Do you remember the damage caused by summer storms across Canada in the past few years? If you have friends or family in Alberta, you may recall the 2013 summer floods which led to the worst natural disaster in Alberta’s history. These floods caused an estimated $5 billion in total damages. Ontarians will remember that floods in the same year brought the city of Toronto to nearly a standstill after heavy rainfall.
Whatever the reasons for recent increases in flooding across Canada, there is no question that homeowners and business owners in Ontario need to consider ways to protect their property from water damage.
When you are purchasing a new home or business, you should think carefully about your location — have you considered the full risk profile of your property? Below are 5 reasons to consult with an insurance broker before making a final decision. Keep reading to learn more!
1. Avoid Properties Built at Low Elevation
Rainwater will naturally collect in areas of low elevation, causing high risks of flooding for these locations. It can be difficult for large volumes of rainwater to drain when it falls in a short period of time. The water will look for the easiest place to escape — which could be into your basement! As a result, properties built at low elevation may not even be eligible for flood insurance.
Do some research beforehand! If your future home is built at low elevation, consult with your broker to ensure that you can get flood insurance for it. If you are ineligible, that may be a sign to keep looking for a better property.
2. Avoid Properties Near Rivers or Other Bodies of Water
Living near a river, a lake or a reservoir is another factor that can put you at significant risk from flooding. Increased rainfall will cause water levels in a river or lake to rise and spill into nearby properties. Even a swamp or marsh can be a candidate for flooding. Consider whether this is a risk factor for you!
Just like low elevation, properties built near bodies of water may be ineligible for flood insurance. Make sure you consult with your insurance broker about this before purchasing a new home or business. If you are ineligible for flood insurance, then you may want to consider other options!
3. Avoid Areas with Lots of Concrete or Older Infrastructure
Urban areas with lots of concrete do not provide good drainage during storms, as the concrete tends to contain the rainwater. Older infrastructure may mean there are no good drainage options available in the first place, due to poor urban planning.
Water will collect in gutters, streets and parking lots, flowing downhill until it finds somewhere to escape. If sewers are already overflowing, it becomes more likely that the water will seep into nearby homes or business properties. Don’t let this affect you — consider the area before purchasing a new property.
4. Be Careful Storing Valuable Items in Your Basement
Do you have a home theatre in your basement? Expensive electronics like entertainment systems, stereos or computers can be easily ruined by water. The same is true for antique furniture, like that old cabinet you inherited from your grandparents. Be careful about what you store in your basement — flooding could mean the loss of many valuable items.
What are you currently storing in your basement. Could anything be destroyed by a flood? Would it be expensive to replace? Maybe it’s time to find a better way to store it!
5. Make Sure You Have a Working Sump Pump
Installing a sump pump in the basement of your home can greatly reduce the impact of flooding. Even a small flood can cause significant water damage if the water is left sitting over a long period of time. A sump pump can reduce the harm done to your property in these situations and bring you peace of mind when you’re not at home.
A sump pump is designed to sit below the basement floor and remove any water that collects there. When you move into a new home, make sure you understand how your sump pump works. Have you tested it recently? Will it keep working if the power goes out? These precautions can help you mitigate the effects of flooding.
6. Add Flood Insurance to Your Policy
Standard insurance policies will not include flood insurance, as a general rule. In the insurance world, we refer to this coverage as “Water Protection Endorsement.” You can check out our resource on this new offering to learn more about what it includes!
If you are concerned about flooding on your new property, then you should talk to your broker about Water Protection Endorsement. This additional coverage may be advisable, depending on your situation.
When it comes to flood protection for a new property, the best course of action is find a broker near you and book a time to speak them as soon as possible. Don’t let summer storms put your home or business at risk!