Flood insurance has become a topic of major concern over the past few years. More recently, winter flood waters of our local Grand River has forced those living along the water to question their insurance protection. Rightfully so, most of these homeowners do not have flood insurance coverage.
Rising and rushing water levels tend to occur along this river before it opens into Lake Erie, and is due mostly in part to blocked passages from ice jams when the winter weather turns mild for a period of time. The water quickly becomes unsafe for those living in high-risk areas of the 280 km long river. Unfortunately, this past winter was the worse seen in years for damage in some nearby locations, especially Brantford, Ontario. It left many residents wondering if there was protection under their home insurance policy, and if not, is there help available elsewhere?
Did you know that even the most comprehensive homeowner insurance policy may specifically exclude flood coverage? Most are not aware of this bad news, but take a look at Perils Excluded from your residential policy wordings. Like most policyholders, you probably believe your insurance policy is intended to protect against all damage, but there is often a general misconception that everything is covered.
There is good news for some, but only those who are eligible. As many insurance companies look for ways to reduce or eliminate the ever-increasing threat of water damage, the mutual industry has offered a relatively new solution that is intended for overland water and sewer backup. Effective August 1, 2016, Erie Mutual Insurance began to offer Comprehensive Water Protection. We provided an article about the new coverage on our website just prior to the release of coverage, but an update or reminder is probably due as we enter an early spring thaw.
Who is Eligible
Only those Erie Mutual policyholders who already have qualified and purchased sewer backup coverage under their homeowner insurance or tenants package may be eligible. However, the coverage is only provided to those who live in low-risk areas identified by analytic results. Simply meaning, if the geographic location of your residence is considered to be too high of a risk for flooding, it will not qualify with Erie Mutual or probably any other insurance company.
What Is Included
Those risks which do qualify can expect to see the wording on their insurance policy amended to reflect the coverage of Comprehensive Water Protection. This combined policy endorsement includes flood, sewer backup, groundwater, surface water as well as sewer and water line failure. We recommend that you speak with your insurance agent to discuss coverage, limits, and deductibles which are all important aspects in the event of a claim.
Flood Information & Safety Tips to Keep In Mind
Avoid walking or driving through flood waters
Just 6 inches of moving water can know you down, 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away
If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground
If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. BUT do not leave the car to enter moving water.
Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly without warning or time to react.
It is important to remember that flooding can occur anywhere, with little or no warning! If your home becomes flooded, contact your insurer as soon as possible.
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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