Overland Water Protection: FAQ's, Options and How to Know what YOU Need.
Overland water protection has become one of the hottest topics in Canadian home insurance; due to the extreme flooding seen in Calgary and Toronto back in 2013 that resulted in millions of dollars in damage; insurers have been forced to take a very close look at the flood, sewer backup and water damage related coverages they offer and ensure wordings are amended to reflect our country's changing climate.
So what is the difference between overland water, flood and sewer back up?
Overland water is water that comes into the home from fresh water sources such as an over flow of rivers, lakes, ponds or rain accumulation.
Flood refers to coastal flooding that enters into the home from salt water sources such as tsunamis and tidal waves.
Sewer back up is the escape or back up of water or sewage from a sewer line into the home including the malfunction of a sump pump or septic system.
What does your basic home policy cover?
The most basic home insurance policy does not cover any of the above described coverages. It may only provide limited insurance for certain types of water damage such as burst pipes and appliance malfunction unless you have purchased additional coverages.
What are your options?
While each company's options are slightly different there are coverages available that can be added to your policy to protect you against overland water for an additional cost. Premiums vary by company and by your location. Here are examples from three of the companies we work with here at Secure Insurance:
Aviva has an “Overland Water Endorsement” available which provides coverage for losses from the sudden build-up or run off of surface water and overflow from any-body of fresh water. This coverage works in harmony with the existing sewer back up coverage to provide proper protection.
RSA offers a similar coverage called waterproof coverage which combines the sewer back up and flooding coverage for incidents of flooding from fresh water, drains, down spouts and eaves.
Intact/Novex have a slightly different approach. Their package offers tiered coverage based on where you live. Their sewer back up coverage includes $1,000 towards the installation of a sewer backup loss mitigation system such as a backwater valve or a sump pump with a back-up system at the time of an insured sewer backup loss. Water and sewer line coverage can be included as well. Overland water coverage can be available based on where you live.
Intact/Novex consider overland water to be sewer back up caused by the entrance of surface water and flood exposures such as the overflow of a lake or river. A fourth coverage called Ground water which is considered a sudden and accidental infiltration of water through basement walls, foundations or floors. This coverage is optional and available for purchase with overland water coverage with matching limits.
It is important to note that if overland water enters the home in the same occurrence as a sewer back up, overland water is the responding coverage therefore having sewer back up coverage only will not suffice.
With so many choices available, we recommend contacting one of our brokers to help further explain coverage options that are available to you. We can help you analyze your risk and chose the best option for your home. Each company has their benefits and it's our job to do the research and find the best policies to meet your needs.
It's important for you to understand what coverage you have; where there may be gaps in your policy and feel confident that you know how your policy will respond in the event of a loss.