Mar 1, 2017
Have a flooded basement? You have home insurance so you are covered, right? Not necessarily. While some water damage is covered under your home insurance policy, one area that is commonly excluded is basement flooding. This is often an area of insurance that homeowners struggle with and find confusing.
Some forms of water damage are covered and some are not covered. However, one area that is NOT COVERED is overland flood damage. You will need to take out additional overland flood insurance coverage to ensure you are protected.
What Is Overland Flooding And Overland Flood Insurance?
Overland flooding is a situation where water overflows from a lake, river, or body of water and causes damage to homes, vehicles, and other property. It is usually caused by extreme storms, heavy rainfall in short periods of time, and rapidly melting snow. Water damage from these events is typically not included in your home insurance coverage.
Overland flood insurance is offered by some insurance companies as an additional policy or coverage. If you live in a region that is prone to overland flooding from lakes and rivers, along flood plains, or in low areas, it’s recommended that you invest in overland flood insurance.
Overland floods and coastal floods are two considered differently for insurance purposes. Floods from coastal waters, storm surge, salt water and tidal waves are not covered as part of overland flood insurance policies.
Why Isn't Flood Damage From Coastal Storms Covered?
According to the IBC,
The purpose of insurance is to spread risk among many policyholders. Storm surges or tidal waves are risks for only the small percentage of the population who live in coastal areas. Since most homeowners aren’t exposed to this risk, they should not be expected to share in the cost through their premiums. This means the cost of coverage would be very high for the smaller number of people who might need it.
Basement Flooding From Sewer Backup Is Different Than Overland Flooding
Overland flooding should not be confused with other basement flooding related events. Things such as sewer backups, flooding from neighbors, and basement flooding due to a broken pipe or plumbing issue are typically covered in your home insurance policy (if you are not sure, check with your broker today). These are considered different events than overland flooding.
Overland Flooding And Basement Flood Damage Prevention Tips
A flooded basement is not something homeowners want to experience if they can prevent it. While we can’t control the weather, there are some things we can do to protect our homes from overland flooding water damage :
- Live in a newer area : Most newer subdivisions and residential areas are designed to help handle water from large rainstorms and guide excessive water away from homes. “When new communities are designed, municipal engineers and planners build underground sewer pipes and create overland flow routes to help convey storm water and snowmelt away from urban areas. In many cases, streets, ditches, swales and even parks have been designed to carry water away from residential areas,” says The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.
- Research before you buy a home : If you are considering purchasing a home, make sure you research the area and determine it is not an area that is prone to overland flooding.
- Ensure your home is properly graded : Landscaping to prevent basement flooding is important. Proper grading and having your land slope away from your home will help redirect storm water to the proper channels.
- Add weather sealant around basement windows : Basement window well flooding can happen. Taking precautionary steps to ensure your basement windows and ground level doors are properly sealed can help prevent water from getting into your home.
- Make sure downspouts are installed properly : Ensuring your downspouts are far enough away from your home will help prevent water from pooling around the foundation.
- Install a sump pump and backwater valve : If you don’t already have one, consider installing a sump pump and backwater valve in your basement floor to reduce the chances of basement flooding.
Even if you take the above steps, a basement flood could still happen. Therefore, it’s important to avoid storing important documents and valuable in areas of the basement where they could be subject to water damage. Store important personal belongings high up on shelves or in the upper areas of your home.
Tips For Purchasing Overland Flooding Insurance
When shopping for overland water insurance, it’s important to know the following :
- Don't wait for your renewal : You don’t have to wait for your policy renewal to add overland flooding insurance.
- Separate deductible : A separate deductible applies to this coverage.
- Not all insurance companies offer it : There are only a handful of insurance companies that currently offer this form of coverage in Ontario.
- Increase your deductible to save : You can save money on your overland policy by increasing your deductible.
- Some homes man not be eligible : There are some instances where you may not be eligible for overland coverage.
Our home insurance brokers can answer all your questions about overland insurance coverage, help you assess your needs, and help you get a quote for overland flood insurance.
How To Deal With Basement Flooding Repair
If you experience a basement flood or water damage from an overland flooding event, it’s important to follow the right steps to open your claim and start the process of cleaning up after a flood. This means ensuring your family and home are safe.
Although overland flooding will generally consist of relatively clean rainwater, it may wash soil and mud into your basement, or it may be tainted with chemicals, pet waste, salt, or other contaminants from city streets and local buildings,says The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.
The best way to clean a flooded basement is to let the professionals handle it. Always err on the side of caution, call your insurance broker immediately and work with them to get the professional help you need to start the basement flood repair process.
More Home Insurance Articles And Information
House Water Damage And Prevention - What Is Covered By Home Insurance?
The Guide To Getting Your House Ready For Winter
Tips When Buying A New House - Insurance Considerations And More
Ontario Home Insurance
High Risk Home Insurance
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