- Do the age and condition of your hot water tank meet the requirements of your insurer?
- Are you well informed about the characteristics of your home insurance policy?
- What would happen if water damage occurred on your property today?
Insurance no longer covers water damage caused by a water heater after 10-12 years
In recent years, insurance companies have shortened the life of a water heater from 10 to 12 years instead of 20 years. This change is based on recent data indicating that:
- The service life of hot water tanks is shorter than before;
- The water damage caused by hot water tanks is higher, especially because of condominium buildings, where each apartment is equipped with its tank, thus increasing the risk of accidents.
To meet the rules of insurers and benefit from their protection, you must verify that the age of your water heater corresponds to the protection standards, that is, approximately 10 years or less.
After this period, even if your hot water tank is still working well, you should have it replaced. Otherwise, in the event of water damage, you would be forced to bear the consequences yourself (and the high costs that result).
Home insurance: water damage in the basement
In general, home insurance policies cover accidents and breakages caused by a device or system inside your home.
Two exceptions to this rule: the risks associated with overflowing a swimming pool and broken aqueducts.
Indeed, even if they are caused by installations located outside your home, their consequences are covered by insurers.
Besides, insurance protection applies to property damaged by water damage, but not to the devices or systems that caused it.
Insurance companies also offer additional protection as needed. For example, you can incorporate protection for water damage from outside sources, protection for roofing, cracks, sewer back-up, etc.
Finally, make sure that the amount of your protection is sufficient to cover all the repairs that may be required.
Ask your insurance agent for advice. His expertise will allow him to determine an amount that corresponds as much to the value as to the characteristics of your property.
Here is a great website to renegotiate your home insurance premium or to request you.
Is a water heater always guaranteed?
Generally, companies specializing in the sale of hot water tanks offer guarantees ranging from a few months to a few years. These guarantees can cover the entire installation or only certain parts.
If either of these guarantees (installation or parts) expires, it is strongly recommended to replace your water heater.
Indeed, the term of the warranty indicates a high risk of water damage, not to mention that carrying out repairs on an installation already in place requires significant expenditure.
How do you know if your hot water tank has exceeded its lifespan?
There are several signs that your water heater needs to be replaced.
Among the most obvious, there is the presence of rust in the water. Thus, the water poured into a glass will be imprinted with a slight shade of rust, or even pale clothes, when they come out of the washing machine, will have adopted a scorched tone.
Then, the thermal properties of your hot water tank decrease. If you notice that the quantity of hot water available is less and less important, probably a defect in your tank slows down its performance.
The presence of moisture on the outside surface of your tank also denounces its aging. If this is the case with yours, start your search to find a plumber and replace your water heater.
Finally, it is urgent to replace your tank if the rust has started to eat away at the bottom. Rust indicates the presence of a crack at the bottom of your tank.
As gravity directs water to the bottom of the water heater, it builds up in the crack, contributing to its rust. The greater the rust, the greater the risk of perforation. Perforation rhymes with water damage!
Finally, when the perforation is obvious and a puddle (however small it is) covers part of your floor, run to the plumber. It’s urgent!
How to prevent water damage with a water heater
- Replace the water heater as soon as it shows signs of wear or reaches 12 years of age. Generally, a plaque located on the exterior surface indicates the year of manufacture of the device;
- The water leak detector: integrated into your existing alarm system, it triggers an alarm when it recognizes the presence of unusual water on the ground and automatically closes the water valve.
- As the water leak detector is connected to the plumbing and electrical systems, its installation must be carried out by a plumber;
- If replacement of your water heater proves necessary, install a recovery tray under the new appliance. If water damage occurs, the tray, connected to the nearest drain, directs the water directly to the sewers.
From an insurance point of view, is it allowed to change your water heater yourself?
Changing your water heater yourself sometimes seems tempting. It seems simple to open and close the few valves and to position the new tank. However, you cannot improvise yourself as a plumber.
A hot water tank is a high-pressure heater. Mastering the skills required for its maintenance and replacement is essential when preparing to replace it.
In Quebec, all plumbing workers must meet the standards of the CCMTQ (the Corporation of master mechanics of Quebec) and be granted a permit and license from this organization.
Besides, the Quebec Construction Code manages the standards for installing and replacing water heaters.
The law allows you to replace the hot water tank for the house you live in (if you own it). However, you must follow specific rules and be aware of the risks to which you are exposed:
- Inform you of the building standards and rules in force and respect them;
- In case of water damage caused by your repairs, in addition to paying the deductible costs (500 to 1000 $ approximately), you will also see your insurance premium increase. Your insurer is also entitled to refuse the renewal of your contract;
- In co-ownership, the amount corresponding to the increase in the insurance premium could only be assumed by you, instead of being shared with the other co-owners.
Often, trying to save a few dollars is disastrous.
To carry out their trade, plumbers undergo training for several months and touch on fields as varied as electricity, water pressure, heating, etc. They have a global knowledge of the inner workings of a property. Their expertise is your safety.
Hire a plumber to replace your water heater
Doing business with a plumber for the maintenance or repair of your water heater is an obvious choice that will give you peace of mind.
Whether you are certain of the need to replace your hot water tank, or you simply have doubts or questions about the condition of the latter, your plumber will be happy to answer your questions and give you advice.
In many cases, the water heater to be replaced on a property did not offer good economic performance. Your plumber is on the lookout for the latest energy efficiency technologies.
It will help you choose a model that also fits the system already in place on your property and that will optimize its operation.
Besides, since the plumbing system and the electrical system of a property are interconnected, your plumber also has electrical knowledge and will be able to inform you of the needs of your property.
Compare the rates for replacing your water heater to always be covered by your insurance
Insurance companies are increasingly refusing to cover properties with hot water tanks at risk of causing water damage.
Insurers have therefore set the lifespan of a water heater at around 10 to 12 years. Beyond this period, owners must replace their tanks.
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