Spring melt, a broken water heater, rainwater seepage, and sewer backups are all unpleasant realities that you may have to deal with someday. But are all these risks covered by insurance? Here are some basic rules to help you make sense of things.
Do you need to add an endorsement to your home insurance contract?
Let’s say you leave the bathroom to answer a phone call from a friend, and forget to shut off the bathtub faucet. No worries: most home insurance contracts protect against water damage caused by a moment of distraction or a malfunctioning appliance. If the source of the water is inside the house, any resulting damage is probably covered.
If the damage results from an external source, however, such as a sewer backup or rainwater seeping in, you will need an extra coverage clause (called an endorsement or rider) in your contract to be sure you are insured for damage. Doing a “house health check-up” every spring can help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
If you think your home is at risk, you should think about adding an endorsement to your home insurance contract.
The exception to the general rule: bodies of water
Contrary to what you might think, most home insurance policies cover damage caused by the vagaries of the weather and our climate (e.g., tornado, hailstorm, lightning), with one notable exception: damage from flooding caused by an overflowing body of water.
A recent survey by Square One Insurance found that 69% of Quebecers believe their home insurance policy automatically covers them against such flood damage.
The reason for the confusion is simple: the various levels of government survey and identify flood-prone areas, so rising water levels in spring are considered a foreseeable phenomenon. In the event of a problem, homeowners can rely on emergency financial aid provided by the provincial and federal governments, which often come to the rescue of residents whose homes are damaged by floodwaters.
If you are thinking of buying a property located near a body of water, take a few minutes to consult the Government of Quebec registry of flood-prone areas. After all, you don’t want to get into deep water, either figuratively or literally!