Overland Water Protection: What it is and why you should have it.
Did you realize that water damage has now surpassed fire as the leading cause of personal property insurance claims in Canada? According to Environment Canada, they predict the trend of increasing severe weather events will continue. Where severe weather event in Canada used to occur every 40 years, they are now expected every 6 years and the amount of precipitation has increased by 12% over the last 50 years. We think It’s time you thought about Overland Water Protection.
What is it and what is covered?
One of the newer coverages that has been created over the past year or two by insurance companies across Canada is called “Overland Water Protection”, or “Overland Water Coverage”. This coverage was designed to protect homeowners from damage that is caused by ground water entering your home through the foundation, basement floors, walls or sewer line. This would be damage caused by fresh water flooding such as the overflow of a body of water such as a river or lake, but also covers in the event of the sudden accumulation of water from a heavy rainfall, spring run-off or the natural overflow of a dam, dike or levee. This coverage is not to be confused with “Flood coverage” as in general terms, flood coverage usually refers to flooding from salt water waves, tides, tsunamis and storms and these perils are not covered by overland water protection. Also, just because you do not live near water or at the bottom of a hill, you should still have this protection as overland water damage can be caused by many other things, such as spring ground thaw, heavy rain and snow melt runoffs. Your downspouts, gutters and drains can overflow resulting in water entering your home through your foundation, under ground level doors and other entry points.
What isn’t covered under this extension?
As mentioned above, this is not to be confused with Flood coverage. This extension only covers damage that was caused by a sudden weather related event, and does not cover slow, continuous or repeated seepage of water into your home that happens over a period of time. This kind of damage would be considered a home maintenance issue such as a cracked foundation or slow, leaking pipes. Also not covered is the intentional release of a dam, dike or levee unless it was due to an official flood control measure. Storm surges and salt water flood are not covered.
Doesn’t your sewer back-up coverage look after this?
In short, no. Although sewer back up does cover damage in the event of the backing up of the sewer line, it does not cover if the sewer backs up in the time preceding, during or after a flood, or if the overland water enters your home from any other entry point. Insurance companies now exclude coverage sewer backup coverage when it occurs before, during or after a flood. This is why it is vital you have both sewer backup AND overland water protection to be adequately covered.
Is Overland Water Protection available on your policy?
Unfortunately, not every home policy is eligible, however, most homes, seasonal dwellings, condos and rental properties are eligible, but there are some zones in Ontario that are considered to be high risk for flooding, and these zones are excluded and coverage cannot be purchased. Homes or dwellings that are within 100 metres of a river or other flowing body of water also do not qualify. Waterfront lake properties, however, may qualify if they are located on a completely enclosed lake and the 100 metre rule does not apply in this case.
As you can see there are so many scenarios, rules, conditions and qualifications for this new coverage it can be very confusing to know if you have the coverage, or, if it is available to you. What we do know is that you should have this coverage to adequately protect your property.
Call us today to discuss this coverage.