Aviva paid out record $190 million in water damage claims last year

CALGARY – Aviva Canada says it paid out a whopping $190 million in water damage claims last year — and the insurance provider says it’s part of an upward trend.

Severe flooding in Alberta and Toronto had a lot to do with the record amount — but not everything, Aviva said in a release Tuesday.

“The flooding in Alberta and Toronto certainly played a big part in the increase, but the general trend is upward. And, as severe weather events are growing in frequency, we expect to see more situations like this in the future,” said Wayne Ross, vice-president of property claims.

Even with the two high-profile natural disasters taken out of the equation, water damage still would have made up 40 per cent of Aviva’s property claims in 2013. Overall, half of last year’s property claims were related to water damage.

Aviva also said the average cost of a water damage claim rose to $20,537 last year — a 130 per cent increase from 10 years ago.

“The increasing investment Canadians are putting into their basements, combined with more frequent severe weather events and an aging sewer system that is unable to deal with large amounts of water within a short time period, results in a lot of homes experiencing damage,” said Ross.

Aviva recommends homeowners inspect their roofs, clear gutters and, if they have them, test sump pumps.

Soil, walkways and patios should slope away from your home, foundations should be checked, debris should be cleared from window wells and street catch basins should be unblocked.

As well, it might be worth keeping valuables out of your basement, or at least storing them on high shelves. And if you’re finishing your basement, make sure to seal exterior walls.