Overland flood insurance now available in Manitoba

Brandon residents know all too well how each spring brings with it the uncertainly regarding the water levels in the Assiniboine River. Floods do happen from time-to-time, and there hasn’t always been an insurance option to help mitigate the costs floods can leave in their wake.

But a new product – Co-operators Comprehensive Water insurance – aims to remedy that concern.

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The Co-operators issue a release on June 7 detailing their new product, which will offer protection from the most common causes of residential flood and water damage - including storm surge, overflowing lakes, rivers and creeks, and sewer or septic backup.

“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. As a co-operative, it’s our priority to protect the financial security of Canadians. This is why we first introduced overland flood insurance in Canada,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in a press release. “Today, we are thrilled that this product is available to all Canadian homeowners, even those at the highest risk, adding another layer of protection and providing peace of mind for those who need it most.”

This product will offer coverage to people who live in high-risk flood zones for the first time ever. Flood coverage only came to Canada back in 2015, and to Manitoba in 2016. Canada was the final G7 country to offer this sort of product. There are already a quarter of a million Canadians who have purchased this protection in other jurisdictions such as Alberta and Ontario.

According to a study by Partners for Action Network, 94 per cent of Canadians living in high-risk flood zones are unaware of their risk.

To get a personalized flood assessment and find out about available coverage, Canadians can visit water.cooperators.ca.

How to protect yourself from water damage

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. Installing 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. Installing 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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