Condo water damage 101

3 Min read on home

Oct 28, 2019


Heavy rain. A broken dishwasher. A burst pipe. All of these things and more can cause serious water damage to a condo unit.

Condo living comes with some of the same worries that owning a house may have. Things like a sewage backup, a ruptured plumbing fixture or a leaking ceiling are becoming the norm. For this reason, it’s best to be prepared.

Water Damage Prevention and Protection

Prevention First

Most water damage headaches can be avoided by being mindful and with periodic checks on certain condo amenities within your unit. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Is your washing machine’s drain hose secure?
  • Are there puddles/drips around your toilet? Does the tank fill constantly?
  • Is the drainage screen in your dishwasher clear of food and debris?
  • Are there pools of water forming under/around your fridge?

Because condo owners share a space, it’s important to remember that water leaking from your unit can quickly affect your neighbour’s unit. All the more reason to keep a lookout for possible flood risks.

How to Handle Water Damage

Stop the Water Flow

When water starts flowing where it shouldn’t and it cannot be stopped, call the appropriate help based on the level of water rising; small leaks may require a call to the superintendent, whereas rapidly rising water should be brought to the attention of emergency services. The objective here is to stop the water before it has the chance to do serious damage. 

Know Your Shutoff Valve Locations

Every condo unit has water shutoff valves. Typically, they’re found behind an access panel in the walls where sinks are, or next to the washer (sometimes washer valves are taps you can twist). Toilets have one as well, usually found under the tank – an important one to know about when the water is about to overflow the bowl. 

Avoid Electrical Outlets and Appliances

Be cautious of water pooling near electrical outlets and near appliances like toasters and hair dryers. If you’re standing in a puddle of water, these items can be deadly to the touch. The good news is, building codes require GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets near water sources, which are designed to turn off electrical power. You can identify them as they have a “reset” button on them.

Find the Source

If it isn’t clear how the unit is flooding, there’s a high probability that it’s originating from somewhere outside your walls. Some common occurrences are a clogged kitchen sink that overflows, a ruptured dishwasher line, or a neighbour above you has let the bathroom sink or tub overflow. In any of these cases, immediately call building or property management to inform them of the situation.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

If a flood happens within the condo unit, it is best to first contact our Claims team for more information on how to prevent further damage. We always want to approach your loss based on its severity and provide the correct information to prevent any further loss or damages from occurring.

Cover Yourself

A comprehensive insurance policy is the best thing you can have to protect yourself and your belongings during an unexpected condo water loss. Keep in mind, every condo building carries its own insurance, covering all the common areas (anything outside the unit). Coverage for specific water damage is found in your policy, and Enhanced Water Coverage* and Limited Sewer Backup Coverage is available for purchase. It is important to review the options for water coverage that are available to ensure you have the best coverage for your needs. Having your own tenant or condo insurance will also help cover your personal belongings within your unit.

For more information about condo insurance, contact one of our friendly representatives to learn which coverage is right for you. 

  • * Enhanced water coverage not available in Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories.. Eligibility requirements, limitations, exclusions or additional costs may apply. Policy wording prevails.

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