Many Canadian homeowners are woefully unaware of how to protect their homes against water damage, a new survey has found, even as climate change super charges storms in Canada and is leading to a rising number of claims.  

The latest BNN Bloomberg and RATESDOTCA survey, conducted by Leger, found that 32 per cent of homeowners are not aware that standard home insurance policies don’t cover water damage from seepage, overland flooding or sewer backup.  

What most policies do cover is sudden water damage, the sort that comes from burst pipes or appliances that fail, provided these things did not happen out of negligence. This sort of damage is unlikely to be worsened by climate change.  

On the other hand, while companies now offer coverage for overland flooding (something many did not in previous years), many Canadians do not hold this coverage. A full 50 per cent of respondents said they do not have additional water insurance coverage for their property.  

Overland flooding protects you in the event that water from a storm or a river that spills its banks enters your home. Only 13 per cent of respondents said they had seepage coverage in their home insurance policy. While cities in Canada are working to try and mitigate this form of damage, climate change is increasing the likelihood of it happening, with storms that release large volumes of water in a short amount of time becoming more common.  

Similarly, seepage and sewer backup are additional coverages that must be purchased in addition to your base policy. Only 13 per cent said they had seepage coverage, while 25 per cent said they had sewer back up coverage.  Seepage refers to the slow buildup of water, whether through your foundation or from a pipe behind your walls. Sewer backup, which can happen during a storm, refers to water that enters your home from your sewer pipes (which can also happen if your pipes are clogged by debris).  

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), severe weather insurance claims are four times higher than they were 15 years ago nationwide. 

It’s no surprise then that 16 per cent of those surveyed said they have a made a claim for water damage to their home. The overwhelming majority said that their claim was either mostly or fully covered by insurance (94%).  

Most Canadians who own their own home have home insurance, with only 4 per cent of respondents saying they own their home but do not have home insurance.  


An online survey of n=1537 Canadians, out of which n= 878 Canadians who own their home and have home insurance on their home, was completed between November 11th and 13th, 2022 using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e., a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 878 respondents would have a margin of error of ±3.3%, 19 times out of 20.


BNN Bloomberg has teamed up with RATESDOTCA to take the pulse of Canadians every month on key pocketbook issues as we strive to better understand how households are navigating COVID-19. This is the latest instalment in monthly special coverage.