With the current flooding events happening in Ontario and Quebec everyone should be checking their insurance policies for coverage. It wasn’t that long ago when flood insurance was not available for home insurance policies. Here’s the quick and dirty on flood insurance in Ontario.
Flooding is rapidly becoming the number one property threat.
Toronto’s flood of July 2013 was at that time Ontario’s most costly natural disaster causing more than $850 million in damage.
In September 2016 Windsor, Ont. area suffered damage of more than $25 million after a storm dumped 200 millimeters of rain in just 15 hours.
Flood coverage, referred to as “overland water” in the industry, is available for homeowners in Ontario.
Insurers started offering overland water coverage back in 2015 with many more offering it in 2016.
Overland water coverage widely varies between companies. Some insurers have maintained the distinction between different types of water coverage, while others have gone with a more comprehensive offering.
There are many different limits of coverage, deductibles and definitions.
A common definition of overland water is “fresh water from rivers, lakes or water accumulated as a result of heavy rainfall”.
In many cases you need to purchase sewer backup coverage in order to be able to purchase overland water.
Overland water coverage cannot be purchased in some high risk areas.
Business Insurance Flood insurance has long been offered for businesses but in many cases needs to be added separately. Some insurers may require a higher deductible or may limit the amount of coverage available. Car Insurance If your car is insured for the optional coverage of “All Perils” or “Comprehensive” than flood damage will be covered. The lawyer who famously abandoned a $200K Ferrari during the 2013 Toronto Floods comes to mind. Canadian Government Relief
When a major natural disaster occurs, the federal government provides financial assistance to provinces and territories by way of Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. Ontarians are less likely to qualify for federal government disaster assistance for flooding. Federal legislation stipulates that if "insurance is readily and reasonably available," then you don't qualify for disaster assistance — even if you never actually purchased the insurance, or didn't even know it existed. The Ontario government offers the Ontario's Disaster Recovery Assistance Program. Those who qualify under the program "are eligible for funds for emergency living expenses and partial financial assistance to return essential property to its basic function," up to a maximum of $250,000. This is applicable to primary residences only and does not include secondary locations or cottages. Also note that this does not mean restoring your home to the condition that it was in before the damage but merely getting the house to function.
Is it really possible to protect your home from flooding?
There are many things that can be done to help protect your home such as:
Point downspouts away from the house foundation.
Make sure that the grading around the house slopes away from it.
Make sure sump pumps are working and that you have a backup in case the power goes out.
Make use of a backflow prevention valve.
Take valuables out of the basement.
Make sure that catch basin’s near the house are not blocked.