It’s springtime in Ontario, which means rainfall and potential flooding are imminent. With Lake Ontario water levels higher than normal and continuing to rise in the coming weeks, homeowners will be smart to know the steps to protecting your property, should a flood come your way.
Before listing out some important steps to take, do you know where the water main shut-off valve is located in your house? If you live in a region that is at risk for flooding or sewer back-ups, here are some precautions you can take:
- Clean catch basins and eavestroughs.
- Check the areas surrounding your house to make sure they’re not causing water to drain toward the house (driveways, sidewalks, patios, etc).
- Remove water from window wells and check these areas often.
- Seal any cracks in the foundation and around windows and doors.
- If you can, build up the ground surrounding the house, so that water can drain away from basement walls.
- Inside the house, move valuable items off the floor.
- Install a sump pump with battery back-up, and backflow valves on drains.
- Raise large appliances onto platforms, on either wood or cement blocks.
- Anchor fuel tanks to the floor.
- Keep an emergency kit on-hand, with First Aid items, a 3-day supply of non-perishable food, water, battery flashlights and radio, and cash.
As for your vehicles, if you have purchased comprehensive or all-perils auto insurance, water damage to your cars is usually covered. Be sure to check your policy, though: this coverage isn’t mandatory.
Review your current homeowner’s policy to understand what’s covered, and not covered, in the case of flood damage. Overland flooding and sewer back-up are not automatically included in your home insurance policy. Call your Merit broker to find out if they may be offered as optional coverage.
If you find yourself in rubber boots, take photos of any damage to your property so that you’re prepared when you speak with your insurance broker. And once the water levels start to go down, be careful walking around, and never walk in a flooded basement if the power is still on.