Imagine you have just mopped up after a heavy downpour flooded your basement and having to call a waterproofing contractor to come and inspect the damage.
After you receive a written estimate, you call your insurance agent who sounds sympathetic to your situation but tells you there is not much he can do because typically the cost of basement waterproofing is not covered in your homeowners insurance. This may be surprising and unfair, because it is.
Understanding Your Homeowners Insurance
Before going into detail, it’s important to understand what homeowners insurance is and what it is meant to cover.
When you purchase a home, you also jointly buy an insurance policy that protects your home as well as its contents from damages and losses. Since your home is one of the largest financial commitments you will ever have, homeowners insurance also seeks to protect that investment. Most homeowners have a basic policy that covers disasters and losses such as theft, fire, and falling trees. Based on your preference and need, you can also acquire additional coverage to your policy for specific losses such as mechanical failure of sump pumps and burst pipes.
What Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover
Due to severe weather, much has been discussed about flood insurance in Toronto. However, none of these discussions has yielded results as far as basement waterproofing repair coverage is concerned. The flood insurance cover available is only designed to protect the above ground of your home and even this is subject to conditions which have to be met before you qualify for coverage.
While flood insurance is certainly a good idea, but should not count on it to help you pay for your basement flooding issues, especially those caused by groundwater.
Homeowners insurance, according to industry experts, covers your property against sudden and accidental losses including hail damage, theft, and fire. Basement water damage is not accidental and sudden therefore it is left out; it’s considered a home maintenance issue in the same category as keeping your sidings and stairs clean.
The Way Forward
The best advice insurance agents give homeowners is to avoid a flood in their basements by taking practical steps which include:
- Replacing old sump pumps with newer and more dependable models
- Repairing of foundation wall cracks
- Basement waterproofing both on the inside and the outside
- Addition of a battery operated sump pump system which kicks into action to guard your basement against flooding in the event of a power failure.
The bottom line: the solution to your basement waterproofing issues doesn’t lie with your insurance company or agent rather with a basement waterproofing contractor.