Overland flooding in Ontario cottage country not covered by insurance, warns IBC

Toronto, ON (Apr. 24, 2013) – Several central Ontario cottage-country communities are on high alert for increased flooding as water levels remain higher than they have been for decades. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds homeowners to take measures to protect themselves and their belongings.

“First and foremost, we encourage all individuals in danger of flooding to take the proper measures to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Ralph Palumbo, VP, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “In addition, we urge home and cottage owners to take preventative action to minimize their losses.”

He added: “It’s important to take preventative action against flooding because damage caused by overland flooding is not covered by home insurance policies anywhere in Canada.”

The purpose of insurance is to spread risk amongst many policyholders. But overland flooding is a risk for only a small percentage of the population – that is, those who live in a flood plain or close to rivers or lakes. Since most homeowners are not exposed to the risk, and should not share in the cost, providing flood insurance would be unaffordable for the homeowners who might need it.

Palumbo added: “However, some potential damage from flooding may be the result of sewer back-up. Coverage for this type of damage is available, but must be purchased as an add-on to a home insurance policy.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources and local Conservation Authorities are monitoring water levels closely and providing flood forecast updates to the affected municipalities. For more information, click here for flood updates.

IBC offers tips for protecting belongings, and .

IBC recommends these helpful tips to protect your home:

  • Move valuable items from the basement to upper floors.
  • Do not stack wet items on dry items just to get them off the floor.
  • Dry the flooded area within a few days to prevent mould growth. Industrial-sized air dryers are often used in these instances and are typically available for purchase or rent at one of the major hardware stores.
  • If the water is from a freshwater source, quickly retrieve from the flooded area any valuables. If the flood source originates from the septic system, avoid contact with the water and do not cross-contaminate unaffected areas by walking in and out of the contaminated areas.

Insurance coverage for water damage

  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is covered by home insurance policies. However, damage may not be covered when freezing causes the escape of water.
  • Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.
  • Damage to vehicles from water is usually covered if comprehensive or all perils coverage auto insurance has been purchased. This coverage isn’t mandatory, so check your policy.
  • Overland flooding resulting in water overflowing onto dry land and causing damage is not covered in home insurance policies in Canada. (Speak to your insurance representative for more information on how you can protect your home).

For those Ontarians looking for answers or if they need help with their insurance questions, please call our Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-387-2880.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 115,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $44 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca and for IBC on Twitter follow @insurancebureau.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada