This is a common question we get about basement waterproofing here in Toronto.
What is Covered and What Is Not
Unfortunately, basement waterproofing systems aren’t typically covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. The actual cleanup of a flooded basement may be covered but the process of waterproofing the room isn’t. Of course, if you suffer through a flooded basement for one reason or another the insurance company will want to know the reason why and then recommend you tend to the source of the problem so it doesn’t happen again. The company may cover you for the first instance of a flooded basement but certainly won’t want to dish out again. Water leaks that result form inside the home are usually covered, like a broken pipe or faulty appliance, but external water leaks into your basement usually are not.
Lets’ compare it to an auto accident which was caused by the blowout of an old tire. The insurer may cover the damages but you’ll definitely be on the hook for buying a new set of tires to cut down on the chances of it happening again. Many homeowners’ policies will cover the contents and cleanup of a flooded basement but you need to make sure it’s included in the policy or take out a separate endorsement or rider for water damage. This usually covers broken water pipes, sewers and sump pumps etc but often doesn’t include damage caused by a flooded river/lake and storms etc. However, it’s very important to know exactly what your policy does and doesn’t cover and ask the insurance salesperson if you’d like something specific included.
External Water leaks
Most policies exclude coverage for water seepage and flooding which occurs externally, at ground level or below it. But even if flood insurance is added to your policy it usually won’t cover damage caused by groundwater since it’s really caused by lack of home maintenance such as cracks in the foundation or walls, poor lot grading, leaky pipes and inadequate drainage systems etc. The onus to take care of one’s basement and properly maintain it basically falls on the homeowner. And the best way to try and keep it dry is to waterproof it as a matter of preventative maintenance.
It’s recommended that you have a new cast-iron sump pump which is able to operate on batteries when the power to the home goes out. In addition, any cracks in your basement or foundation walls should be repaired if necessary. In some cases, you may be able to repair and waterproof your own home but if the job is too big you may need professional help. There are numerous waterproofing contractors available which will be able to waterproof your home from the inside out outside depending on the unique situation.
Flooded basements may be covered if the source of the water damage came from inside the house but not from outside of it. This includes appliances that break down and broken or frozen pipes since these are considered to be sudden and accidental problems. But even in these instances you may need to prove the damage wasn’t caused due to a lack of preventative maintenance. For example, if you leave home for two weeks in the winter and turn off the heat you may be the cause of a frozen water pipe. If you turn the heat off make sure you also turn the water off.
Therefore, it’s also important to keep an eye on your pipes and appliances and keep them in good operating condition. When it comes to external water sources, you should realize that over the years most foundations will eventually deteriorate as they settle and crack. This is basically natural wear and tear on the foundation and it may require expert help from an experienced contractor to rectify. Drain tiles and excavating may be needed but it’s often the best and sometimes the only way to properly waterproof your basement.
Contact Nusite Waterproofing
For more information on certified basement waterproofing please feel free to contact us at Nusite Waterproofing. Our team of technicians is experienced in diagnosing potential danger spots and recommend the best method of keeping your basement dry from groundwater. We are a basement waterproofing company in Toronto and service the GTA.