Overland Water

A recent statistic showed that nearly one in three Canadians do not know what type of water coverage their home insurance policy provides. In recent decades, rising temperatures and severe weather events in Canada have been on the rise. Environment Canada reports that sever weather events that used to happen every 40 years can now be expected every 6 years! Personal property insurance policies typically cover water damage caused by things like burst pipes and sewer back up but not flood, which represents 40% of all natural disasters.

For this reason, over the past year, many of Canada’s top insurers have moved to develop “overland water” coverage for homeowners. Of the insurers represented by St. Clair Insurance Brokers Inc., this new coverage is now available through Intact Insurance Company, Aviva Canada, Gore Mutual & RSA.

As each insurer has introduced this new coverage a little bit differently, please refer to  your insurer below for a summary of the coverage offered by each and the options available to you.

**If you are not insured with one of these companies, but feel that overland water coverage is something that is important to you, please contact your broker to discuss.



 “Overland water” defined as sudden and accidental entrance of surface water from fresh water sources like rivers, lakes, canals or heavy rains.

The coverage is an expansion of Intact’s water escape/back-up coverage currently offered to homeowners (including secondary & seasonal broad form) and is now called the “enhanced water damage package” – all eligible clients with SBU coverage will move to this new package on renewal.

What is Included in the “Enhanced Water Damage Package?”

  • Sewer back up coverage
  • $1000 toward loss mitigation measures following a SBU loss
  • Water and sewer line coverage
  • Overland water coverage (to eligible customers) & OPTIONAL groundwater coverage for those who qualify overland water coverage

How Much Coverage do you have?

  • Coverage limit is dependent on where you live. Your broker can let you know if you are eligible.
  • Low risk areas will renew with same limit as their current sewer back up coverage limit.
  • Medium risk areas will renew with $10,000 limit for overland water with option to increase.
  • High risk locations will receive NO overland water coverage.
  • The overland water limit can never be higher than your sewer back up coverage limit, but can be decreased to a minimum amount of $10,000 and be less than the sewer back up limit.
  • $2000 deductible as with other water coverage
  • It is very important to note that this is a package. You cannot remove overland water from the package – if you want sewer back-up coverage, you must also have overland water coverage
  • If you feel that you do not need overland water coverage but still want sewer back-up coverage, the only option is to buy down to minimum $10,000 limit


Optional Groundwater Coverage- Can be added on request

  • You must qualify for overland water coverage to be eligible to purchase groundwater coverage
  • Provides coverage for sudden and accidental entrance of groundwater through basement walls, foundation or floors. (NOT SEEPAGE OVER TIME)
  • Coverage for rising of the water table
  • Premium estimates – low risk $40, medium risk $80 (for $10,000), high risk – not eligible


Other Points

  • If a sewer back up and an overland water event occur in a 7 day period they will be treated as one occurrence and the applicable limit of overland water coverage will be used
  • If you have sewer back up, but no overland water coverage and an overland water loss occurs, you would not be covered for sewer back up.

Overland water is defined as water entering a property from sudden accumulation of water from heavy rains, spring run off or overflow from lakes and rivers.

Aviva’s “water protection” coverage can be added as an endorsement to existing personal property policies – for owners or tenants of houses, condos, rental properties, seasonal properties or secondary properties where sewer back up coverage is in place. Key points:

  • Overland Water endorsement covers losses from sudden accumulation or run off of surface waters including torrential rains and spring thaw, and from any overflow of fresh bodies of water. Does not include seepage over time.
  • Works in harmony with SBU coverage – you MUST have sewer back up coverage to have overland water coverage, but can have sewer back up coverage without purchasing overland water
  • Overland water has it’s own deductible of $1000, with options to increase deductible as high as $50,000 to save premium


Reducing Overland Water Premiums

  • Can choose a higher deductible (anywhere from $1000 to $50,000)
  • Can lower the amount of personal property (contents) that applies to overland water. Can lower the coverage to 20% of coverage A (building)
  • Can opt to have no personal property coverage for overland water


Important Points

  • A sewer back up loss is not covered if overland water or flood has entered dwelling
  • Includes $1000 of coverage toward installing a loss mitigation device (sump pump/back water valve) following a covered sewer back up loss
  • Coverage can be added at any time by endorsement
  • Important to understand that sewer back up coverage will not respond if overland water enters the home, even if the sewer backs up.

Overland water defined as damage caused by storm activity and flooding, eaves and downspouts, drains and sewer back up.

RSA’s “waterproof” coverage will not distinguish between whether damage was caused by a sewer back up or a flood, including water from eaves, downspouts or drains. If you choose to have sewer back up coverage only it will be a more limited coverage as follows:

  • Current Sewer back up coverage will be revised to show “limited” sewer back up and will now only cover losses caused by sewer back up, sump back-up or septic back up
  • Coverage for drains, eaves and downspouts removed


Waterproof Coverage

  • New “waterproof” coverage – combines sewer back up and flood in one endorsement.


Key Points

  • Waterproof coverage adds enhanced protection against damage caused by storm activity and flooding, eaves, downspouts and SBU. If you qualify for this coverage they will not distinguish if the loss was caused by flood, SBU, eaves or downspouts. It is covered regardless.
  • The ONLY thing the limited SBU coverage covers is losses caused by SBU, septic and sump.

“WaterEscape Plus” provides a combined solution for overland water and sewer back up and is available to homeowners, tenants, condos, rental dwellings and cottage that have sewer back up coverage in place. Includes coverage for backing up of water from a drain, sump pump or septic system, as well as water entering property due to pooling or ponding from snowmelt or rainstorm, overflow of a river or stream, change in lake water level or bursting of a dam, dyke or levee. 


  • 80% of existing personal property customers are eligible for this new coverage. Gore is working hard to further develop the product for higher risk areas with the goal of being able to provide coverage to 95% of customers. Please ask your broker if you qualify.
  • This coverage replaces the existing sewer back up coverage product.