The vital Difference Between Flood and Sewer Backup Insurance

Mar 7, 2017
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This summer was a real eye-opener for many homeowners in Ontario. Watching footage of Toronto, the largest and busiest city in Canada, brought to a standstill by sudden and dramatic flooding has reminded many of us just how fickle nature can be. Nothing like looking at a picture of a streetcar abandoned in waist-high flood water to make you appreciate your insurance policy.
However, it might be a little premature for homeowners with water damage coverage to start patting themselves on the back. Unfortunately, many Canadians fail to fully understand the difference between flood and sewer backup insurance, a distinction that might leave you stuck holding a hefty water damage bill in a worst case scenario.
It’s not enough to just have some kind of water damage coverage on your insurance policy – you need to know exactly what you’re covered for.

The difference between floods and backups 

Floods, by definition, are a naturally occurring phenomenon. They are caused by a body of water overflowing its usual boundaries and seeping into other areas. Floods can be the result of melting snow (always a concern during snap thaws), accidents that block or divert a waterway, and of course, as a consequence of unusually high volumes of rain. The common point to notice here is these are all natural sources of water and they’re all sudden and accidental. It’s also worth pointing out that long-term potential sources of water damage like a leaky roof or cracked foundation are not covered. That kind of upkeep is considered the homeowners responsibility.
Sewer backups on the other hand are considered the result of a water backup from a drain or sewer. We’re talking pipes, bathtubs, and other property related sources of water.
So, what does this mean? Well, from an insurance perspective, it might mean that a flooded basement is not technically flooded. If the water is the result of a sewer backup, a broken pipe, or busted water main, your flood insurance won’t cover it – even if you’re up to your knees in murky water.

Do you know what you’re covered for?

This is why it is so important to fully understand your insurance coverage. Dealing with a flood or sewer backup issue is hard enough as it is, finding out your particular policy might not cover the damage after the fact is a hardship nobody should have to deal with.
Make sure you know your coverage and have the protection that makes sense for your home. If you’re not sure what coverage you do have, or if you want advice on what coverage you should have, speak with one of our expert brokers. They’ll be able to help you sort through the jargon of your policy, assess the likelihood of flooding on your property, and offer helpful advice to make sure you won’t have to be hung out to dry.


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