Toronto Flood and Sewer Back Up Insurance – What’s Covered?

flooded basement 2

By now most Toronto residents have seen the flood waters in their basements recede and the remediation crews are busy getting the space dried out.  Now it’s time to add up the losses regarding personal property.

Photographs and family mementos destroyed can never be replaced and you can’t ever place a monetary value on them.   But what you can replace are the physical and personal assets which made up the room.

Over the first couple of days make sure that you document any personal belongings which have been damaged.  Take lots of pictures, however before you take anything to the curb for disposal make sure you check with your insurance adjuster.    Over the first couple of days you will have a number of trades people check appliances, heating systems and any other mechanical devices which might be damaged.    Don’t be surprised that if they are written off even if you had only a couple of inches of water.

 Not All Insurers Are The Same

At this time most neighbours have shared their personal flood experiences and one additional topic of discussion will be what kind of coverage is your insurer providing? In comparing policies you will discover that some have no coverage for sewer back-up while others have $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000.   From my experience you should have a minimum of $25,000 in sewer back-up coverage.

Let me break down how you can expect the damage claims to add up:

  • $5,000 Remediation in removing damaged flooring, drywall, disinfecting and drying out basement
  • $10,000   Rebuilding costs for basement
  • $10,000 Replacing personal possession
  • Total $25,000

So you can see damage expenses can add up damn quick.  If you are replacing washer, dryer, furniture, electronics and other items the replacement costs can easily eat up $10,000 to $15,000.  Once you and your insurer have agreed to the inventory of damage personal items a replacement value will be determined.  Now, your 15-year-old top loading washer and dryer will have a depreciated value, so don’t think that you can go out and buy stainless steel, front loading Samsung appliances as their replacement.

You have two options:

  1. You can go out and purchase the corresponding damaged items and send the receipts for reimbursement by your insurer
  2. Have your insurer provide you with a cheque for the damages and you get to decide what and how you want to spend for replacing personal belongings

At the end of the day what you want is to have your basement and personal belongings back to what it was prior to the flood.   The idea that you will make money from your insurance claim well get that out of your head now.  Be honest, as the last thing you want is to get flagged by your insurer.

My basement is back to what it was, however  it did take about 6 months to get back on our feet.  One thing which I was very pleased with was my insurer did not raise my premium upon renewal and as well continued to offer me $25,000 in sewer back-up coverage.  Many of my neighbours who were flooded last summer can not say the same thing.

Here is a link to the article I wrote on this subject for Zoomer magazine last fall.

Here is the blog I wrote on rebuilding your basement following a flood.