How to protect against storm surge risk | Canadian Insurance

How to protect against storm surge risk

Floods have surpassed home fires as the costliest cause of damage to homes

Comprehensive water, which includes overland flood damage coverage, is available to homeowners in Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.

The Cooperators comprehensive water insurance is the only product of its kind in Canada, notes a media release, that provides protection from storm surge, overflowing lakes, rivers and creeks, and sewer or septic backup.

Storm surge, which includes rising water levels and waves caused by storms, presents a significant flood risk in coastal regions. However, with the increase of extreme weather, the risk of storm surge has grown across Canada near lakes and rivers.

“Overland flooding has been identified as the most pervasive and costliest cause of damage to Canadian homes, yet most are inadequately protected against this growing risk,” says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “With today’s launch, we’re continuing to build on our commitment to make this product available to all Canadians.”

Flood facts

  • In Canada, floods have surpassed home fires as the costliest cause of damage to homes.
  • 94% of Canadians living in high-risk flood zones are unaware of their risk and less than 30% of Canadians are taking action to protect their property from flood risk, according to a study by Partners for Action.

The impact

  • $79,000: The average cost to homeowners that suffered losses during the 2013 Calgary flood, finds Mount Royal’s Centre for Community Disaster Research.
  • $40,000: The average cost to homeowners that suffered losses during flooding during the 2013 GTA flood, finds a 2014 IBC study.

The Co-operators flood model

What factors go into assessing water risk?
The risk model enables the insurer to offer water damage insurance that includes overland flooding and risks associated with water, septic and sewer backup, accumulation of water from extreme rain, overflow from lakes, rivers and other nearby bodies of water, and storm surge or waves from a storm or hurricane.

This flood model incorporates data on elevation, soil, rainfall, river flow, government-controlled defences like dams and channels, and other factors that help predict areas at risk of flooding.

How is storm surge risk determined?
The risk of storm surge is assessed in many ways, including historical water and sea-level rise in coastal regions, digital elevation models and loss mitigation efforts.

Take action to protect yourself

  1. Inspect plumbing pipes for corrosion or leaks and make any necessary repairs. Avoid discarding fats, oils and grease down drains; they can cause clogs when they solidify.
  2. Install a water damage alarm to serve as an early warning. This will give you a chance to turn off the water to your home and minimize damage.
  3. Install an automatic back-up pump to your existing sump pump if you have one. Batteries or a generator can be used to power the back-up pump.
  4. Install a backwater valve.
  5. Install downspouts to direct water away from your home.
  6. Keep foundation and window wells clear of snow so melt water doesn’t accumulate.
  7. Seal any cracks in your foundation walls and basement floors where accumulated water might get in.
  8. Install window wells around your basement windows to keep water out of your basement. Check them each spring to make sure drains aren’t clogged with debris.
  9. Maintain your eaves troughs regularly to keep them clear of leaves, twigs and other debris so they can steer water away from your home.
  10. Consider using a rain barrel to collect overflow water to prevent accumulation around your home.
  11. Keep storm drains clear of leaves and other debris to keep water from accumulating outside your home.
  12. Review rain checklist for simple steps you can follow to adapt to risks during periods of heavy rainfall.

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