Spring is here, along with much-anticipated warmer temperatures, budding leaves and blooming flowers. But along with those delightful seasonal shifts comes the dreaded possibility of spring flooding.

How can you prepare to combat swift snowmelts and excessive rainfall that can lead to property damage — and a lot of headaches?
Basement flooding is already on the rise all across Canada. Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo indicates that climate changes leading to intense rainfalls, combined with aging infrastructure and growing urban areas (among other factors), give even more reason for homeowners to put flood protection measures in place.

Know your water damage definitions

Many people don’t know the terminology (and implications if you get it mixed up) when it comes to water damage, especially “overland flooding” and “sewer backup.” If you don’t have coverage for both, one could negate the other. Here’s the difference:

What is overland flooding? This is when water literally flows ‘over the land,’ and ends up seeping into buildings through any opening — doors, windows, cracks and any open spaces. The Government of Canada calls this “one of the most frequent and costly natural hazards in Canada.”

What is sewer backup? This is an unfortunate occurrence that often includes foul odours and other unpleasantries. Sewer backups are when water comes up through your sewer system and drain pipes, flooding into your home. This dirty water should be avoided at all costs, as it can also create health hazards for anyone in the house.

If you have coverage for sewer backup but not for overland water, your sewer backup coverage may not respond if you experience a backup but there has also been flood water identified inside your home.

Talk to your broker

Aside from taking precautionary measures, it’s also important to prepare for the worst-case scenario when it comes to your insurance coverage. Talk to your broker about what types of water damage are covered under your policy and what coverage limits may be available to you — because there’s more than one type of flood.

For example, a flood could result from river or lake overflow entering the home through doors or windows. It could also be a result of a sewer backup caused by that overflow. Or, a flood could result from a severe rainstorm that causes surface water to enter the home.

Who is at risk?

Homeowners who live in a low-lying river valley aren’t the only ones who need to worry about flooding. Any home could be vulnerable — even condos.

A sewer backup, for example, could damage condo units and common areas, so an extra layer of protection should be added to an existing insurance policy. This is where a quick call to your broker can clarify your existing coverage, along with the options you have available. Getting that extra protection may not require a big change to your policy or budget either.

Source: Wawanesa Insurance