“It’ll never happen to me!” – A common expression by many; until it does. I’m pretty sure most residents in Calgary and High River would have said similar statements prior to the flood in 2013. That flood amounted to over $5 billion dollars in damages. There have been other major disasters in Fort McMurray ($10 billion), Slave Lake ($850 million), High River & Lloydminster.
As much as we like to think that we are out of harm’s way, anything can happen. It is important to be as prepared as possible. You won’t predict everything, but you can do your best to be prepared.
The Saskatchewan Government had a disaster relief program called PDAP, that steps up to help relieve people in times of disaster. However, this doesn’t mean you can cancel your insurance policy because the government will pay for everything. Quite the opposite. PDAP doesn’t respond to every type of disaster and there needs to be government funds available. Also, to be an eligible claimant under the PDAP program, the claimant needs to prove he took all measures possible to protect their property – this includes insuring the property. If you have coverage available and you decline it, the PDAP program may not respond as you had the option to purchase the coverage.
Why am I talking about this?
Well as of this year, Flood Coverage is now available with most insurance carriers. Some companies offer full coverage – policy limits. Other companies have a capped amounts varying from $10,000 to $100,000. Some carriers have tied the coverage directly to the sewer backup coverage and have named it “Water Protection Coverage.” If you had sewer backup coverage this coverage was automatically added into your policy. It is important to check with your broker and see if you have this coverage on your policy. We understand that due to geographic location that this coverage may not be needed by you or it may be unavailable to you. Whichever case, we strongly suggest you look into the flood plains in your area, either through the water security agency or through the flood map. Flood Smart Canada is also a good resource for flood prevention.
With this information you can make an educated decision, and not just a guess. We have seen many disasters happen overnight in areas that there “shouldn’t” have been a problem. Don’t be one of those headlines. If you opt out of the insurance coverage, and a disaster strikes, PDAP will ask for a copy of your insurance and if it shows you had the option to purchase Flood Coverage but you declined it, they have the ability to reject your claim for disaster relief. So again, it’s important to check with your broker.
There are different types of flood scenarios & coverages:
- Flood – the rising of, breaking out or overflow of a body of water or watercourse whether it is natural or man-made.
- Surface water – water that is above ground on the surface where it doesn’t usually accumulate under ordinary circumstances.
- Ground water – water that is in the soil beneath the surface of the ground. Coverage is provided only when it’s sudden and accidental, and related to a flood or surface water event.
- Sewer Backup – Water or sewage that backs up, escapes or overflows from the sewer, sump or septic tank.
Disaster can hit at any moment. Being located in the prairies has its advantages to avoiding earthquakes, tsunamis, avalanches and mudslides. However, this does expose us to high winds, hail, floods and forest or grassfires. Our job is not only to manage and insure those risks, but to make sure everyone is prepared and safe for when disaster strikes. If you have any questions about this coverage or any other concerns, please contact our offices and we can help you out.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and take care!