9 questions about flood insurance

Flooding hits several Quebec regions and raises a number of questions about available insurance coverage for flood victims.

1. Can one get insurance that covers flooding?

A number of insurers now offer overland water coverage. This product is relatively new on the market and is not widely available. So flood victims should talk to their insurers as soon as possible to find out whether they are covered.

2. My insurer does not offer flood insurance. What should I do?

Underwriting rules vary from insurer to insurer. Some offer flood insurance, others don’t. And, a company’s decision whether or not to insure a property against flooding depends on the risk it represents.

Unless they have private insurance or adequate coverage, policyholders who suffer damage due to flooding may be eligible for the ministère de la Sécurité publique’s (Public Safety Department) financial assistance program.

For further details on the terms governing this assistance, please consult the ministère de la Sécurité publique's (Public Safety Department) web site.

3. I have flood insurance but I think the insurance amount will not cover all the losses incurred. Can I make a request for compensation to the ministère de la Sécurité publique (Public Safety Department)?

Yes, absolutely. We suggest you open a file with your private insurer and with the ministère de la Sécurité publique. Using this option, your private insurer will complete the government compensation request. Property not covered under the government financial assistance program could be reimbursed by your insurer (up to your coverage amount).

Example: The government financial assistance program covers only one refrigerator per residence. If you have a second refrigerator, it could be covered by your insurer.

4. What happens when an evacuation order is given?

Individuals who have flood insurance:

  • They will receive additional living expenses from their insurer for 14 days.
  • If their home needs work and they need to be temporarily relocated, policyholders will be entitled to other living expenses, depending on their insurance policy limits.

Individuals who don’t have flood insurance:

  • They must contact their insurer as, in some cases, they could receive additional living expenses for 14 days. If you are not covered by your insurer, these expenses are covered under the government’s financial assistance program.

5. Does the state of emergency allow policyholders to receive additional living expenses?

No, a state of emergency is not a trigger for granting living expenses.

A state of emergency and an evacuation order are two quite separate things.

6. What happens if I had a sewer back up because of flooding?

If the flood caused the sewer back-up, this will be considered a flood if water reached the premises. In such case, the policyholder will not be compensated, unless he has flood insurance.

7. Are flooded vehicles covered?

Damage caused to vehicles is covered under the auto insurance policy, provided policyholders have opted for “all perils”, “all perils other than collision or upset” or “specific perils” coverage.

8. My car was immersed in water. What do I need to do?

A vehicle that has been immersed in water is no longer safe and must not be started. In a large number of cases, a flood-damaged vehicle will be deemed “unrebuildable”. This means that it can never be put back on the road and only some of the parts can be used. Using the criteria established by the SAAQ, the automobile insurer establishes whether the vehicle is “unrebuidable”. To find out more, go to https://saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road-safety/flood-damaged-road-vehicles/.

9. Are businesses covered in case of flood?

The flood endorsement for business insurance has been available for several years. It covers not only damaged property but also loss of earnings if the policyholders have this protection. Business owners should call their insurer or broker to check what their insurance policy covers.

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