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FAQ: What is Overland Water Coverage?

Thursday, 27 May 2021

When you shop for home insurance there are so many options and it might feel a bit overwhelming. Luckily, the Billyard Insurance Group is here to help! In the buying process, your broker may offer Overland Water Coverage and you may not be sure of what it covers or if it’s even necessary. That’s why we are here! In this blog, we will discuss Overland Water Coverage to help you make an informed decision for your home insurance policy.

What is Water Damage Coverage?

Before we discuss overland water coverage, you should understand that most home insurance policies in Canada usually include some basic coverage for water damage caused by sudden and accidental water escape. Examples may include damage caused by certain weather events, watermain breaks, leaking pipes or roof, overflow from household appliances, and swimming pools. Your broker will be able to explain your policy’s water coverages in detail.

What is Overland Water?

In the insurance world, overland water is fresh water that flows above ground such as:

  • Overflow of any body of fresh water such as lakes and rivers
  • Sudden accumulation or run-off of surface waters (torrential rainfall & rapid snowmelt)

Note: Overland water does not include saltwater flooding such as coastal water, tsunamis, waves, and tidal waves.

When overland water enters your home through windows, doors, or other ground-level points of entry, it can cause a lot of damage to your home and valuable possessions. This damage creates a huge inconvenience and can cost thousands of dollars to repair and replace your stuff. Overland water can also make your house or apartment inaccessible and unlivable while it is flooded or being fixed.

What is Overland Water Coverage?

Claims that involve overland water are not included in a standard home insurance policy. When you add overland water coverage to your policy, it would pay to repair damage to your home and contents from overland water, minus the deductible you select on your policy (What is a deductible?). These are some situations where you may be covered by overland water coverage:

Example 1: You are renting a space in a high-rise apartment and a nearby river overflows, making your building inaccessible. Overland water coverage would ensure that you will have the funds to temporarily relocate while the flood subsides, and the apartment building is repaired.

Example 2: Several days of spring rainfall causes water to seep in through your basement windows. Overland water coverage would provide funds for home repairs, and replacement of irreparably damaged personal property. This endorsement would also give an allowance for additional living expenses if your home is inhabitable during repairs.

Overland water coverage is optional and can be added to your home, tenant, or condo insurance package. It is not, however, a stand-alone coverage; it usually must be purchased in tandem with sewer backup coverage. A BIG broker will be able to give you a better idea of available coverages and eligibility.

Should I Get Overland Water Coverage?

With the ever-changing climate in Canada, fresh water floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada. Water damage also accounts for 48% of insurance claims in Canada according to a 2014 study conducted by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. Whether you rent or own, the minimal cost of this endorsement on your policy will far outweigh the costs of repairing damage, replacing valuable contents, and paying for alternate living arrangements in the meantime.

Speak with a broker to learn if you qualify for this coverage as there are some limitations for homes that may be in a high-risk flood zone.

How to Prevent Overland Water Damage

Aside from having the peace of mind from overland water coverage, there are also some measures you can take to try to prevent flooding in your home. Read our blog How to Prevent a Flood for helpful flood prevention tips!  


With a better understanding of overland water coverage, we hope that you can make an informed decision. If you’re looking for reliable and cost-effective home insurance that doesn’t compromise on coverage, you have come to the right place! With access to many insurance companies across the company, our brokers can get you a quote in just a few minutes. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote to see how much you could be saving.