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Is Your Home Insured for Flood and Water Damage?

Find out if your home has the coverage it needs for this years spring thaw.

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by Team Onlia
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Like fire insurance, flood insurance is part of your standard home insurance coverage. But unlike fire insurance, flood insurance doesn’t cover all kinds of flooding.

Damage done from clean water – water that didn’t come from either the ground or the sewer – is usually covered. This would include damage from a burst pipe, water in your hot water tank, toilet or alternative reservoir that backs up into your living space.

Flood damage vs. Water damage: What’s the difference?

Although they may sound like one and the same, there is a key difference. Flood damage is sourced from natural occurring events such as overflowing lakes, rivers, or severe rain – these claims are typically separate from your standard home insurance. Water damage claims are usually included in your homeowner's insurance coverage and will cover things like broken pipes. Review your individual policy and learn more about your specific coverage and eligibility.

What flood insurance does and doesn’t cover

Your flood insurance coverage will most likely pay for the drying out of your home, removal of any debris, restoring fittings and fixtures like lights and plugs, any professional services required for rebuilding, as well as legal representation if you’re suing or being sued.

Your flood insurance will probably not cover your personal belongings (that would be covered by your contents coverage).

Does flood insurance coverage include rain water?

Over the last few years, due to the changes in weather and the frequency of devastating flooding events in Canada over that time, many insurance companies have begun offering overland flood insurance. This would cover you if rain water seeped through your walls, or your house was breached by water from an out-of-control river or overflowing lake. Some home insurance providers offer overland coverage as a standard feature; some offer it as an option and others don’t offer it at all. If you live near water or in a temperamental weather zone, this would be something to verify with your home insurance provider. Even if you don’t live in a designated flood zone, flood insurance is important to have as it offers peace of mind if an incident does occur.  

Dirty water is essentially sewage. It’s the third most common culprit in flood insurance coverage claims. If you have a finished basement, and especially if you have tenants in your basement, this option is a very good idea; you’ll never know if a pipe is ready to burst until it does.

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Is flood insurance expensive?

The cost of flood insurance coverage is dependent on your location.

If you don’t live near a body of water, your risk profile is quite low because it’s contained to reservoir overflow and burst pipes – that means your flood insurance premiums would be relatively low. If you don’t live near water but you live in a cold area, your risk of a burst pipe goes up, which would raise your risk profile and your premiums.

If you live on or near the water, you can expect higher premiums and they could go up even more if you live near a risky body of water, like a fast-flowing river or near a shoreline with poor sand barriers.

Wherever you live, flood insurance is important to have. Be sure to review your policy to ensure you have the right coverage for your home.

What is overland water coverage?

It’s an optional coverage in addition to your home insurance. It covers flood damage or loss to your property or personal belongings caused by overflowing freshwater sources. Overland water damage is the costliest natural disaster in Canada, so it’s important to be covered for the unexpected.

Who needs overland water coverage?

Homeowners or renters who live in designated flood zones are at higher risk of floods. However, everyone is encouraged to opt for overland water coverage for peace of mind.

What happens if a house floods without insurance?

While it’s ideal to have protection in case of a flood, life happens. If you run into the misfortune of experiencing a flood without insurance, you may be able to apply to some federal assistance programs depending on your circumstance.

Whether you’re opting for flood insurance or not, it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures

How to get insurance to pay for water damage

Firstly, you’ll need to review your policy to assess your coverage. If your policy outlines coverage that’s applicable to your situation, reach out to your provider to submit a claim. They’ll also be able to help review your policy if needed.  

Shopping around for flood insurance coverage? Get a quote from Onlia.

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