Flood Insurance: What You Need to Know
In the past, many Canadian homeowners overlooked the dangers and expenses related to overland flooding.
Although it is becoming more common, very few homeowners have flood insurance (19%, to be precise). Sadly, due to deforestation, climate change and the alteration of natural bodies of water, overland floods have become exceedingly common over the past decade.
Would you like to ensure that your property and belongings are financially protected in the event of an overland flood? If so, then you should take a moment to learn the ins and outs of flood insurance coverage in Canada. Doing this could potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the road.
What is flood risk coverage insurance and what does it do?
As the name implies, flood coverage (also commonly referred to as overland water coverage) is a type of insurance that financially safeguards your property from overland water damage.
Flood coverage isn't generally included in homeowners insurance policies — in most cases, it's considered a named peril, which is something that you add to your existing policy. This is similar to buying earthquake insurance.
What is and isn't covered by flood risk home insurance in Canada?
If you want to avoid paying for water damage in your home flood insurance is your safest bet. However, before you commit to a purchase, you should take a moment to learn what is and isn’t covered by flood insurance:
What is covered by flood insurance in Canada?
In order to submit a flood insurance claim, the water damage needs to be the result of a natural flood that's out of your control.
For instance, you'd be able to file a claim if the flood is the result of one of the following examples:
- Heavy rainfall
- Melting snow, slush or ice
- Overflow from a nearby dam
- Rising water levels in nearby ponds, lakes or rivers
What isn't covered by flood insurance in Canada?
Your insurance provider will not cover water-related damage caused by negligence or a lack of proper maintenance.
Some examples include water damage resulting from:
- Broken or leaking pipes (this damage may be covered by your homeowners insurance)
- Overflowing toilets
- Broken sprinkler systems
- Damaged appliances (leaking dishwasher, refrigerator, etc.)
Don't hesitate to contact your insurance advisor for an in-depth list of damages that aren't covered by flood coverage.
Your insurance advisor can tell you precisely what is and isn't covered by their partners. If you think that it's time to re-shop your home insurance policy, your advisor can also provide you with a collection of affordable, personalized quotes.
Bonus - Sewer backups
No, sewer backups are not covered by flood insurance. Sewer backups fall under a separate category; thus, they require different coverage.
To learn more about protecting your home and belongings from sewer backups, click here.
Are overland floods common in Canada?
Despite the fact that they rarely make the news, overland floods are extremely common all throughout Canada. However, there are a handful of provinces that are considered high-risk.
In 2021, British Columbia experienced one of the worst floods in provincial history. Experts believe that one of the reasons British Columbia experiences such intense flooding is the frequency of forest fires.
As you may know, several forest fires take place in British Columbia every year. Whenever a first fire occurs, a layer of "crust" forms on top of the soil, making it less absorbent. When significant rainfall occurs, the earth can't soak up as much moisture, which leads to flooding in British Columbia.
Manitoba is particularly prone to overland flood damage for numerous reasons.
But, the most noteworthy cause of flooding in Manitoba is the presence of the Red River, which runs through the southern portion of the province. The Red River is known to flood at least once a year, making the surrounding areas exceptionally prone to overland water damage.
In Ontario, flooding is the most common natural disaster.
Ontario is home to some of the Great Lakes and other large bodies of water, like the Grand River. When you add in harsh winters followed by warm springs, you're looking at a recipe for intense flooding.
Much like the provinces listed above, Quebec is home to several extensive waterways, like the St. Lawrence River and Yamasuka River.
Furthermore, much of eastern Quebec is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, making this portion of the province even more at-risk than inland areas.
Who should get flood insurance in Canada?
We feel that flood coverage is a wise and proactive investment for all Canadian homeowners. You never know when a flash flood might occur and damage your property.
However, certain homeowners are at a higher risk than others.
For starters, we urge homeowners in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec to consider purchasing flood coverage. As mentioned earlier, these provinces are more prone to intense flooding than others.
Furthermore, if you live near a sizable body of water, like a lake, pond or river, you may want to talk to your insurance provider about adding flood coverage to your policy.
How much does flood coverage cost in Canada?
Flood coverage is easy to find and more affordable than ever. Many providers that offer flood coverage only charge homeowners a few dollars a month (the price is often even lower for condo owners and renters).
So, if you can afford to buy a cup of coffee every morning, you can likely find room in your budget for flood coverage.
Protecting your home against an overland flood
Although there's no way to protect your property from a severe flood completely, there are a handful of things you can do to minimize the damage.
Some tips include:
- Keep sandbags on hand
- Keep snow away from the foundation of your home
- Have the roof inspected annually
- Clean your eavestroughs
- Install a sump pump
What have you learned about flood insurance Canada?
Before reading this article, you likely thought that floods were sporadic occurrences in Canada. However, now that you've done some research, you can see that floods are quite common and can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Thankfully, you can financially protect your property, belongings and family by purchasing flood coverage.