Safeguarding wealthy homeowners against the most common claim

As the real estate market continues to rise, despite a brief and muted lull, the value of property in cities across Canada continues to break records. More homeowners fall into the high-value category and, as a result, brokers have a bigger responsibility to provide access to the best products on the market. With extreme weather events now happening with increased regularity, protection against flood and water infiltration is a key aspect of a high-value homeowners policy. Since 2009, close to $1 billion in insured losses related to catastrophic weather events have been paid out annually, most of which have been related to damages caused by water. “Water damage is definitely the most common type of homeowners claim that I see,” explains Amie Vandevenne, Property Underwriter, South Western Insurance Group Limited (SWG). “Luckily, the water infiltration component of the high-value policy protects against losses caused by the sudden and accidental seepage or influx of ground or surface water through walls, doors, windows, foundations and other openings.” The policy also covers costs related to the tearing out and/or replacement of any part of the property if the damage is in relation to the malfunction of a water main that was installed less than 40 years ago. “There are limits options of $25,000, $50,000 and $75,000, so the broker can customize the coverage for each client,” Vandevenne says. “The policy also comes with multiple deductible options.” Add-ons related to the breakdown of expensive and critical home equipment are also available under the high-value policy. These features help to minimize out-of-pocket expenses and stress should the client’s swimming pool, air filtration system, well pump, or chair lift or elevator need to be repaired or replaced. “Labour costs account for a major chunk of repair fees, and are often not included in warranties, so it’s important that they’re covered,” Vandevenne says. “Not only does the policy minimize the hassle associated with repairs, it also reimburses the homeowner if their property becomes inhabitable and they are forced to move out and spend money on a hotel or rental property.”