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A homeowner's “dirty little secret”

By Gillian Birch

(NC)—There are certain things that homeowners love to talk about and sewer back-up isn't one of them. Yet as spring showers pour, unsuspecting homeowners all over Canada will experience this often-ignored problem. This time of year ushers in an increased number of sewer back-up related insurance claims, making water-related damage one of the most common homeowner claims in Canada.

“The number of sewer back-ups and accompanying floods increases with the frequency of significant rainstorms,” states Wayne Ross, insurance expert at Aviva Canada. “Being proactive to avoid a back-up can save homeowners not only thousands of dollars but a great deal of stress and aggravation.”

Ross offers four simple tips to help reduce the headaches related to sewer back-up in your home:

• Check you insurance policy: Damages from sewer back-ups are not covered by most standard home insurance policies, but can be added to your home insurance coverage for a nominal charge. When you consider the amount of money many families are putting into their finished basements, the added cost is worth the peace of mind.

• Install a backwater valve: These tools close automatically if the sewer backs-up and can prevent thousands of dollars in damage. The installation costs can be quite reasonable when you consider the aggravation involved in having your basement cleaned and repaired. Some cities (including Toronto) even have subsidy programs for the installation of backwater valves and sump pumps. But make sure you check with your municipality before moving ahead with an installation, as some areas do not allow backwater valves due to the strain they put on the infrastructure.

• Watch what you pour: Dumping fats, oils or grease in the drain can cause blockage in your pipes

• Garden carefully: If planting trees on your property, find out from the municipality where your sewer lines are and plant away from the area. Tree roots are known to crack pipes.

More information is available from your insurance broker or online at

Article courtesy of:

Toronto, ON, Canada

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