JULY 9, 2013 (TORONTO) – Heavy rains across the Greater Toronto Area in the last 24 hours have resulted in localized flooding, many flooded basements and road closures. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds people that in the event of a flood, safety must be your main concern.
Ralph Palumbo, IBC's vice president, Ontario region, adds, "If your home was flooded, turn off electrical breakers for areas that have suffered water damage, but only if it is safe to do so." He went on to say, "Sewer backup coverage is usually available and can be purchased as an add-on to policies. Consumers should be calling their insurance representative to report their claims and start the clean-up process. Reach out to neighbours, particularly elderly and those needing assistance. Insurers are actively responding to customers to try to get life back to normal as soon as possible."
Some general tips if you have experienced flooding:
Do not stack wet items on dry items just to get them off the floor. Move valuable items to higher ground and out of your basement if safe to do so.
Dry the flooded area as soon as possible to prevent mould growth. Industrial-sized air dryers are often used in these instances and are typically available for purchase or rent at one of the major hardware stores.
A primer on different types of water damage and coverage:
Sewer backup normally occurs when drains become blocked (e.g. by debris or overflow after heavy rain) and the water enters your home. Sewer backup coverage is normally available for residential policies.
Sewer backup coverage is not automatically included in all home insurance policies. It is, however, offered as optional coverage that you can purchase. This type of coverage is useful if your area has combined storm and sanitary sewers. Check your policy and talk to your insurance representative to find out if you're covered.
Overland flood damage usually occurs when water enters your home because bodies of water such as rivers, streams, and lakes overflow and cover normally dry land. Generally, a residential insurance policy does not cover overland flooding.
Storm damage normally occurs when rainwater enters your home through an opening created by a storm (e.g. after the roof or a window is damaged). Storm damage is covered by residential insurance policies, but it is important to note that most policies exclude damage caused if either a window or door is left open, or the building is in poor repair.
Residential insurance is an extremely competitive industry. The types of coverage offered and the specific wordings used in policies vary from company to company, as policies are tailored to best suit the needs of individual customers. It is important to carefully read the "terms and conditions" of an insurance policy. If you have questions, you are advised to contact your insurance representative as soon as possible.
In an average year the Canadian insurance industry pays approximately $1.7 billion in claims due to water damage. For more information, homeowners can also call the Insurance Bureau of Canada Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-387-2880.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent approximately 90% of the private property and casualty insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.
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If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.
To schedule an interview, please contact:
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 x 4312