Friday, June 28, 2019

Basement flooding and homeowner's insurance in Ontario

Basement flooding is steadily increasing due to intense rainfall, earlier snowmelt and abrupt changes in the Canadian climate. The problem has become too familiar in Ontario, and families who fall victim to flooding pay a hefty amount in repairs. Besides costs, these urban floods are highly distressing as getting things back to normal requires a lot of effort and time. In some situations, homeowners have to face extreme disaster and prolonged time to get back on feet.

In order to be on the safe side, you may have homeowner’s insurance for flooding or water damage. But this insurance that majority of Canadians have with them is not necessarily providing adequate coverage and relying on this insurance can’t suffice since damages related to overland flood or sewage are not covered. 

Don’t delay unless you are in crisis and be aware of what the insurance covers in Ontario. 

Basement flooding is the topmost climate-related cost in Canada:

Intact centre on climate adaption in Canada has revealed, “The most significant climate-related damage Canadian have to deal with is “Basement flooding”. The average cost to repair the loss in 2018 was $43,000 – chances are high that the figure can rise as basement flooding incidents are not going to stop any time soon due to uncertainty in weather and climate changes. The report found that many homeowners don’t do enough to prevent water damages while cracks in basement windows, basement drain with low grading and ground level windows augment the chances of basement flooding

What does basic Homeowner's insurance offer for basement flooding?

Insurance plans do cover the basement flooding to some extent, yet most of the time it is contingent upon the source of water leakage. The insurer is likely to cover water damage resulting from malfunctioning home appliances or pipes bursting from freezing. But what if something causes sudden and accidental flooding due to plumbing issues like swimming tub outflow, or sudden toilet overflows that can damage the expensive flooring - this is where these instances fall short, and you regret not having additional coverage for flooding.

Do I need additional coverage for flooding?

No one likes to see anything where water seeps through basement wall windows and flooring. Therefore, before the home befalls due to sewage backup from the municipal system or you experience overland flooding; it's better to be proactive by getting extended home insurance as the unreinforced block basement can’t withstand heavy pressure and collapse easily. 

How to protect yourself:

It's in the best interest of any homeowner to take as preventive measures as they can - Getting an extended home insurance plan, and installation of backwater valve can go a long way to reducing flood cost. While there are other fool-proof actions, you can carry out to mitigate the flood risks like:

- Installing flood alarms, windows wells, and covers.
- Storing valuable belongings in watertight containers.
- Replacing deteriorating appliances and pipes.
- Extending downspouts along with regular cleaning of eaves.
- Installing a sump pump and maintaining backup powers.