You don’t need to experience massive flooding to see shocking repair bills. Just a few inches of standing water can result in the need for drywall and flooring replacement and treatment for dangerous mold, not to mention the costs of replacing furniture, electronics, and other personal belongings.
While overland flood insurance, also called freshwater flood insurance, is not included with water damage coverage built into most standard insurance policies in Ontario, it can be added to your policy as an endorsement.
Note: If overland flood insurance is available to you relatively affordably and you don’t purchase it, you may not qualify for Disaster Recovery Assistance in Ontario.
What is overland flooding?
Overland flooding, or the accumulation of water on land that is usually dry, may occur during heavy rainfall, during a spring thaw, or when a freshwater lake or river overflows. While flooding is becoming an increasingly common problem faced by Ontario homeowners—in fact, flooding accounts for 40% of Canada’s natural disasters—less than 15% of homeowners carry flood insurance.
What does overland flood insurance cover?
Overland water may find its way into your home during a heavy storm or a spring thaw; rainwater may enter into your home directly, or it may cause a nearby body of water to overflow and seep into your residence. Covered damages include:
Damage that results from overland water coming into your home through the roof, basement, doors, and windows; this includes damage done to your home’s exterior and interior
Loss of personal property to flooding
Damages from a sewer backup that resulted from flooding
What is not covered by overland flood insurance?
Not all types of flooding are covered under overland flood insurance. The most common exclusions include:
Damage caused by salt water, such as damage from a tsunami, a tidal wave, or an overflow of a body of saltwater
Water damage that results from a burst pipe; while your insurance may cover the costs of repairing or replacing the pipe, you will have to foot the bill for the water damage
Damage resulting from water backing up through your pipes; for this type of event, sewer backup coverage is available
Damage resulting from deliberate acts; for example, if a dam was intentionally destroyed and this caused a body of water to overflow, the damage would not be covered by your insurance
Flooding is an increasing threat to Canadian homeowners
The climate has undergone measurable changes across the globe in the last 60 years, and Canada now experiences an additional 20 days of rain on an annual basis. While a severe weather event used to occur approximately every 40 years, Environment Canada reports that we can now expect to see a severe weather event every six years.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Overland flood insurance can be added to your homeowners insurance policy at any time, even if it’s the middle of your policy term.
Overland flood insurance is available to most Canadian homeowners. However, if you are among the 5% of homeowners who live in an area that is highly prone to flooding or you have a reverse slope driveway, you may not be eligible for this type of coverage. An insurance broker can help you determine your eligibility.
Don’t rely on disaster relief
Most homeowners know that the government offers a disaster relief program and erroneously assume that if their home is flooded, they can receive financial assistance to help pay for damages. However, it’s important to remember that the program is designed to help residents and businesses that are, for whatever reason, not eligible for flood insurance. If you are one of the 95% of residents that is eligible for overland flood insurance, you will not benefit from this government program.
Choose the right flood protection for your needs
Protecting yourself from the financial burden of recovering from a flood is more important now than ever.
Wading through the legal jargon and comparing insurance companies, policies, and additional home insurance coverage options can be an intimidating task. An insurance broker provides bias-free information, helping you evaluate your needs and budget and choose the insurance policy that is right for you. To learn more about overland flood coverage or to make sure that your policy has enough coverage for your needs, contact us today.