Overland water does not come standard, and it could be the most valuable add-on to your home insurance policy. Floods have surpassed fire in Canada and now rank #1 in terms of property damage. Floods are also the most expensive natural disaster – having cost more than $20 billion in damage between 2003 and 2012, according to the Government of Canada. The most common cause of all this flooding, due to its fast and sudden nature, is the accumulation of winter precipitation and its thaw.
An overland water endorsement on your home insurance policy protects you and your home from particular water damage risks – here is an overview of how it works and whether it’s right for you.
What is overland water house insurance coverage?
An overland water endorsement on your home insurance policy gives you protection from rising rivers, streams, or other bodies of water that may overflow onto dry land causing damage to your home. It can also protect against heavy rain precipitation, or snow accumulation, and its eventual thaw, around your property. All these water sources find windows, doors, and cracks in your foundation to enter your home. If water enters your basement, you’ll want overland water coverage.
Why you need overland water protection
If your basement is unfinished – concrete floors and a cinder block foundation, you may not have much to worry about aside from the contents you store down there. Ensuring your valuables are up, off the floor, and on shelves could be the only steps you need to take.
However, if you have a finished basement – drywall, laminate flooring, and furnishings – overland water insurance is a smart thing. Without it, you may be left footing the bill on your own. According to Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, the average flooded basement in an urban centre will cost $43,000 in damages to repair.
If water is seeping into any basement, finished or not, it may be worth the cost to waterproof your basement. Water in the walls can freeze, thaw, and damage your foundation which can lead to even more significant issues. The best way to waterproof your basement is to have a trench dug around your home and a waterproof membrane installed against the foundation (See picture below).
Will overland water affect you?
Severe weather damage claims are on the rise with major floods representing almost 40% of all natural disasters in Canada, according to Aviva Canada. If your basement isn’t waterproofed, your eavestroughs and downspouts are in need of repair, or you have cracks in your foundation, it could be worth adding it to your current house insurance policy or when shopping around for new home insurance quotes.
How much does overland water home insurance cost?
I dig some digging around and, much like any insurance, the price can vary. For instance, if you’re in a low-risk area, away from water, you can sometimes add overland water protection at no cost, if you already have sewer back up protection. If you’re adding overland water coverage on its own, you’re looking at about $10-$30 roughly per month. If your basement is waterproofed, it can be even cheaper depending on your home insurance provider. Look at different products available from the different suppliers on our flood insurance page.
However, If you live in a slightly riskier area – at the bottom of a hill, near a body of water, and in an area prone to heavier rainfall and snow – you could pay significantly more.
What overland coverage is not
There are several types of water insurance coverage for your home, and it’s important to understand the differences when searching for a house insurance quote. For instance, sewer back up protects your home from main drains overflowing causing sewage to enter your house through the floor drains, not water coming in through your foundation.
Some base home insurance policies have coverage for burst pipes, whereas you may need to add it with other policies. Base water coverage is not overland water coverage.
In some cases, overland water coverage is called groundwater coverage. Seek clarity when speaking to your provider, understand what you’re paying for, how you are and aren’t protected, and at what cost.
The bottom line
No matter how you choose to protect your home, do it. It’s not worth risking the headaches and costs associated with water damage to your most valuable asset. Keep your home safe with proper care, preventative maintenance, and the right homeowner’s insurance policy.