Flood damage not covered, warns Insurance Bureau of Canada
Flood victims are out of luck if they are looking to their insurance companies for compensation, because home flood insurance doesn't exist in this country, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The warning to B.C. property owners comes as dozens of Fraser Valley residents begin to assess the damage done by two days of heavy rain falling on top of melting snow, leaving many homes and properties flooded.
The insurance bureau defines a flood as water flowing overland and seeping in through windows, doors and cracks.
Bureau spokesperson Lindsay Olson said companies don't offer a flood insurance product because it's not that affordable. That's because not enough of the general public wants to buy it.
"Flood coverage is one of those very difficult products because the only people who are likely to want to pay for it are people who are in a flood zone," said Olson.
"People at the top of the hill are likely to say, 'Why should I buy it?' So what happens is, the product is very, very expensive, because you can't get any spread of risk between high-risk people and low-risk people," said Olson.
"A few years ago after flooding in Winnipeg, there was an experiment where people did try to get a flood product off the ground and after two years they stopped trying to sell it because they had only 30 people signed up to buy it," said Olson.
Most policies will cover water damage from a broken pipe or a hole in the roof, and some sewage back-ups, but Olson urges people to read over their policies to see what's covered.
The approach taken by insurance companies may explain why the bureau puts out regular bulletins reminding the public to take precautions and move valuables to higher ground and do everything possible to drain water away from homes.
Residents affected by floods may have some hope. In previous floods in B.C. the provincial government has provided funding to help residents repair damage to their homes.