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June 8, 2020

Five Ways to Protect Your Home Against Flooding

Every year, thousands of homes in Canada experience flooding. With extreme weather conditions on the rise, the risk of damage from flooding is increasing as well.

Just last year, a total of 17,494 dwellings in Canada were flooded or were at risk of flooding1 and the spring flooding in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick caused $160 million worth of insured damage.2 In 2013, the Calgary flood contributed to one of the costliest years for flood damage, causing insurance companies to create and start offering overland flood insurance to protect homeowners. If your home floods, water damage is not a cheap fix: you could be facing an average cost of $43,000 to repair a flooded basement.3

The best way to protect yourself and your home from flooding is to be proactive. Follow these five tips to protect your home from water damage.

1. Learn from the past

If your house has leaked before, it will likely leak again. Before the heavy rains find their way into your home, make sure you repair any cracks in your walls or foundation that have previously caused flooding.

2. Clear out debris

Built-up debris in your gutters, eavestroughs, and window wells can keep water from draining away from your home properly. Keep these areas free from debris and build-up before heavy rain comes.

3. Get your pump ready

Make sure your sump pump is ready to go before the storm hits. Test your sump pump regularly and make sure you have a battery or back-up power source in case your power goes out in a storm. In addition to having a sump pump, installing a back-water valve will prevent flooding from sewer backup.

4. Check for leaks from above

Damaged shingles or worn out skylights can be an easy entry point for water during a storm. Have a professional inspect your roof to make sure you don’t get water damage from a leak.

5. Give the water somewhere to go

Make sure that you have methods in place to direct water away from your home. If you notice water pooling around your home, try getting your yard regraded, using downspout extensions, installing a foundation drain tile, or removing plant debris that can prevent soil from draining properly. It’s also very important to check that your roof drainage directs away from your house and does not enter the sanitary sewer through the weeping tile adjacent to your house foundation; it should only enter the storm sewer.4

Get the right insurance coverage

If your home floods despite your best prevention efforts, it can be expensive to repair water damage without insurance coverage. Most home insurance policies cover water damage if a pipe bursts but do not protect your home from flooding from external sources, such as rain or sewer backup. Save yourself the trouble of spending $43,0003 to repair your flooded basement by getting overland flood insurance and sewer backup coverage.

Overland flood insurance will protect from loss or damage due to flooding caused by sudden accumulation of rain, run-off of surface water, and overflows from any body of fresh water. Sewer backup coverage will help if your home floods due to rupture or escape from the sewer, a drain, a sump pump, or a septic system.

The availability of these coverages is dependent on your location and on your insurance carrier; call your broker today to discuss adding these coverages to your home insurance policy.

Facts for this article have been gleaned from several reliable websites, including:

  1. Statistics Canada
  3. Insurance Business Magazine
  4. Alberta Flood Preparedness Guide