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Climate change calls for a new type of property insurance

The coverage can offer a big help for homeowners
Park Georgia Insurance advises homeowners to consider investing in overland water insurance to guard against expensive losses due to damage from heavy rainfall.

The impacts of climate change are very real and can be costly.

Just ask Audrey Hui at Park Georgia Insurance, one of many firms now advising homeowners they should consider adding a relatively new category of coverage to help guard against expensive losses due to damage from heavy rainfall like many experienced last fall.

It’s called overland water insurance.

And depending on the insurance provider, it typically covers loss or damage to your home and/or personal belongings caused by fresh water coming in through your windows and doors at ground level.

Fresh water comes from rivers or lakes, or it could be the result of spring run-off, rapidly melting snow and ice, or heavy rain such as the atmospheric river, that, according to Environment Canada, between Nov. 13 and 15 last year delivered record-breaking amounts of precipitation across the region, including the North Shore, Hope and Abbotsford, where many properties experienced damaging flood conditions.

Hui stresses that flood insurance is usually restricted to commercial properties or strata corporations, and overland water coverage is more specific to residential properties.

“It’s (overland water insurance) really only become an option recently, in the last five to eight years or so. So, when customers are faced with yet another type of coverage, they can be reluctant,” Hui says.

But since the cost can be relatively small in comparison to the value of what it protects, given the continued increase in home values across the Lower Mainland, it makes sense to include overland water coverage.

“Overland water insurance can cost roughly $100 to $200 a year more for a home, or about $50 for a townhouse or condo,” Hui says.

It is postal code specific, meaning some properties, depending on where they are situated, the rate could be more expensive, or even exempt from the coverage due to increased risk.

Yet for those who qualify, the coverage can offer a big help.

“Keep in mind, though, there’s no policy that will cover everything,” Hui says. “But you can protect your investment because water damage, by its nature, usually has the highest claim value because it can get into everything, soaking walls, floors and damaging property. And then, there’s the resulting mould to contend with as flooring and walls sometimes need to be replaced. But mould is often excluded from policies so it’s crucial to deal with water damage as soon as possible.,” Hui says.

For more information about how overland water insurance can help protect your property, visit Park Georgia Insurance at