring brings about one of the heaviest periods of rainfall of the year. And because in many parts of the country the ground is still frozen from the winter months, it may not be able to absorb the additional water that rainfall can bring. This combination leads to an increased potential for water damage in and around your home.

Fortunately, most water damage caused by April showers is preventable. Here are some measures you can take to keep your home safe, inside and out.

Prevention Tips: Outside Your Home

  • Install rain barrels near downspouts to collect water from rainfall. These help avoid excessive water in taxed sewage systems.
  • Maintain your eavestroughs, and keep them clear of debris.
  • Install downspout disconnections, extensions and splash pads, and always have water flow away from your home.
  • Make sure your roof is in good condition and that shingles are secure. A general rule of thumb is to repair or replace your roof every 15-20 years.
  • Check that all of your windows and doors are secure at least once a year, and re-caulk as needed to help prevent water infiltration.

Prevention Tips: Inside Your Home

  • Install a backflow valve in your basement to help avoid sewage backing up into your home during heavy rainstorms.
  • If you’re going away for more than a couple of days, have someone check on your home regularly and ask them to look for any water leakage in the basement or ceilings.
  • Seal cracks in foundation walls and basement floor.
  • Reduce home water use during heavy rainfalls.

You are on: Winter Water Damage Prevention Tips

Winter Water Damage Prevention Tips

Prevent frozen pipes

Here’s how to help prevent the water inside your pipes from freezing, and avoid the damage that may be caused if a frozen pipe bursts.

Expand - Preventing frozen pipes Preventing frozen pipes

Expand - If a pipe freezes If a pipe freezes

Expand - If a water pipe bursts If a water pipe bursts

Prevent potential flooding by melting snow and ice

When the spring thaw arrives, here’s how to keep melting snow and ice from entering your home.

  • Shovel snow away from your house so that when it melts it doesn't leak into the foundation.
  • Clear snow away from sewers so that melting snow has a place to go.
  • Safely clear ice and snow out of clogged gutters and drains, from around downspouts and direct flow away from walkways and entrances.
  • Have someone professionally remove large accumulations of snow and clear roof vents to prevent water damage to roof.
  • As pipes begin to thaw keep an eye out for leaks.
  • Check your basement regularly for any water entry from sewer drains.
  • Ensure that basement wall and floor cracks are properly sealed, along with basement windows and doors.
  • If you have a finished basement, make sure you have sufficient coverage to protect it from water damage. Try the Basement Water Damage Coverage Calculator (opens new window) to see if you need extra protection.

You are on: Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding

Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding

As more and more Canadians expand their living space to include all levels of the home, basement flooding becomes a greater concern—not to mention a significant inconvenience for homeowners.

Find out how to avoid flooding in your basement, and your neighbours’ basements, in this helpful report published by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR).

Download Handbook 

You are on: What Does Water Damage Look Like?

What Does Water Damage Look Like?

Click on the thumbnail images below to get a closer look at actual examples of water damage:

Burst Pipes from Freezing

Clogged Gutters/Eavestroughs

Basement Water Leak

Frozen Downspout

Icicles Hanging From Eaves

Icicles On a Roof

Roof Ice Dam

Small Icicle

Water Damage

Water Damaged Basement


You are on: Minimizing Water Damage

If your home has suffered water damage, acting promptly is the key to keeping damage to a minimum and reducing the harmful effects of unwanted water in your home.

Expand - What to Do to Minimize Water Damage What to Do to Minimize Water Damage

Expand - What NOT to Do if You Have Water Damage What NOT to Do if You Have Water Damage

1) Insurance Bureau of Canada

Protect yourself against overland water damage. Learn More.

Need Help?

If you have any questions about your home insurance coverage, including making a claim, please call for assistance:

  • 1-800-769-2526
    (toll free)
  • 905-606-8945
    (collect from anywhere)
  • #722 on a Bell or Rogers cell phone
Have a basement? Make sure you’re sufficiently protected against water damage. Try the Calculator >