Does My Home Insurance Policy Cover Water Claims?
Water, and the damage it causes, is one of the leading causes of insurance claims in Canada. Water has the tendency to find its way through the smallest of cracks and travel a distance through your home, appearing when and where you least expect it! Within the insurance industry, water damage has 4 typical categories:
- Overland Flooding
- Sewer Backup
- Plumbing Issues
- Roof Leak
The typical definition of water damage has been the sudden escape or rupture of water (such as a broken pipe in your home) or a back up (sewage entering through a drain) with resulting damage covered. Water Coverage is more in-depth and includes events such as surface water seeping into a home, flooding from rivers or lakes, and mass evacuation from a flood.
In these cases, the water in question:
- originates outside of your home
- often has natural causes such as heavy rains or rising water in a nearby river or lake
- usually enters your home through the foundation, basement, or windows/doors/walls
Over the past few years, Insurers have broken out the premium for Water Coverage from a standard home policy and developed Enhanced Water Damage Packages tailored to the regional market. No different than Earthquake Zones where premiums vary based on postal code and age of home, there are now Overland Water Zones based on similar criteria.
Sewer backup is treated as a separate risk and often covered through a separate endorsement on your home insurance policy.
For these claims, the water damaging your property:
- originates inside your home
- is usually caused by an overflow in municipal water storage that pushes sewer water back into your house
- often enters your home through a toilet, drain or sewage system
The damage from this kind of intrusion can be severe, and the cost of repairs can be higher than other types of water damage due to the additional cleaning and restoration required. The good news is that coverage is typically not that expensive to add to your policy.
This is the situation that most people think of when they consider possible flooding damage to their home. In most cases, water damage due to plumbing issues is covered by your standard home insurance policy.
When dealing with these situations, the water damage:
- originates inside your home
- can be caused by burst pipes, broken faucets, malfunctioning taps, or incorrectly sealed pipes
Condo owners need to take special note to ensure that they have adequate coverage in place for water damage due to plumbing issues. Not only would their insurance come into play for damages within their own unit, but depending on whether other units or common areas in the building were affected, their insurance may need to cover the strata deductible or repairs to their neighbours' property as well.
A leaking roof is often a problem that will only show itself over time as the water starts to penetrate your home from the top of the structure and can appear as damage in unexpected places depending on how the leak progresses.
In these cases, the water:
- originates on your roof, starting from the top floor or attic
- can enter due to natural wear-and-tear on your roof, a lack of roof maintenance, or damage due to falling trees or ice
It's important to make sure that your roof maintenance is up-to-date in order for an insurance claim of this type to be successful.
Home insurance is a key requirement for your mortgage. The Auxilium Team is happy to provide you with a referral to our trusted partners for a consultation and quote.
Auxilium Mortgage Corporation is based in Victoria, BC and works with clients locally and across Canada. The Auxilium team has over 100 years of combined financial experience and access to dozens of lenders to help you meet your goals.