Unless you live on the ground floor in a condo, you might think you don’t need flood insurance (known as overland water insurance in industry lingo). After all, flooding would only affect the basement and ground levels, right? If you live on the 5th or 15th floor, you don’t need to worry.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. We recommend carrying flood insurance for condos for five main reasons:
- You’ll have Additional Living Expenses coverage if you access to your condo is restricted due to flooding.
- To protect any property you have in storage units or parkades in the lower levels of the condominium building.
- To cover secondary damage caused by flooding that has impacted your unit.
- Your condominium corporation’s policy may not cover flood damage.
- In the event there is a special assessment by your condominium corporation as a result of flooding damage.
Luckily, flood insurance is quite affordable for condo unit owners. We recommend talking to your insurance broker for more details.
Additional Living Expenses for Floods
If you’re under a mandatory evacuation order due to flooding or the area around your condo is flooded, you may have to cover extra expenses for accommodation, food and transportation while you’re unable to reach your condo. This can add up!
Additional living expenses can help cover these extra costs, however, you’ll only be covered for flooding events if you have flood insurance on your personal condo insurance policy.
Basement or Ground-Level Property
Many condo buildings have parkades and storage units in the basement or ground levels. These areas are at higher risk of being damaged in a flood event. If you have any property in such storage units or parkades, you’d need flood insurance to cover the clean-up, repair or replacement of damaged items.
Flood-Related Damage to Your Condo Unit
Unfortunately, flooding can cause damage to your unit even if it’s not on the ground floor. For example, it can cause structural damage, sewer backups, mildew and mould, and it can cause electrical, HVAC and fire suppression systems to fail which can result in damage to your unit.
Having flood insurance on your personal condo policy ensures there are no coverage gaps and that subsequent damage is adequately covered.
You’re not covered by your condominium corporation’s insurance.
Remember, the condominium corporation’s insurance policy only covers common areas and from the walls outward of your unit. Your personal belongings and the unit from the drywall inwards are your responsibility. Your additional living expenses and personal liability are also not covered by the condominium corporation’s policy. That’s why a personal condo insurance policy is essential for condo owners – and it should include flood coverage!
Condo Special Assessments
If the condominium building suffers flood damage, this may trigger a special assessment. If you do not have flood insurance on your personal condo insurance policy, you wouldn’t be covered for flood-related special assessments.
Flood Insurance for Condos
A flood or overland water event is usually defined as:
- Overflow of a body of fresh water such as a lake or river
- Rapid accumulation of fresh water due to snowmelt or rain
Flood insurance can be packaged with sewer backup insurance – another essential for condo owners. This is because flood events can often trigger sewer backups.
Discounts can sometimes be obtained for installing prevention and mitigation measures such as water alarms, sump pumps and sewer backup valves.
Unfortunately, not every condo can qualify for sewer backup or flood insurance. Some insurance companies don’t offer the coverage or the condo is in a high-risk area. It’s important to discuss your options with your broker.