Saturday November 22, 2014

Flood insurance advice for residents


Heavy rains and high winds across the prairies over the weekend resulted in localized flooding, flooded basements, sewer back-up issues, wind damages to trees and property and transportation problems due to road closures.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds residents and business owners that in the event of a flood, safety must be the prime concern. Bill Adams, IBC’s Vice-President, Western & Pacific, advises, “If your home or business was flooded, turn off electrical breakers for areas that have suffered water damage, but only if it is safe to do so.” He went on to say, “Listen to local emergency officials for information for your specific communities.”

If you have experienced damages, call your insurance representative as soon as possible so they can begin the claims adjusting process. Insurers are fanning out across the impacted areas and claims adjusters are accessing damaged properties where they can, subject to road closures.

Information on water damage coverage:

Sewer backup coverage is not automatically included in all home insurance policies. It is, however, offered as optional coverage that you can purchase. Check your policy and talk to your insurance representative to find out if you’re covered. Sewer backup coverage is normally available for residential policies.

Storm damage normally occurs when rainwater enters your home through an opening created by a storm (e.g. after the roof or a window is damaged). Storm damage is covered by home insurance policies, but it is important to note that most policies exclude damage resulting from either a window or door left open, or seepage if the building is in poor repair.

Damage caused by overland flooding and seepage is not generally covered by home insurance policies in Canada. Overland flooding usually occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, dams and other watercourses, overflow onto dry land and cause damage.

If you experienced flooding:

Do not stack wet items on dry items just to get them off the floor. Move valuable items to higher ground and out of your basement if safe to do so.

Dry the flooded area as soon as possible to prevent mould growth. Industrial-sized air dryers are often used in these instances and are typically available for purchase or rent at one of the major hardware stores.

Review your insurance policies – call your insurance professional if you have questions about your coverage.

If you experienced wind damages:

Damage to homes caused by wind or hail is usually covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or damage caused by water or rain entering through openings caused by wind or hail.

Commercial insurance can be hugely diverse in its coverage. Contact your insurance representative about your specific situation.

Residential insurance is an extremely competitive industry. The types of coverage offered and the specific wording used in policies vary from company to company, as policies are tailored to best suit the needs of individual customers. If you have been affected by recent weather events, you are advised to contact your insurance representative as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

Adams adds, “Make your first call to your insurance representative. If for some reason you can’t reach that person or company, and you have insurance related questions, call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre or visit We’re here to help.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada Consumer Information Centre can be reached at 1-877-772-3777.

For information on disaster financial assistance for Manitoba -

For information on disaster financial assistance for Saskatchewan -



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