Overland Flood Coverage vs. Sewer Back up Coverage

In recent years across Canada there have been many devastating flood related incidents which have ranged from torrential rain in Toronto to massive scale floods in Alberta. When it comes to insurance water damage coverage can be murky and ensuring you have the correct coverage can be a matter of saving your basement vs. watching it all wash away.


With water damage claims becoming more and more common, insurance companies are now having to adapt to the increasing possibility that their clients need better coverage. The problem with that is the unsettling fact of just how expensive water damage claims can be; In 2013 alone flooding and related sewer back-up claims topped a whopping $3.2 billion in pay outs to policy holders.


So how do you know if you are covered in the event of a water damage claim? The first thing you do is read through your policy documents and speak to your insurance broker. Do you know the difference between Overland Flood Coverage vs. Sewer Back Up Coverage? Does your policy cover you against Service Line damage? If you live within 100 meters of a large body of water you may find you can’t get flood coverage, something that can be a worry to any seasonal dwelling owners who have a beautiful place next to a large body of water.


Most people only have Sewer Back-Up coverage which covers you against a really unpleasant experience that appears from your washroom, but you may find you are eligible for Overland Flood Coverage which helps to protect your home against water damage from above grade level (think very heavy and sudden rain). Service Line coverage protects you if you have water main lines running through your property. A good example of this coverage is if you have trees on your property that decide to burrow into your water line causing water damage from a broken pipe. The important factor to remember is the damage must be sudden and accidental. Seepage is NOT covered.


If you are unfortunate enough to live in a no coverage zone then taking proactive steps to help minimize damage is worth the time and effort. For example, take an inventory of your home; itemize your belongings, photograph them and keep it in a safe, dry place. Don’t store valuable, personal items in your basement – keep them in an upper room instead.  For more helpful advice you can read this IBC information sheet


Don’t let water get the better of you or your home – with winter on the way and rumors of bad weather ahead it’s better to act now and give yourself peace of mind later.

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