Damage resulting from water is a hot topic with owners and insurance companies. In response to conversations with insurance brokers, owners and tenants about water damage, we have created some property management tips to help you protect yourself and your property.
Using Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s experience dealing with a variety
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.
of different issues, we are proud to share our experience.
Summarized as 3 simple tips, find out what you can do to prevent a water leak and how to respond in the event you experience a water loss:
TIP #1: Before you move in:
Review the condominium bylaws and your mortgage to make sure you understand what you are required to insure. You can take the bylaws to your insurance broker who understands your account to discuss your insurance needs. The following are some questions to review with your broker:
- What do I need coverage for?
- What are my deductibles in the event I have a loss?
- Could I be responsible for the Corporation’s deductible if the loss is my fault? If so, can I get a deductible rider for such situations?
- If there is major damage to the property and I have to move-out, how are my living and mortgage expenses covered?
- What are considered “improvements and betterments” and I am covered?
- If I am away from my home do, I need someone to check on it? If so, how often?
- Do I have enough coverage for improvements, contents (i.e. clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.,), special assessments, liabilities, etc.?
- If I am renting out my home, do I need any different types of coverage (ie) coverage for lost income in the event of an insured loss?
TIP #2: Now that you’re home, remember:
Keep your emergency contact information handy and know where the water shut off valves are.
In the event of a leak, know who to call and when. Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can be reached at its 24-hour emergency line: 403-237-8600. For useful emergency contacts visit our recent blog: “What is an Emergency”
Typically, the water shut off valves for your home will be:
- Apartment: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink or next to the toilet tank. In the event you have in floor heating, there should be a few valves in a closet or the laundry room. You can use these valves to turn off the water for your unit.
- Single family home or townhome: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink, next to the toilet tank. The main shut off valve is typically found in the basement or ground floor where the pipes come into the house. Don’t forget to check the garage if it is attached to the house. If you have an internal water meter, the valve will be on the pipe going to the meter.
FYI – Shut off valves for washing machines and dishwashers are typically located behind the machine on the pipes. Carefully turn the tap clockwise to shut off the water supply. Do not force the valve because you don’t want to break it.
TIP #3: Prevent water damage
There are some simple things you can do to avoid unnecessary water leaks.
- Contract a professional when completing plumbing repairs, replacements or upgrades
- Never leave running water taps unattended.
- Don’t leave washers or dishwashers running when you are not home or while you are sleeping
- Only use a toilet for what it was intended for. To keep your toilet and pipes clog-free, avoid disposing:
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels & tissues
- Personal products: Q-tips, cotton pads, sanitary items, condoms, dental floss
- Cigarette butts
- Kitty litter
- Cooking grease and food
- Test your toilet for leaks periodically throughout the year by dropping some food colouring into the toilet tank. If the colouring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
- Never leave a toilet running. Be sure it has stopped filling prior to leaving your home. If the toilet takes a long time to fill, there may be a leak in the tank or the fill valve may be stuck open.
- If you will be away for an extended period, have a trusted friend or neighbour check in on your home. Often, your insurance policy will have a requirement that you need to have your home inspected regularly when you are away.
- During cold weather, make sure your heat is set at a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius. Typically, this is a good rule of thumb, but your home may be different. Temperatures should register at 15-21 in cold weather to avoid frozen pipes.
- During cold weather, never leave a window open. Temperatures can fluctuate quickly and a pipe can freeze in minutes.
- If you experience a water or power outage, make sure your taps are turned to the “off” position.
Even when all the precautions have been taken, a leak can happen. In the event of a leak, a quick response is essential. This is why it is so important to know where your water shut off valves are and who to contact, especially at 2 am!
Prevention is key but If you experience a leak, the following action can help minimize losses:
- Turn off the water
- Turn off all electrical appliances in the area
- Grab a bucket and place it under the leak to catch the water, if possible
- If you live in an apartment style building and experiencing an extensive leak, check with your neighbours to make sure they aren’t flooding. Vis-versa, if you are experiencing flooding and don’t know where the water is coming from, check with your neighbours to see if they are the source.
- Call Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. at 403-237-8600 and report the leak
These maintenance tips are an important step towards mitigating the risk of water damage and keeping any damage that does occur to a minimum. Dealing with any type of leak and potential insurance claims doesn’t have to be frustrating. By implementing these types you are arming yourself with the knowledge of what you can do to prevent an emergency situation
With over 40 years of property management experience, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is trusted to respond with experience and responsive systems to assist property owners and condominium boards with these types of stressful situations. We value the opportunity to provide condominium management in Calgary & Area and available to discuss our services. Contact us to find out more!
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is proud of its insurance program that has been customized for the properties we proudly manage. Many owners and condominium corporations opt into this inclusive program which is guided by the experts at Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers Ltd.
