Is your home protected against flood damage?

If you think your Canadian home insurance policy protects against flood damage, think again. Most policies offer comprehensive protection against a wide range of losses, including sewer backup and water damage. But, not many policies currently protect against flood damage.

What is considered flood damage?

You’ll often hear people say that their home is “flooded” when a pipe bursts. From an insurance perspective, this is actually considered water (not flood) damage.

Flood damage occurs when a large quantity of water flows over what is dry land, seeping into your home through doors and windows. The most common causes of flood include:

  • Natural dam failure;
  • Spring snow-melt runoff;
  • Storm rainfall;
  • Structural failure; and,
  • Tidal flooding.

What are the main types of flood?

The first type, river (or fluvial) flood, occurs when dry land is covered by freshwater or wastewater that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of a river, stream, or lake.

Urban (or pluvial) flood is the second type. It occurs when surface and underground infrastructure is unable to drain freshwater or wastewater generated by a combination of rains, spring snow-melt, and stormwater runoff.

Finally, coastal (or storm surge) flood occurs when seawater generated by the combined actions of wind, waves and high tides – including the effects of tsunamis – along the coast of oceans and seas, covers dry land.

What does Canadian home insurance cover?

First, determine what type of home insurance you have. For the best protection, you should have an all-risk (or comprehensive) policy. This type of policy protects against all loss types except for what is specifically excluded. The most common policy exclusions include war, terrorism and flood. That’s right, most policies do not protect against flood damage but that’s starting to change. Some providers now offer inland flood protection.

If you have a comprehensive policy, it’s important that you review your policy documents (or speak with your insurance provider) to determine if protection for sewer backup and water damage is included. In some cases, you may need to specifically request and pay for this protection. Sub-limits and specific deductibles usually apply for sewer backup and water damage.

What does the Canadian government cover?

When a major natural disaster occurs, the federal government provides financial assistance to provinces and territories by way of Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements.

The provinces and territories use the funds to repair public infrastructure and to provide financial assistance to affected residents, small businesses, and communities. Financial assistance is only available for damages due to uninsurable events, like landslide.

Those eligible for financial assistance are subject to certain conditions, which vary by province. In British Columbia, for example, up to 80 percent of eligible damage that exceeds $1,000 is covered up to a $300,000 maximum.

Have you been affected by flooding?

If your home or personal property suffered flood damage, you’re probably wondering if your home insurance policy will respond. Continue reading to learn what you need to do next.

Contact your home insurance provider

The easiest way to determine if you’re protected against inland flood damage is to contact the claims department of your home insurance provider. The adjuster can review your policy, and advise you accordingly.

Another option is to locate your policy declaration and policy wordings. Then review the exclusion in the policy wordings to determine if loss or damage from inland flood is excluded. If there is no exclusion, then your policy is likely with a home insurance provider that automatically includes protection. If there is an exclusion, then your policy is likely with a provider that either doesn’t offer inland flood protection or does so by way of an optional endorsement.

To determine if coverage was added to your policy by an optional endorsement, check the policy declaration for reference to “water” or “flood” endorsements. You’ll then need to review the associated policy wordings for these “water” or “flood” endorsements to determine if your policy includes inland flood protection.

I’m not covered. What should I do?

If your home insurance does not cover damage from inland flood, then you may be eligible for the government’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program. To file a claim under this program, you’ll need a letter from your home insurance provider indicating that your policy does not include inland flood protection.

Once you have that letter, you’ll need to file a claim with your province’s disaster financial assistance program. Click the button below for more information on each province’s program.

Learn more

What’s the purpose of this website?

As a result of recent floods, the insurance industry and the government are discussing ways to better protect Canadians against flood damage. The team at Square One has built this website specifically for Canadian homeowners and renters. The website is intended to:

Describe flood insurance options in Canada

The 2013 floods motivated many insurance providers to take another look at flood insurance. A few providers have already introduced flood insurance in Alberta and/or Ontario. Others, like Square One, have implemented a national solution that is now available in provinces from BC to Ontario.

If you are interested in flood insurance, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Is flood insurance available to you?
  • What type of flood damage is covered?
  • What sub-limits or deductibles apply?
  • How much does flood insurance cover?

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Provide prevention tips and useful support

Flood, sewer backup, and water damage are all dreadful. The damage is not only heartbreaking, but it can cause disease if you don’t take the proper precautions when cleaning up.

There are many simple things you can do to minimize or prevent water-related damage. For example, if your home has a sump pump, you should consider installing a battery backup. This is important because storms that cause heavy rainfalls often also cause power outages.

If you do suffer a water-related loss, you’ll find useful support to help you recover, for example, links to each provincial or territorial disaster financial assistance program are provided.

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Explain the historical Canadian approach

A detailed explanation of the historical approach to protecting Canadians against flood, sewer backup, and water damage is provided. Information is provided on:

  • Flood, sewer backup, and water damage
  • Types of home insurance
  • Residential flood insurance issues
  • Disaster financial assistance programs

Learn more

Explore international approaches

Around the world, there are several different approaches to protecting homeowners and renters against flood damage. Descriptions are provided for approaches taken in:

  • Australia
  • Japan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Learn more

Low-cost home insurance that includes flood protection

Square One home insurance starts at $15/month. With this policy, you get comprehensive coverage that includes protection against break-ins, earthquakes, hailstorms, and fires. The policy automatically includes critical sewer backup and water damage protection. In most cases, it also protects against damage from inland flood. No paying extra.

To see how affordable Square One home insurance can be, get your free online quote now. Or, call 1.855.331.6933 for a phone quote. Square One is open [constant name=’office-hours-include-days’]. It only takes 15 minutes to get a quote.

Get a free online quote now