The third week of March is Water Week in Canada, and in recognition of the event, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has recently launched a mobile device application that many consumers can download to their tablets.
According to the IBC, the app is called the "Dry House Challenge," which is free of charge and available for download by visiting IBC's website or through the app section of the iTunes store.
Ralph Palumbo, vice president of IBC's Ontario bureau, said water damage can a have a severe financial impact on Canadians who aren't prepared for it, especially since floods are not covered through home insurance. However, IBC's new app will supply Canadians with the things they need to know before disaster strikes.
"During Canada Water Week 2012, IBC reminds Canadians that it pays to take precautions when protecting your property against water damage," said Palumbo. "And the Dry House Challenge iPad app makes it fun for homeowners to take that first step."
Once consumers download the app to their tablets, they'll be presented with more than a dozen interactive scenarios they may encounter in their homes. Under the pressure of a timer, consumers are tasked with fixing water-specific issues by clicking on different options that may or may not be the solution to the problem. The accuracy and quickness of users' decisions will ultimately impact their scores.
IBC notes that as users become more skilled with each level, they'll find that the scenarios become increasingly difficult. Accomplishing these more complicated tasks will further hone homeowners' problem solving skills.
On an annual basis, the group says the Canadian insurance industry pays more than $1.3 billion in claims due to water damage, with homeowners paying for many other expenses such as repair bills.
In addition to downloading the new app, IBC has also released a document that homeowners can download directly from its website, which details what homeowners can do to protect their residences both on the inside and the outside.
For example, in the inside of the home, if flooding is fast approaching, homeowners are advised to shut off all their electrical outlets, especially those that are most at risk for being damaged by flooding. In addition, homeowners are encouraged to install flood shields and barriers that they can attach to their basement windows and doors. They may also want to place a floodwall around items or appliances that can't be raised to a higher level, such as a furnace or heavy piece of machinery.
Homeowners can also take steps to shield their properties from flood damage on the outside of their home. For example, the IBC recommends checking patios and decks that are attached to the home to make sure they haven't settled over time. If they have, homeowners may want to have them raised back up, as this settling may cause water to drain toward the house.
They may also want to put a rain barrel under portions of their roof's eaves where there's a significant amount of water runoff, as this may reduce the impact of flooding, IBC advises.