Recently there has been a shift in the insurance market that is impacting condominium corporations and multi-family rental properties across Canada. In response, the Emerald team has been working aggressively on behalf of its clients to mitigate the financial impact from the changes in the market place to achieve the best rates. The following is provided to give some insight on the work happening behind the scenes to maximize results.
Insurance Insight 2019
Trends for the past couple years have been deteriorating with the underwriting and claims experienced throughout Canada. Poor investment returns by insurance companies have added pressure to the cost of insurance in the market place. This has also resulted in some insurance companies exiting the property management insurance sector. Despite some profitability being shown by some insurance companies, the industry as a whole appears to have come to agreement and is currently focusing on underwriting profitability for a stable insurance marketplace.
Insurance Insight 2019
In response to the recent changes that started being experienced in late 2018, Emerald’s triggered the negotiation process of its master insurance program and has been working with our independent broker, Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers, to aggressively seek the best coverage and pricing in the market place. Further, we are ensuring that coverage is placed with financially sound insurers who have expertise in our property management sector and are known for excellent claims service.
Further to these changes around the insurance environment, Emerald continues to work on behalf of its clients to minimize the impact of this shift on pricing to maintain the benefits of our insurance program. We continue to be focused on achieving the advantage of our low corporate rates, reasonable deductible levels, prompt claims management, rental revenue loss coverage, vacancy coverage … and more.
To discuss the Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. insurance program advantage and any concerns you have with your current property coverage please contact our team.
Having tenant insurance is an important part of any tenancy. Tenant insurance will ensure the security of the tenant’s property in case of any unintentional harm to the property or to a guest visiting the property. This could be essential in covering significant costs in case an insured loss occurs. Further, proof of and maintaining tenant insurance is an important obligation under Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s residential tenancy leases.
In accordance with our lease agreement and the Residential Tenancy Act, the tenant is legally responsible for any damage they may cause to any part of the building or people in it. For example, if a toaster becomes faulty and starts a fire, that could cause damage to the unit, but also to the building. If this happens, the cost of the damages could be the responsibility of the tenant. These types of events quickly become very costly and exactly the reason tenant insurance is required as it could save the tenant from having to pay a large sum of money in repairs and damages (and/or liability to others and the property).
Another simple reason for needing tenant insurance is that the tenant’s belongings aren’t covered by the building’s insurance policy. If you think: “Well, I don’t own that much, so I’m not worried about it; I don’t need to get it,” its important to know that emergency repairs add up quickly and if you don’t have insurance, you also won’t be covered for additional living expenses if you have to be out of your home for even a day … or longer. Expenses add up quickly.
If you are a client of Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., and unsure where to even start looking for Insurance … we can help! We have partnered with Nuera Insurance so that our tenants can get the best coverage at preferred rates. To find out more about tenant insurance, visit our website here or contact our office at 403-237-8600 and ask for information about our discount code with Nuera.
Importance of Tenant Insurance
We often hear that condo owners and tenants don’t feel they need insurance for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, the importance of a condominium owner policy or a tenant policy should not be understated — because just like homeowners, condo owners and tenants face similar risks to their private property.
Most condo owners should already have a policy because it’s a requirement by many mortgage companies as well as a requirement of the condominium corporation bylaws. In the past, requirements for renters have not always been enforced, but this is changing with the growing awareness that the risk of loss and liability is real. No matter how careful residents are, unfortunately, your neighbors may not be as careful as you are.
Like homeowner’s insurance, condo owner and tenant policies would cover the insured’s personal property and contents, third party liability, and additional living expenses in the event something happens (like a fire or burst water pipe) that prevents them from staying in their home. In addition, condo owner insurance also protects the unit’s improvements and betterments, condo deductible costs, the unit itself or a loss assessment on the building should the condo corporation have no insurance or have inadequate insurance for which that the owners policy would normally cover.
Note: Your Insurance Broker is the expert here. Call them and discuss your concerns to make sure you get the best possible coverage for your protection.
If you are a condo owner, provide your condominium corporation’s insurance policy plus your bylaws to your insurance broker. These documents are provided at the time of purchase and the insurance certificate is also typically mailed out once a year.
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR INSURANCE BROKER
- If my building suffers damage that started in my unit, what amount of coverage is provided in the event I’m charged back a condominium deductible and/or the cost of the damage?
- (If I’m a condo owner) Are the upgrades and renovations I did to my home covered?
- Are my contents covered for damage to theft, whether or not it’s my fault?
- If someone is hurt in my unit or because of damage that started in my unit, what kind of coverage do I have?
- If I have a storage locker of items stored in my parking space and they are damaged (or stolen), how am I covered?
Insurance is very important, whether you’re an owner or a renter, so make sure that you’re covered. A couple extra dollars a month can save you time and money in the event of an accident. For more information on insurance, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada or get a free quote in just minutes from our partner, Nuera Insurance. Condo Owners and Tenants get a discount with Nuera. Email us if you don’t have your discount code handy.