Flood Insurance: Are You At Risk?
Just a few days ago in Southern Ontario, the community of Thamesville, ON had a voluntary evacuation due to flooding and a state-of-emergency was declared due to heavy rain and melting snowbanks.
Many Canadians live in high-risk flood zones but don’t know it. A report from last year estimated that the majority of Canadians are not aware their houses are at risk from being flooded, and therefore they are not prepared for the event of a flood-related disaster.
This is mainly because of lack of information, or knowing who to ask: Accurate and up-to-date flood maps can be hard to come by, and many homeowners simply don’t know where to find them. As a result, Canadians are left without flood insurance – oftentimes wrongly thinking they don’t need it.
But flooding is more common and more costly than you might think. The Parliamentary Budget Officer published a report in 2016 estimating floods result in over $2 billion in damages every year. Each year, the federal government pays out nearly $1 billion in disaster relief, with three-quarters of that money going towards flood damage. Many homeowners are left paying out of pocket for flood damage, and the government is turning the responsibility on homeowners to get flood-protection insurance. According to Canadian Underwriter, only 30% of global disaster costs are insured. This leaves the majority to be covered by governments, taxpayers and businesses.
So how can you, the homeowner, take preventative measures on this, so you’re not part of the $600-million that Canadians pay out of pocket every year for flood damage?
First, check your risk level for flooding. Just because you didn’t have a flood in recent years at your home doesn’t mean you won’t this year.
Every year, the risk of flooding is increasing as climate change takes its toll, and as infrastructure ages.
Ask your home insurer for flood maps and about your region’s flooding risks. Most Canadians can purchase affordable flood insurance – but of course this varies from location to location. No matter the expense, this will save you in the long run, however, as the government is becoming more reluctant to cover flood damage now that flood-specific insurance is available.
You can also call your elected representative – if you’re on the fence about flood insurance, ask that flood maps be made publicly available and easily accessible in your area. Many homeowners agree sellers should be required to disclose flood risks – talk to your officials about this, too.
Whatever you decide, the first step is knowledge and understanding your risks. With knowledge comes power. And if you are ever faced with flooding in your home or business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to DKI Canada – we are there to help in the event of any disaster. You can call us at any time at 1-855-DKI-2DAY.
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