Blog Flood Insurance : Are You Protected Against Basement Flooding?

Feb 10, 2021

About Flood Insurance And What's Covered

Inside of house with flooding

Have a flooded basement? You have home insurance, so you are covered, right? Not necessarily. While some water damage is covered, one area that is commonly excluded is basement flooding.

Some forms of flood damage are covered by insurance and others are not. However, one area that is not is overland flood damage. You will need to add additional insurance to ensure you are protected.

What Is 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.

Overland flood protection is offered by some insurers as an add-on. 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 it.

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 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

Brick house with sandbags to prevent flooding

Overland flooding should not be confused with things such as sewer backups, flooding from neighbours, and accidents due to a broken pipe or plumbing issues are typically covered.

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 it :

  • 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 : If you are considering purchasing a, 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 can prevent damages. 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 : Taking precautionary steps to ensure your basement windows and ground level doors are properly sealed can help prevent issues.
  • 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 th.

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. Store personal belongings high up on shelves or in the upper areas.

Tips For Purchasing Flood Insurance

It is important to keep the following in mind on your search :

  • Don't wait for your renewal : You don’t have to wait for your renewal to add overland flooding protection.
  • Separate deductible : A separate deductible applies to this area.
  • Not all companies offer it : There are only a handful of insurers that currently offer this in Ontario.
  • Increase your deductible to save : You can save money on by increasing your deductible.
  • Some homes will not be eligible : There are some instances where your house may not be eligible.

Our advisors can answer your questions about this type of protection, help you assess your needs so you are prepared for no matter what storm occurs..

How To Deal With Flood Insurance Claims And Repairs

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 is 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 advisor immediately and work with them to get the professional help you need to start the home insurance claims process.

If you have questions about flood insurance, don't hesitate to speak to our helpful team today.

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