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Flood Insurance: All About High-Risk Zones and Coverages

We cover the ins and outs of flood insurance, living in a high-risk zone, and preventative flood methods.

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by Team Onlia
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Whether you are a homeowner or renter, it is important to know your flood risk and be informed of ways you can reduce it. With climate change on the rise, severe weather is increasing leaving more homes at risk for floods and disaster. However, fear not, there are several steps you can take to help protect your family and home from severe rainfall. 

Assess your risk

Some areas have higher risk factors for flooding than others. Living close to bodies of water or on shallow plains might increase your risk. Assess your risk by looking at a floodplain map to find out if you live in a designated flood zone.

Living in a high-risk zone: What now?

Be flood ready by preparing your resources and understanding your insurance policy. There are a few things to be wary of if you live in a high-risk flood zone and they include:

  • Moving your valuables upstairs to keep them from being damaged in case of an unexpected flood
  • Basement living – you should avoid using your basement as a primary living space as it is the first place that will get flooded when flooding occurs
  • Keeping an eye out for dirty gutters and storm drains – make sure to clean your gutters and storm drains every so often to reduce your risk of flood
  • Consider installing flood vents to prevent significant foundational and structural damage to your home in case of a flood – make sure they are up to government regulation

Know your insurance coverage

Standard home insurance typically does not cover damage caused by ‘’dirty’’ water flooding so, it is important to know what flood coverage is available to you. Water damage incidences that may be included in your standard home policy are broken pipes or backup from your home’s reservoir.

Due to the changes in weather and frequency of devastating flooding events in Canada, many insurance companies have begun offering overland flood insurance such as Onlia. There are a few different types of insurance when it comes to flooding and deductibles vary from company to company – it is important that you find one that suits you.

Type of coverage What it covers What it doesn't

Standard home insurance

Standard home insurance covers sudden bursting pipes, leaking appliances, water main breaks, and indoor plumbing bursts.

Flooding caused by poor insulation, frozen pipes due to uninsulated vacant home, issues caused by wear and tear, rust, or corrosion.

Overland flood insurance

Overland flood insurance covers overflowing rivers, lakes, or floods caused by heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt. Essentially, it covers floods caused by freshwater sources.  Saltwater flooding damages or damages caused by rising groundwater such as earthquakes, landslides, or tsunamis.
Sewer backup insurance
Sewer backup insurance covers damage related to backflowing sewers, septic tanks, pipes, or drains.  Depending on your provider, sewer back-ups due to exterior drains such as, the bottom of your window well or sump pump failures may not be covered.
Insurance for renters

Renters can seek out separate flood insurance that covers damage done to their belongings such as clothing, jewelry, electronics, or furniture.

The standard renter's insurance does not include flood coverage. Luckily, any damage to the property as a result of flooding is covered by your landlord’s insurance
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Prevention

There are several ways in which you can reduce your flood risk. Rain gardens, green roofs, and rain barrels are good examples of eco-friendly methods that help you minimize your flood risk while helping you save water resources.

1. Rain gardens:

Rain gardens are one of the beautiful and easy ways you can absorb excess rainwater and prevent stormwater runoff. Compared to the standard lawn, rain gardens help soak up 30-40% more water. Not only that, but there are also added eco-benefits to growing your own rain garden like providing a habitat for pollinators. The best part is that they can be customized to your preference and fill up the pockets of spaces in your yard, making it a beautiful addition to your landscape.

2. Rain barrels:

Save water resources and money by collecting rainwater. Rain barrels help reduce flood risk and erosion by storing rain and stormwater that you can use on watering your plants and grass. These barrels also help reduce stormwater runoff and water pollution – stormwater runoff picks up pollutants such as soil, trash, pesticides, fertilizer, and animal waste and washes them into our water systems. With rain barrels, we can help reduce that runoff, delivering cleaner water to our communities and aquatic friends.

3. Green roofs:

Green roofs are rooftop surfaces with plants and a soil medium that helps capture rainwater before it can enter the stormwater system – it has become increasingly popular for its cooling effects in urban areas during the summer as well. Consequently, green roofs reduce air conditioning demands because of their natural cooling effects which decrease energy consumption, they also help you save money. With all that extra greenery, green roofs also help purify the air, turning CO2 into oxygen and, ultimately, improving our air quality.

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