Overland flood insurance is now available for the majority of residential properties in British Columbia with 15 or more insurance companies offering coverage in BC for riverine-related flooding and at least one company offering coastal (storm surge) flood coverage in the Lower Mainland of BC (as of December 2019).
Overland flood insurance was previously only available for commercial policies (i.e., included as part of all-peril policies). Some companies are adding the additional overland flood coverage automatically upon the renewal of a customer’s insurance policy, while others provide it separately.
All BC residents and businesses should review the status of their insurance policy and flood-related coverage.
Water-related claims have become the number one cause of residential insured losses across the country, exceeding fire-related claims. There remain some properties across Canada that are presently considered too high risk and therefore “uninsurable” for overland flood hazards. The federal government and insurance sector are currently working on a solution for these properties.
There are likely three options to address the long-term insurability of all private residences in Canada. The options were informed by an international review of lessons learned, as well as consultations between the federal, territorial and provincial governments. These are characterized as follows:
Pure Market Solution: Risk borne by homeowners
Evolved Status Quo: Risk borne by blend of homeowners and governments
Create a High-Risk Flood Insurance Pool
A report, released in January 2019, measures these three options against six principles and describes four main preconditions to establishing a flood insurance market that could be sustained over the long term.