Cottage water damage and how to prevent it

In recent years, water damage has become the top cause of property insurance claims.

This damage can arise from winter storms, spring thaws and extreme weather. Hail, frozen pipes, ice dams and heavy snowfall damaging the roof, melting snow flooding your property, rainfall and water infiltration can also cause water damage.

Other forms of water damage include sewer backup and overland flooding. We will single out these two specifically because they have proven to be tricky for insurers and policyholders in recent years in that typical property insurance policies often don’t include sewer backup coverage. However, both sewer backup and overland flooding are types of flooding. They just differ in the way the water comes into your house. The first occurs when the water level rises outside your house; on the other hand, sewer backup means the municipality’s sewers cannot cope with storm runoff.

Common signs of water damage include mold, a damp smell, dripping, increased water bill, peeling paint and swelling floors. If water has found its way into your cottage, alert your insurance broker so they can send a crew to perform emergency maintenance and repairs to avert further damage. As you deal with the water damage, make sure to take advantage of your broker’s advice and services because they exist to make your life easier. Most importantly, don’t wait to contact your broker because delays may result in more damage.

Once you have reported any damage to your insurer and wait for them to take care of the claims process and arrange to fix the damages, ensure that no further damage occurs. Don’t rush to call contractors or repair personnel. Instead, document the situation so that you have a record of what happened to present to your broker. Snapping a few photos and videos can aid your claim further down the line. If there is critical work you must do to stabilize the situation and prevent further damage, keep all receipts and records for any money you spend.

To prevent water damage in the future, you need to maintain your property and make alternate arrangements for when you are out. If you’re going away, ask a trusted friend or family member to check your house for any worrying signs. Further, consider shutting off the water in your cottage or reduce your use of appliances to use less water and ensure all windows and doors are well sealed to prevent water from getting inside.

As you go about protecting your cottage, keep in mind that you don’t have to deal with policy wordings, exclusions, calls, questions and paperwork on your own. Speak with your broker to see how we can support you.

Alternatively, comment below or tweet us @TheShepherdGroup about your experience with water damage.