Snow isn’t the only weather concern for Canadian homeowners. Flooding can also be a real risk. Of course, water damage can occur from the inside of your home as well. The way these types of damage are covered (or not) varies depending on the cause of damage and the coverage your policy provides.

Ice and snow
Among the biggest risks from snow and ice are roof damage or collapses due to the weight. These risks are covered in most cases because they are often named perils on home insurance policies or are covered by all-risk policies, which cover all risks except those specifically excluded. However, roofs wear out over time and some insurers adjust the insured value of the roof based on its age.

Insurers refer to ground flooding as overland flooding. If the water touched the ground before entering your home, it’s overland flooding and most home insurance policies don’t provide coverage. However, you’ll often have the option to add coverage for overland flooding to your policy. If you aren’t sure if you have flood coverage, reach out to your broker.

Sewer and drain backup
Root growth, blockages, or even breaks in pipes exiting your home can cause backups in kitchens, laundry rooms, or bathrooms. A standard home insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage but you’ll often be able to purchase coverage as a rider to your policy. Be aware, however, that coverage doesn’t extend to the sewer pipes outside of your home. Your policy only covers damage to your home itself if you have coverage for sewer and drain backups.

Roof or siding leaks
Sudden and accidental are the key terms to bear in mind when it comes to coverage for water damage due to roof or siding leaks. A slow leak that causes damage over time is regarded as a maintenance item. A sudden leak due to a storm or damage from a falling object, like a tree branch, is likely to be covered by your policy.

Spills, burst pipes, or accidental overflows
Sudden and accidental come into play with spills and other indoor water mishaps. If you were filling the bathtub for the kids’ bathtime and then the phone rang and then the kids were painting the wall with model paints and then the doorbell rang and the dog ran out when you opened the door and then you finally remembered the filling bathtub as the water was coming down the steps, a standard home insurance policy can help cover the water damage due to the overflow. Unfortunately, your policy won’t cover the cost of repainting the wall where your kids painted their model-paint masterpiece.

Water damage due to burst pipes is also covered in most cases, but a slow leak or dripping pipe joint or valve is a maintenance item and your home insurance won’t provide coverage.

If you aren’t sure if you’ve purchased any optional water-damage coverages for your policy, just reach out to your broker for a policy review. We can go through all the major coverages on your policies to be sure you don’t have any potentially costly gaps in coverage.