Flood Insurance Q&A: Do you really have it?
Most standard home insurance policies come with limited coverage for water damage. With extreme weather events making flood damage more and more common (to the point that water has surpassed fire as the leading cause of home insurance claims), it’s crucial to find out how your insurance policy would respond to a water claim.
We’re here to answer some common questions about water coverage. Note that specific coverages vary by location and insurer. Ask your broker what your policy covers and what additional coverage is available to you.
What kind of Water Damage is covered by my Basic Home Insurance Policy?
Most standard home insurance policies cover water damage caused by things inside your home (a pipe bursts). Still, the damage caused by water entering your home from external sources (during heavy rainfall, a sewer backup, or a sump pump failure, for example) is not covered.
The good news is that depending on your location and your insurance carrier, you may be able to purchase additional coverage to protect yourself in these increasingly common emergencies.
What if I have to Evacuate During a Flood?
Most home, condo, and tenant insurance policies include coverage for additional living expenses, which pays for out-of-pocket expenses for things like food and accommodation when you leave home because of an event insured by your policy. If you’ve purchased overland water coverage, you may be able to claim your additional living expenses when your local government orders an evacuation due to flooding or if you need to stay away from your home during the repair process after a flood.
What kind of Optional Add-ons are Available?
While optional add-ons vary by insurance company and location, here are two of the more common water-related add-ons to discuss with your broker:
Overland Water Coverage
Generally speaking, overland water coverage protects you from damage caused by excessive rain, overflowing rivers, spring run-off, and melting snow. It usually excludes damage by saltwater, including tidal waves and tsunamis.
Sewer Backup Coverage
Sewer backup coverage protects you from loss or damage to your property caused by the rupture or escape of water from a sewer, drain, sump pump, or septic system.
Tip: Installing a backwater valve can help minimize your risk of a sewer backup.
All home insurance policies are unique, so review your policy and connect with your insurance broker to ensure that you have the coverage before the next flooding season.