Alberta spring runoff: follow these steps to protect your property

EDMONTON, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Alberta is on a flood watch again as temperatures rise and large amounts of snow begin to melt. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers residents advice to protect their property.

"The recent quick change to normal and above normal temperatures has caused rapid snow melt that could result in localized flooding. Flooding could cause devastating damage if you are not prepared in advance. Follow our checklist to help protect your property and valuables from damage. Even small steps like ensuring downspouts are pointed away from the foundation can make a huge difference," says Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC.

Here are precautions to take immediately:

  • Assemble an emergency kit - flashlight and batteries, battery-operated radio, etc.
  • Move valuable items from your basement to higher levels in your home.
  • Make sure downspouts extend at least six feet from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your house and neighbouring homes toward the street, backyard or back lane.
  • Clear snow about three to five feet away from the house foundation to prevent leaks.
  • Ask someone to check your property if you are away.
  • Check sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven't settled over time and are causing water to drain toward your house.
  • Clear your eavestroughs of debris and, if possible, help clear catch basins near your home.
  • Keep water out of window sills.

Insurance coverage

  • Prepare a detailed home inventory. This will help you and your insurer keep track of your valuables in the event of a loss.
  • Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage.
  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is covered by all residential policies. However, damage may not be covered when freezing causes the escape of water.
  • Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.

Overland flooding resulting in water overflowing onto dry land and causing damage is not covered in residential properties in Canada.

Residents experiencing surface drainage issues should call 311.

Consumers looking for answers on these issues or requiring assistance with their insurance questions, please call our Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-377-6378.

For more information on protecting yourself from severe weather, visit ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has been working with governments across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the P&C insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes and levies to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information:

To schedule an interview, please contact:

Helen Lialias
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 ext. 4312
hlialias@ibc.ca

Steve Kee 
Director, Media Relations 
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 ext. 4387 
skee@ibc.ca