TORONTO (November 15, 2022) – A new survey of Canadian homeowners has found that, while many have experienced a home repair emergency over the past year, a significant number of them have little to no money set aside to cover such a repair, raising serious concerns about the detrimental impact such a repair could have on homeowners’ financial wellbeing. In addition to finding financial unpreparedness, the survey also uncovered that the majority of homeowners are unaware that they would be responsible for one of the more common home emergencies – failing water or sewer lines on their property.
This first ever “State of the Canadian Home Survey” was conducted by Leger Opinion, on behalf of Service Line Warranties of Canada’s (SLWC). The survey sample included 1,529 Canadian adults, of which 902 were homeowners.
The Nuisance and Financial Toll of Home Repairs
The survey revealed that a significant number of Canadian homeowners are financially unprepared for a home emergency. Nearly one in five (19%) homeowners have no money at all set aside for an emergency home repair and almost one-third (31%) have only $500 or less.
This unpreparedness is especially concerning since the survey also found that over one-third of Canadian homeowners (37%) had a home repair emergency in the past 12 months. The most common home repairs were problems with the HVAC system (9%), blocked and/or overflowing toilets (8%), and leaking water pipes (8%).
But the homeownership repair challenges don’t end there. One-third of homeowners (33%) report having trouble even finding a contractor to complete a repair, and half of homeowners (50%) report having a problem with a contractor they hired to complete work in their homes. The most common problem is that the job ends up costing more than initially estimated (11%) followed by concerns about whether a contractor is trustworthy (8%).
“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 Mike Van Horne, General Manager, Service Line Warranties of Canada. “The survey finding that about half of Canadian homeowners can expect to have a home repair emergency in a given year, coupled with far too many homeowners have limited savings for a home emergency – or no saving at all – is a real recipe for disaster.”
“SLWC’s no-deductible service plans free homeowners from the financial burden and inconvenience that comes with home emergencies. SLWC uses only local, qualified contractors and does all the work to schedule a technician to complete a repair quickly and professionally with no out-of-pocket expense,” added Van Horne.
Understanding Responsibility for Home Repairs
The survey also found that many Canadian homeowners (66%) are unaware that they are financially responsible for any needed repairs or replacement to the water and sewer lines on their property. Nearly one in five homeowners (18%) inaccurately believe that these repairs are covered by homeowners’ insurance and 20% incorrectly think the city or town would be responsible for the repair. These types of repairs are rarely covered under standard homeowners’ insurance, and when the lines do fail, the repair costs fall on the homeowner.
Given that so many homeowners are unaware of their responsibility, it is not surprising that, when asked, the vast majority (88%) of homeowners believe the city should help educate homeowners about their responsibilities related to water or sewer line breaks on their property.
“We frequently hear from municipalities that residents are upset when they find out they are financially responsible – not the city or homeowners’ insurance – when the water or sewer lines on their property fails,” said Van Horne. “That is one of the many benefits of partnering with SLWC as we work with the city to educate homeowners about what repairs they’re responsible for. And SLWC service plans provide a smart financial planning tools that reduces the financial and emotional stress when an inevitable home emergency occurs.”
SLWC now has 38,000 customers across Ontario, and the SLWC contractor network has grown to include 38 local businesses that employ over 150 technicians. Homeowners in participating municipalities have access to repair plans that cover needed repairs to exterior water and sewer service lines that connect their homes to city systems, as well as for in-home plumbing systems. Plans start as low as $6.00 per month.
Finding Ways to Reduce Cost of Homeownership
The survey also found that three out of five Canadian homeowners (62%) are taking steps to reduce the cost of homeownership. Many homeowners say they are trying to lower their utility bills (41%) and are installing energy savings features around their homes (21%). Additionally, many homeowners (19%) say they are putting off home upgrades. A SLWC service plan provides a smart way for homeowners – who face record-high home prices and high mortgages as a result – to protect themselves from additional out-of-pocket homeownership costs related to repairs.
Since 2014, over 65 Canadian municipalities have launched partnerships with SLWC to give their residents access to affordable service repair plans for common plumbing emergencies. SLWC is the trusted source of utility line protection programs in Ontario as recognized by the Local Authority Services, part of the Association of Municipalities on Ontario (AMO).
Homeowners with questions or who wish to receive more information about SLWC or available plans should call tool-free 1-866-922-9004 or visit www.slwof.ca. Local municipalities interested in learning more about the program for their community can visit www.servicelinewarranties.ca.
2021 State of the Canadian Home Survey conducted by Leger Opinion on behalf of SLWC, July 16, 2021, among 1,529 Canadian adults 18+, of which 902 were homeowners. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Service Line Warranties of Canada
Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) is part of HomeServe, a leading provider of home repair solutions serving over 4.7 million customers across North America since 2003. Launched in 2014, SLWC is the trusted source of utility line protection programs in Ontario as recognized by the Local Authority Services, part of the Association of Municipalities on Ontario (AMO).
Together with HomeServe, SLWC is dedicated to supplying best-in-class repair plans and delivering superior customer service to consumers through over 1,000 leading city, municipal and utility partners across North America.
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