Flooding is the most common natural disaster in Canada, so you aren’t alone in facing this challenge. Many homeowners live in flood-prone areas.
Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance typically doesn’t cover flood damage. You’ll need to purchase a separate flood policy. Flood victims sometimes qualify for emergency relief, but insurance provides the best protection.
Your mortgage lender also may require you to obtain flood insurance if you live in a flood zone. Typically, that coverage must equal at least what you owe on your mortgage and meet certain legal requirements.
Assessing your risk
Flood Smart Canada’s website provides a list of flood maps by province and territory. A flood map can help assess your flood risk. Even if you live in a zone with moderate or low risk of flooding, you may still be at risk of flooding.
You will need to determine how much damage a flood would cause, based on the size of your home and the depth of the water. You may be surprised at the results. FEMA, a U.S. agency, estimates that just four inches of water in a 2,500-square-foot home would likely result in $48,000 in damages!
A handful of insurers provide flood coverage in Canada. Your insurance broker can show you the types of coverage available for your property.
Bear in mind that excess flood insurance can be expensive. Prices vary depending on your home’s age, where it is located, whether it is elevated, its distance to the water, which way your building faces, and how high a deductible you are willing to pay.
Keeping your costs down
Be sure to consider these factors when discussing rates:
- Have you elevated your home? Owners who elevate their homes three feet above the base flood elevation can expect to save 60% or more on premiums, according to FEMA.
- Have you retrofitted your home by floodproofing? Even if it’s not possible to elevate your home, there are still measures you can take to make your dwelling more flood resistant. Consider raising the utilities, installing basement infill and flood openings, and placing valuable contents above flood level. These can reduce your premiums.
Speak to your insurance broker about flood insurance; they can help you better understand your risk and how to protect against flooding. With severe weather and natural disaster threats on the rise, you owe it to yourself and your family to be prepared. Having adequate flood coverage is a smart first step.