According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Toronto flash floods of 2013 constituted the most expensive natural disaster of all time in Ontario, costing the province almost $1 billion in insured losses. More recently, the city's 2018 rainstorms caused extensive flooding resulting in over $80 million in insured damage. With climate change on the rise, natural disasters like this are becoming more commonplace.
Despite the fact that flooding is by far the most frequent kind of natural disaster in the country, insurers only started offering flood insurance coverage in 2015. Before then, only sewer system back-up coverage was offered, but now Canadians have several options, depending on where you live. All flood insurance is optional, and if your insurer offers coverage it is purchased as an add-on to your home insurance policy.
This guide aims to answer all your flood insurance questions.
The difference is where the water comes from.
These damages are covered by your base home insurance policy covers:
Your guide to coverages and exclusions under flood insurance:
|Type of damage||Covered?||Type of Coverage||Exclusions|
|Sudden bursting of pipes; Plumbing; Water main breaks; Freezing of indoor plumbing; Overflowing or leaking appliances||Yes||Standard home insurance||Frozen pipes in a vacant home left uninsulated; Flooding due to poor insulation; Wear and tear; Rust, or corrosion; Slow deterioration|
|Overland flood damage caused by a large body of freshwater that flows over dry land (caused by snow melts, rainfall, etc.) and then enters your home through doors, windows or cracks||Yes||Overland water insurance (add-on)||Overland flood damage due to a dam disaster, or saltwater flooding due to tidal flooding; Earthquakes, landslides, or tsunamis; Damage caused by rising groundwater|
|Flood damage if you live in a known, high-risk flood plain||May not be covered||Check with your provider||Home located within 100 metres of flowing water|
|Damage or flooding caused by wastewater that backs up through sewers or municipal septic systems||Yes||Sewer back-up coverage (add-on)||Sewer back-ups caused by exterior drains at the bottom of your window wells, sump pump power failure|
|Freshwater flooding in your toilets, basement, or drains due to a storm sewer back-up||Yes||Sewer back-up coverage (add-on)||Depending on your provider, sewer back-ups caused by exterior drains at the bottom of your window wells and sump pump power failure may not be covered.|
|Damage to vehicles due to flooding and rising water by rain, hailstorms, thunderstorms and lightning; Sewer line back-up||Yes; under auto insurance||Comprehensive or ‘all perils’ coverage (under auto insurance)||Water damage due to leaving a window open, or general negligence|
|Damage to vehicles due to falling trees, branches or other objects during a natural disaster||Yes; under auto insurance||Comprehensive or ‘all perils’ coverage (under auto insurance)||Water damage due to leaving a window open, or general negligence|
Since tidal waves, tsunamis, or breakage of dams are all risks that affect only a small percentage of the population living in close proximity to coastal areas and other regions, the cost of this coverage would be exponentially high against the risk.
Water that gets into your car during a sudden storm, overflow or flooding can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s engine. Repairs are typically covered if you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, or if you have purchased an all-perils coverage. It is not included in your basic mandatory auto insurance coverage, so it is good to review your car insurance policy to find out what is covered. Coverage for your vehicle is not covered under home insurance flood coverage.
A comprehensive home insurance policy may or may not contain coverage for certain kinds of flood damage. It depends on the insurer. Typically, basic home insurance coverage will protect your home from some water damages. If you want to purchase additional coverage for overland flood insurance, some providers will require you to also purchase sewer back-up. Sewer back-up coverage can be purchased on its own without adding overland flood insurance.
Each insurance policy is different and when it comes to flood insurance, you need a policy that is unique to your needs. This is why there is no one best type of flood insurance, as everyone’s situation is different. When you shop for your home insurance quotes online on RATESDOTCA, you will get rates from 30+ top providers, and you can talk to these providers to ensure you have all the coverage you need, come rain or hail.
Not every provider offers overland flooding insurance, and coverages vary vastly, which is why you should get quotes from multiple insurers to make sure you are getting the best rates for your needs.
Yes, you can be denied flood insurance if you misrepresent your situation. Any damage caused by negligence or poor maintenance of your property can cause your claims to be denied. Some of these instances include:
Your insurance is there to cover you for any sudden, accidental, or unexpected water/flood damage caused by breakdowns, blockages, clogging, or natural disasters, not to make up for your negligence.
In some cases, older homes that stand in a flood plain cannot be insured because the risk of flooding and damage is exponentially high. Homeowners in such situations can still be assisted with their claims by the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program funded by the federal government but distributed at a provincial government level.
That depends on whether or not your condo unit is at risk in the event of flooding, such as if it is on the first floor or a lower unit. Whether you rent or own, you might want to consider adding flood insurance, including sewer system backup coverage, to your policy to ensure your belongings are protected.
If you rent an apartment in a flood plain, or a basement apartment, you may need flood insurance. Your landlord will typically have property/landlord insurance, which will insure the building and its structure, but the safety of your contents (like your furniture, electronics, clothes and other belongings inside your rental home) is on you and this is what tenant insurance is for.
A basic renters’ insurance does not automatically provide coverage against flood damage. However, you can buy this coverage as an add-on into your existing tenant insurance policy. Water damage like sudden leaks and pipe bursts will typically be covered in your standard tenant insurance.
If you feel like your home is prone to rainstorms or flood, don’t wait till the water comes up to consider flood insurance. Talk to your representative today to see if you should add this extra coverage to your insurance policy.
Even if you have purchased the required coverages, these tips we have gathered from the Insurance Bureau of Canada will help minimize any potential water damage:
*Check with your municipality before installing a backflow valve; they provide subsidies on these valves which are otherwise expensive.