Water Damage: Will Your Policy Leave You High and Dry?

When you think of a home insurance claim, you probably think of fire or theft.  While those are dramatic and vivid, its actually water damage that make up half of claims in Alberta.

This post talks about the 5 types of water coverage available:

  • Water Escape
  • Sewer Back Up
  • Overland (Flood)
  • Water & Service Lines
  • Ground Water

Water Escape

Water escape includes damage from a hot water tank, dishwasher, washing machine or burst pipe.  Frozen pipes are a big problem in the winter.  It could also include water that gets in from a hail or wind storm – if a tree lands on your house and makes hole, rain can get in.

This coverage is usually part of the main policy.

Sewer Back Up

If you live in the city or an area with sewer lines, these can get filled with water.  Too much water in the sewer system can back up into your basement.  It’s pretty gross and can be expensive to deal with!

This coverage is optional – make sure you have it!  Edmonton sees a lot of sewer back up claims.  Even if you don’t have a finished basement, the cost for cleanup and a new furnace can run into the tens of thousands.

We see policies with only $20,000 or $30,000 of coverage.  If you have a finished basement, that’s not nearly enough.  Ask for a quote on the maximum coverage available.

Overland Water (Flood)

Before the 2013 Calgary flood, no insurance company in Canada covered this damage.  Overland water provides coverage if water gets into your home through the front door or the basement window.

Some insurance companies include it with sewer back up and others offer it as an extra.  Premiums are about $75 a year.  even if you don’t live by a river or lake, we can get flash rainstorms that can cause flooding!

Water & Service Lines

You might see a flyer in your mailbox from the local utility company for this coverage.  The water and sewer lines that run between your home and the property line are your responsibility in case they fail, get crushed by a tree root or collapse.

Although not as serious as a sewer back up, it can be a costly hassle.  Our insurance companies offer this coverage for about $30 a year.  This is a good idea for older homes built in the 1970s or earlier – those lines are more likely to see damage.

Ground Water

Sometimes the soil around your home gets saturated enough for water to actually push through your basement walls.  This is considered ground water.  The water didn’t come up through the sewer or a window or door.

Some areas around Edmonton collect a lot of water during the Spring melt and that ground water can get into your basement.  You’ll notice that your carpet or walls are wet.

When it comes to water coverage, not all insurance policies are the same!  We can review your policy to make sure you’re covered.