Top Tips for Preventing Water Damage

October 31, 2012

Home InsuranceWater damage is a tricky area when it comes to insurance coverage, with some types being covered under a home policy and others excluded. Whatever the reason or the coverage, the most important thing to consider when it comes to water damage is how to prevent it from happening in the first place. And with the recent storms that occurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. These tips will prevent water damage from occurring, so that homeowners don’t find themselves facing a claim.

Water damage to a home can be a very expensive problem to fix, especially if the cause of the damage falls outside the coverage area of the home insurance policy. Fortunately, a lot of types of water damage can be prevented with a few simple tips. has the simple fixes and things to look out for to protect a home from various types of water damage.

Outdoor Sources of Damage

Water damage on the inside often comes from the outside. While flash floods and other natural disasters can’t be predicted, it is possible to make certain that ground water and rain water drain properly from the property in order to avoid damage as much as possible.

Proper drainage is key to keeping water out of a home. A professional may be needed to ensure that the land is draining properly. It’s also important to make sure gutters and spouts are clear and functioning properly to keep rainfall from turning into a problem. Keep the roof of the home in a state of good repair as well to prevent leaks from above into the house that could cause major damage. “Wear and tear and poor maintenance on things like roofs and gutters are not covered under home insurance policies,” states Tammy Ezer of It’s up to homeowners to keep up on maintenance.

Protecting a Home from Within

Within the home, water damage often results from slow leaks in the plumbing or from sudden discharge of water as a result of a burst pipe. It can also result from backup during times of heavy rainfall. There are some steps homeowners can take to avoid this.

Perform regular checks of the water pipes and any hoses leading to appliances like the washing machine to check for leaks. Colour tabs are available to check a toilet for leaks as well. While some toilet leaks only waste water, some can do damage beneath the floors, so it’s important to keep an eye out for a leak.

Shutoff valves can be installed to help stop a leak at the source. Every home has a main water shutoff valve, and it’s important that everyone know where it is and how to use it in order to stop the flow of water immediately if needed.

A sump pump that operates properly can be a vital part of the puzzle as well. Make sure it’s in good working order and replace a sump pump that is showing signs of age and wear right away. There are a number of ways to prevent damage from sewer backup as well; the simplest of these methods is to install backup valves that will prevent sewer water from flooding the home. It’s important to note that sewer backup can happen even in the absence of a flood, so be prepared for the possibility.

Water damage is difficult to repair, and whether covered by insurance or not can cost time, money, and loss of irreplaceable property. Prevention is the key to avoiding a costly problem.

And to make sure that you have the right coverage, get FREE home insurance quotes using comparison sites like