Preparing for the 2024 Manitoba flood season

Insurance experts share tips to stay safe and protect your property

Winnipeg, MB (Apr. 9, 2024) – With the arrival of spring weather and the potential for heavy rainfall across parts of Manitoba, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM) are reminding Manitoba residents to prepare for the increased risk of flooding.

Here are 10 tips to help protect your property from water damage:

  1. Keep the floor drains inside your home and the storm sewer grates on your street clear of obstructions. Consider installing a backwater valve when possible to do so.
  2. Make sure downspouts are clear of debris and that they direct water away from your home to help prevent basement water damage.
  3. Move valuable items out of your basement to higher levels in your home.
  4. If you have a sump pump, ensure that it is working properly and has a backup power source.
  5. Have someone check your property regularly if you are away from home for an extended period.
  6. If you need to drive during or after a storm, drive according to the conditions and do not drive on flooded roads.
  7. During periods of heavy rainfall, limit water use in your home (this includes limiting use of appliances such as dishwashers and laundry machines).
  8. Consider using rain barrels to help hold and manage excess rainwater around the property.
  9. If flooding is imminent, shut off electricity to the areas of your home that may be affected and use sandbags, or install flood shields or built-up barriers, to stop water from entering through basement windows and doors.
  10. Consider raising large appliances, the furnace and the hot water heater off the basement floor on wood or cement blocks. This should be done by professionals well in advance of potential flooding. If a flood is imminent, consider anchoring these appliances and protecting them with a floodwall or shield.

Rest easier. Know what’s covered.

  • Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if you have purchased specific, optional sewer backup insurance coverage.
  • Overland flood damage, which occurs when bodies of water such as rivers overflow onto dry land, is only covered if you have purchased specific, optional overland flood coverage. However, if you live in a known flood plain, this coverage may not be available.
  • Ground water, or the rising water table that seeps in through windows, doors and walls, could be covered if you purchased optional flood coverage.
  • Home insurance and business insurance policies generally do not cover damage caused by coastal flooding and/or storm surge.
  • Damage to homes caused by wind is usually covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage caused by water entering through openings.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insured damage are entitled to additional living expenses.
  • If you have purchased comprehensive or all perils automobile insurance coverage, damage to your vehicles from wind is usually covered. This coverage is not mandatory, so check your policy.

To learn more about these coverages and your options, talk to your local insurance broker or representative.

Spring cleaning and preparing a home inventory

Spring cleaning season is an ideal time to prepare or update your home inventory. If you do not have a home inventory, create and maintain a list of your belongings that you create and maintain over time in case you need to make an insurance claim. Use IBC’s home inventory spreadsheet to get started. Having an updated home inventory will help ensure you have the appropriate level of contents coverage and help you in the unfortunate event of a claim. Consider these additional steps when completing your list:

  • Take photographs or video of all of your valuable possessions.
  • Keep the bills, receipts, warranties and/or instruction manuals for your more valuable possessions and store them in a safe place. These can serve as proof of ownership and help determine replacement cost.
  • Review your insurance policy. If you plan to update your home with any renovations or additions, let your insurer know in advance. It may affect the coverage you need and it’s in your best interest – especially in the event of a loss.

As the frequency and severity of extreme weather events continue to increase across the country, so too do the financial costs borne by insurers and taxpayers. We all must do better to protect ourselves from natural disasters, which has an outsized impact on the most vulnerable households. As reported by IBC earlier this year, severe weather in 2023 caused over $3.1 billion in insured damage across Canada. IBC and IBAM each continue to engage with the federal and provincial governments on ways to improve the climate resilience of communities across the country.


“Flooding and related sewer backup damage is costly for homeowners, businesses, and municipalities. However, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the risk of water damage to your home and property. We encourage consumers to contact their insurance representative if they have questions about their individual insurance policies, including optional add-on coverage for sewer backup or overland flooding. Residents can also contact IBC’s Consumers Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC or visit We’re here to help.” – Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific and Western, IBC.

“As we’ve seen many times before, flooding events in Manitoba can be costly, stressful and can often occur with little warning. It’s important to be prepared and talk to your insurance broker about your coverage options. Above-normal temperatures, melting snow, ice jams and rain are all contributing factors to local flood conditions. IBAM is urging all Manitobans living in flood-prone areas to be on alert and – above all – to stay safe. We can all do our part to make sure we are prepared for what the spring flood season may bring.” – Grant Wainikka, CEO, IBAM.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up the vast majority of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

For more information, visit If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

About the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM)

The Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba (IBAM) is a not-for-profit association that represents over 2,000 property and casualty (P&C) insurance brokers in 300 storefronts in over 120 communities across Manitoba. IBAM exists to protect, serve and offer choice to Manitobans through developing and supporting brokerages. For more information, visit

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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