How financially prepared are Canadian homeowners for emergency repairs?

How financially prepared are Canadian homeowners for emergency repairs? | Insurance Business Canada

How financially prepared are Canadian homeowners for emergency repairs?

Although many Canadian homeowners have experienced a home repair emergency over the past year, a considerable number of them do not have the funds to cover such a repair, a new report has found.

The inaugural “State of the Canadian Home Survey” was conducted by Leger Opinion on behalf of Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC). It found that nearly one in five – 19% of the respondents – said that they have no money set aside for an emergency home repair. On the other hand, 31% of the respondents said they have only $500 or less to spare for emergency repairs.

The general unpreparedness is concerning, SLWC noted, considering that 37% of the respondents said that they have had a home repair emergency in the past 12 months. Common home repair issues identified by the homeowners include blocked and/or overflowing toilets (8%), leaking water pipes (8%) and leaking or blocked exterior water and sewer lines (7%).

Emergency repairs are not the only issue faced by homeowners, SLWC said. Thirty-three per cent (33%) report having trouble finding a contractor to complete a repair, while 50% said they have a problem with a contractor they hired to complete work in their properties. The most common problem homeowners had with their contractors is that the repair job ends up costing more than the initial estimate (11%), followed by concerns about whether a contractor is trustworthy (8%).

More troubling is that the survey also found that 66% of Canadian homeowners are unaware that they are financially responsible for repairs or replacement to the water and sewer lines that connect their home to city systems. Some 18% of homeowners inaccurately believe that these repairs are covered by homeowners’ insurance, while 20% mistakenly believe the city is responsible.

"Over the past year and a half, Canadians have spent more time at home than ever, which can take a major toll on our home's infrastructure and major systems," said SLWC general manager Mike Van Horne. "The survey finding that about one-third of Canadian homeowners can expect to have a home repair emergency in a given year, coupled with far too many homeowners having limited savings for a home emergency – or no saving at all – is a real recipe for disaster."