We understand your concerns about water damage—it’s a major cause of loss and will probably occur more often due to ongoing climate change. Nonetheless, if you follow the steps outlined below and put an emergency plan in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of water damage disrupting your business and/or causing costly repairs.
What type of roof does my building have?
Depending on the type of roof your building has, you’ll need to take certain precautions to protect your business from water infiltration.
Is your flat roof in good condition? Inspect the roof at least twice a year, in the spring and the fall. If you’re not comfortable with climbing onto the roof yourself, you can hire an expert to perform the inspection for you. Here is a quick reminder of what you should look for during the inspection:
Checklist – Inspecting your flat roof
Sloped or combination roof
Sloped roofs need special care. They are particularly prone to damage during mid-winter or spring thaws. If there’s any damage or if there are warning signs such as ice dams on the roof or dampness inside the building, call in a roofing specialist to identify the problem and recommend the most appropriate solution.
What’s the lifespan of my roof?
Is your roofing material showing wear and tear? The older the roof, the higher the risk of leaks. If it’s been a long time since you had your roof redone, keep a close watch on it and plan to repair or replace it in the near future. Here’s a table of suggested lifespans for some of the more common roofing materials used in our climate.
Lifespan by type of covering
|MOST COMMON ROOFING MATERIALS||LIFESPAN|
|Asphalt shingles||20 years|
(composite shingles, tiles or membranes)
|Slate or clay||50 years|
|Tar and gravel||20 years|
|Metal tiles or shingles||50 years|
|Cedar/other shingles||20 years|
Should I inspect my windows?
Every opening needs to be checked frequently. A close look around the edges of attic windows and skylights, from both inside and outside, will tell you a lot about the state they’re in and the risk of leaks. If there’s any sign of dampness or mould, water infiltration is a very likely cause. Keep an eye out!
The plumbing is one of the most important systems in your building to check. Here are some tips:
Checklist – Plumbing inspection
*What is a water detection and shut-off system?
A water detection—or leak detection— system can prevent water damage caused by plumbing fixtures or pipes. Sensors are installed in strategic areas such as water lines, sprinklers and major appliances. When a sensor detects water, it sends a signal to the alarm panel and the monitoring station alerts the customer to the problem. Some systems even come with an automatic water shut-off valve to minimize the damage.
Don’t forget about the outside!
Large accumulations of water outside the building can also have serious repercussions. Don’t take any chances!
Checklist – Exterior inspection
Don’t find yourself in hot water
Not only is a water heater that is more than 10 years old more prone to leaks, but the damage can be worse than in other types of leaks because of the water pressure inside the tank.
Another problem with hot water tanks is that there is often no sign of deterioration until it’s too late. As your water heater approaches the end of its 10-year lifespan, plan on getting it replaced by a certified plumber within two years. You can also reduce the risk by taking the following precautions:
Checklist – Water heater inspection
Need to make sure your business is protected against water damage? Call your broker or contact our team of experts.
This document is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as being advice or exhaustive. Intact Insurance makes no representation, warranty or guarantee that use of this information will prevent damage or reduce your premium. Your insurance contract prevails at all times, please consult it for a complete description of coverage and exclusions. Certain conditions, restrictions and exclusions apply.