In today’s world of extreme weather events, $2 billion has become the new normal for yearly catastrophic losses – most of this is due to water-related damage.

4 Ways To Prepare For Water-Related Damage

Flooding and related sewer backup damage is costly for homeowners, businesses, municipalities and insurance companies. But, there are steps you can take to help mitigate risk.

From ensuring that important documents are not stored in your basement to installing a sump pump, there are many ways to be proactive such as:

  1. Keep a current and detailed home inventory. 
  2. If your neighbourhood is prone to flooding, take precautions throughout your house and property.
  3. Assemble a disaster safety kit. 
  4. Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan ​for your family. 

Rest Easier. Know What’s Covered. 

Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage. Be aware that:

  • ​Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is covered by all home insurance policies. However, damage may not be covered when freezing causes the escape of water.
  • Historically in Canada, home insurance policies haven’t covered loss or damage caused by overland flooding, which occurs when bodies of fresh water, such as rivers or dams overflow onto dry land. This is no longer the case in Canada. Many insurers now offer residential overland flood coverage for the majority of homes across the country. This coverage is optional and based on risk. Commonly, this coverage is combined with sewer back up coverage, which is also optional. Even if you don’t live by a lake or river, your home could still experience flood damage in a variety of different ways. Check with your insurance representative on cost and availability for your home.
  • Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased.
  • Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage caused by water entering through sudden openings caused by wind or hail.
  • If comprehensive or all perils coverage has been purchased, damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered. This coverage is not mandatory, so check your policy.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.

Tips For Starting The Claim Process

  • Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time.