If your property insurance policy contains water damage coverage, I’m glad to hear it. Water can be a devastating cause of loss and damage to your property, and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to submit a water claim and are not properly insured, you could be out thousands of dollars (sometimes much more). Luckily, there is a coverage for most scenarios that may cause water damage to your home, whether you own a detached property or condo, or are renting an apartment. Keep reading to learn more!
Basic water coverage
This is included in most property insurance packages (whether you rent or own), and covers more common issues that you may face regarding water in your home: burst pipes, overflow from receptacles like a tub, sink, water tank, fish tank, as well as ice damming on your roof (however coverage for ice damming sometimes requires an additional purchase/extra premium), or damage caused by another insured hazard (such as if a tree breaks your window and rain pours into your home).
Sewer backup is an optional coverage, and the most common that homeowners will purchase. This covers you for wastewater that comes into your home (typically your basement) through the drains in your floor, or if there’s a backup or blockage in your plumbing. Some things that can cause a sewer backup are a failed sump pump, old pipes (usually made of clay) that are broken or cracked, or an excess of water in the city’s drains due to a heavy rainfall. Keep an eye on things such as sinks or toilets in your basement backing up, your washing machine not draining properly and foul smells: these might be signs that you might soon experience a sewer backup in your home.
This occurs when underground water seeps into your home through a crack in the foundation in your home, as well as through walls and floors (as long as the original source is underground). Ground water is an optional coverage that can be purchased for an additional premium, and will cover you if the damage was caused suddenly or accidentally. Your insurance company, however, may deny a claim if the water damage occurred due to general wear and tear or lack of maintenance to your home. Also keep in mind that not all companies offer ground water coverage, therefore it’s best to review your policy with your broker to determine if it’s available to you.
Also an optional coverage, overland flooding happens when a body of water overflows and comes into your home through doors and windows; any opening that is above ground. This can be a result of a heavy rainfall or even a substantial amount of melted snow. Some insurance companies will also cover you if your home is damaged by an underground water source, such as sewer pipes, if these pipes are flooded and burst due to rainfall and snowmelt. While this sounds like a great addition to your insurance policy, there are some situations where overland protection is not offered. For example, if you live in an area that is high-risk for flooding or have had previous overland claims, you might not be eligible for this coverage.
It is highly recommended that you follow the appropriate steps to prevent water damage from happening in your home. Your property insurance policy documents will outline exactly what you’re covered for (or what is excluded), and can serve as a good guide for protecting your home. That being said, insurance terms can be hard to understand and different carriers have different options, so please speak to your broker for your options. We’re always around to help you and answer your questions!