The June flooding in Alberta and Toronto’s recent 100+mm rainfall in a single day has people worried about how record rainfall, flooding and sewer backups will affect them in the future. Many homeowners are wondering if their home insurance policies will cover such damage.
There are many causes of home flooding and it’s important to know what your home policy covers. It’s also important to understand the difference between the insurance distinctions between water damage and flooding.
Simple water damage due to common flooding, such as burst pipes, a leak in your roof or a broken water heater, are usually covered. Some policies may have additional coverage, for an additional fee, for sewer backups and the corresponding cleanup. This is especially important due to the contamination and mould issues that are hand-in-hand with this type of damage.
On the other hand, overland flooding, such as that from excessive rainfall, is very likely not covered under a standard policy.
Some water damage extension policies may cover a range of expenses in an official flood. Additional living expenses if you’re forced to flee your home and even spoiled food in the fridge and freezer from power outages can be covered in these extension policies.
Review your homeowner’s policy and discuss your coverage in detail with your broker. Be aware that if you are in a high-risk area, such as on a flood plain or near a lake or river, you will pay much higher premiums and corresponding deductibles. Some Toronto residents are discovering that they are not covered, or that their deductibles are too high to make claims worthwhile, so review your policy thoroughly and make any necessary revisions.
As with so many things with homeownership, it’s important to read your documentation carefully and discuss policies with your representative long before you may need to make a claim.