Climate Change's Impact on Water Damage Claims

Last Updated:
April 22, 2019

In Ottawa, we enjoy three major bodies of water, the Ottawa River, Rideau Canal, and Rideau River. These waterways add beauty and wonder to our city, but they also pose a threat of flooding to nearby properties.

Water damage claims for homeowners, condos, and tenant’s have passed fire damage as the leading cause of payouts. This can be attributed to the changing climate in Ottawa, the introduction of broader insurance coverage, and the aging water and sewer infrastructure.

2017 ranked the highest in rainfall with 1,213 mm in Ottawa. This converts to over 3 feet 9 inches!

Many homeowners are left dealing with sewer backups, overland water seepage, leaks, and other damaging water hazards. When flooding hit Calgary and Toronto in 2013, the average homeowner spent $42,000 to repair damages with the majority of the repairs surpassing their insured limits.

Most insurance companies offer some form of overland water protection.

This added protection can be quite costly and if you reside in an area with regular flooding, these may not even be an option. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, insurance is designed to protect against random events, not predictable events.

As the insurance industry continues to manage its availability of products for water protection, we encourage all our clients to consider the following preventative measures:

  • Understand the Government of Canada's severe weather alerts issued through the media:
  1. Special Weather Statements (not severe)
  2. Watches (moderately severe)
  3. Warnings (severe)
  • Install a back-flow valve to prevent sewer lines from backing up into your basement. Plug types of backwater valves are not recommended.
  • Clean out eaves troughs and down spouts.
  • Ensure your sump pump is in good working condition and has a back-up battery.
  • Prepare a flood kit with the following items: flashlight, first-aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, dry clothes and towels.
  • Have your insurance documents readily available. Ask us how to get your insurance documents sent to you electronically or log in to Scrivens Online.
  • Turn off all gas, electricity, and water supplies.
  • Take photos of all damages and let Scrivens know of any damage immediately. We recommend you enter our information into the address book on your phone for easy access: phone: 613-236-9101, after-hour claims: 1-800-267-3542

Water damage is expected to get worse as the climate changes. The thaw last Spring saw insurance payouts reaching $223 million in the Ottawa area.

Before we reach another thaw this Spring, let’s review your coverage and ensure you are best protected against water damage.

Please call or email us at 613-236-9101 or

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Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions
270 MacLaren Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0M3 | 613-236-9101