Homeowners could be on hook for flood costs

Root River flooded its banks File photo September 2014

TORONTO – Insurance industry experts say many Canadian homeowners aren’t insured for flooding and could be left footing at least part of the bill after heavy rains hit parts of Quebec and Ontario.

Craig Stewart, vice-president of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, estimates that only 10 to 15 per cent of Canadians have so-called “overland flood insurance.”

Stewart says that’s because the product, which is offered as an add-on to insurance policies, has only been available since late 2015.

Insurers started to offer the product after both Toronto and Alberta were hit with severe flooding in 2013, although it took some time to roll out.

Stewart says most homeowners grappling with flood damage will be left relying on government assistance, which typically covers less than insurance would.

Jason Thistlethwaite, an assistant professor in the faculty of environment at the University of Waterloo, says many Canadians simply aren’t aware that they need to purchase an add-on to cover flooding.

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