What is Overland Flooding
Overland flooding (or sometimes referred to as inland flooding) occurs when water flows above ground. This type of flooding is quite common in Canada and has been a particular problem in cities that surround bodies of water such as Toronto. To tackle this problem, Canadian insurance companies have introduced an update to the insurance offerings to homeowners. Now you can purchase overland flood insurance as an upgrade to your existing policy.
Overland flooding is caused by excessive rainfall and large amounts of snowmelt. It is the most frequently occurring natural disaster for water that seeps into homes and businesses through doors, windows, vents, and other openings. It is the most costly type of damage as it is nearly impossible to take preventative measures against. Despite the fact that overland flooding primarily consists of clean rainwater, it is still dangerous in that it carries with it mud, soil, debris and other contaminants that are harmful to your health.
Communities are built to be able to handle overland water, but with the changing global climate, many communities that never had problems with overland flooding are finding themselves struggling with chronic issues. Until the infrastructure in the community is addressed, these communities remain plagued by these types of issues and often leave people without shelter, many times being in dangerously cold weather conditions.
Why Overland Flood Insurance was Added to Canadian Home Policies
After a devastating record-breaking flood swept across Calgary in June 2013, the city was left with a $5 billion dollars property damage problem that was unprecedented and nearly impossible to recover from. This caused a reform in how insurance companies operate in Canada – ultimately leading to new measures on government flood protection, including reform in coverage offerings from Canadian insurance providers.
Despite the astronomical average repair cost of $42,000 for a flooded basement (in major metropolitan areas), overland flood coverage insurance is not offered under basic home coverage. It is still considered an additional premium and must be purchased at an additional cost.
Unfortunately, it is quite common for homeowners who experience overland flooding to discover their premiums do not cover this type of flooding. This leaves them with enormous cleanup and recovery costs that most can not afford.
What You Need To Know About Canadian Home Overland Flood Insurance Coverage
There are 2 distinct types of overland flood insurance coverage in most Canadian Home policies. Flood Damage and Overland Flood Coverage. Flood Damage is when the water source comes from underground or from internal piping/plumbing/sanitary lines. This type of coverage is what you would get with your basic home coverage. Overland Flood insurance is not part of your basic home policy and it covers water entering the house from an external source that is not underground (windows, doors, vents). It is important that you review your policy and determine two things before deciding if Overland Coverage is for you.
#1 - Is your neighbourhood prone to overland flooding?
Does your area have sufficient capacity to handle large volumes of water (are there viaducts and other sewer infrastructures in place to divert large volumes of water)?
#2 - Is your home below a sustainable water table level?
Water Table is the natural level for water in the ground (more typically known as sea level) to exist. Structures that are below the Water Table naturally sit in water-rich soil and are prone to flooding if proper measures aren’t taken. With the climate changes of late, it is often possible for the water table level to rise overnight by as much as 40-50 cm. Window wells, doors and other potential areas of water penetration can easily be susceptible to overland flooding in homes that are at or below the water table level.
If you answered yes to either one of the above questions then you should immediately consider adding overland flood insurance to your policy if you haven’t done so as of yet.
Preventative Measures and How to Protect Your Home from Overland Flooding
Thankfully you are not left hopeless when it comes to Overland Flooding. There are a few preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the damage caused by overland flooding. Installing Sump Pumps may not fully prevent overland flooding, but they often help alleviate the damage caused by overland flooding. The primary purpose of a sump pump is to take unwanted water that enters the lowest point of your house and pump it back out before it can cause any major damage. They are usually installed in basements at the lower possible place in the house (the location where gravity diverts the flooding water to). Although this is more critical for homes that sit below the Water Table, it is also a great preventative tool to have for homes that are situated in communities where flooding is common due to inadequate infrastructure for rising water levels.
Waterproofing your basement is also a great way to help protect your home. This is the process where the outside of your home that resides below the ground is treated and prepared to help divert water from sitting and building up against the foundation. Waterproofing helps by keeping water from pushing up against the sides of your basement walls which will eventually cause overwhelming hydrostatic pressure which can lead to foundation cracks. This ultimately leads to water entering your home and flooding it. Proper waterproofing membranes and drainage systems surround your home and act as 3 additional layers of protection against water entering your home.
Is my Home Ready for Overland Flooding?
It may seem scary to think that overland flooding can wipe out your home and the contents inside, but through taking proper preventative measures, and by being well informed, you can protect your home from experiencing overland flooding should it ever become a real threat to your home. But, if this is not enough to let you sleep comfortably at night, be sure to review your insurance policy and get adequate protection against flooding and other natural disasters.
What to do if you are experiencing a Flood now?
If you experienced a flood and find yourself in need of emergency services, Flood Tech is available 24 hours a day to come help evaluate and alleviate any emergencies you may face with unwanted water in your home. Before calling an insurance company, be sure to contact one of our licensed technicians and get the proper professional help. Not only can we solve the problem for you, but we can help you understand what coverage you have and what is the best course of action to take to help you get through the emergency. Our staff are compassionate, transparent and have been awarded great praise for the quality of service we provide. Don’t get stuck with an unexpected repair bill. Visit our site in the link below to find out more about how we can give you a free evaluation and guide you through recovery from a flood disaster. If you want to know what the best preventative measures you can take, contact us and we will provide you with all the options available to help keep your home or business protected.
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