Excalibur Insurance Group

What is Overland Flood and why do you need to get it?

AVI1We are pleased to announce that Aviva Insurance is the first company in Canada to offer Overland Water Protection! Believe it or not, this coverage has not previously been available on the Canadian insurance market, even though it’s been offered in the US for quite some time. So why is this important? What’s new? What’s covered and what isn’t?

There are still images in the minds of many Canadians of the extensive damage in Calgary, Toronto, and Burlington after extraordinarily heavy rainfalls. We’re sure that you’ve seen the pictures of the shopping mall parking lots with the cars underwater.

In reality, between 1970 and 2013 there where 208 “natural” disasters that triggered requests for federal funding. Of these disasters, 56% were due to overland water. In Canada we have 20 times the storms and floods that we had two decades ago.


However effective June 1, 2015 there is now an innovative new solution that will help you better manage your overland flooding risk to your home.

Aviva Insurance has come out with a new coverage called “Overland Flood Water Protection for residential property owners and tenants across Ontario.” The overland water coverage is now available in addition to the water damage protection your base policy offers and your standard sewer backup coverage. Your water damage coverage can now be comprised as follows:

  1. Base policy water protection – broken water pipes and more
  2. Sewer back-up endorsement – back up or escape of water or sewage
  3. Overland water endorsement – from overland water entering your property


Most comprehensive homeowners insurance policies will provide coverage for damage caused by broken water pipes. Additionally, many current homeowners policies offer you the chance to add coverage for sewer back-up.  Sewer backup is the sudden and accidental back up or escape of water or sewage within your dwelling or detached private structures. This damage may be caused by water coming up through a sewer, septic system or sump pump located on your property.

Aviva’s new Overland Water Coverage can be purchased by customers who already carry the sewer back up endorsement, as a way to protect yourself against types of overland water flooding.

What is Overland Water?

Water that accumulates upon or submerges land which is usually dry resulting from the unusual and rapid accumulation of run off surface waters from any source, including torrential rainfall and snow melt. Also the rising, breaking out or overflow of any body of fresh water. It does not provide coverage for flooding caused by waves, tides, tidal waves, tsunamis or the rising, breaking out or overflow of any body of salt water, whether natural or man-made.

 Overland water endorsement provides coverage for:

  1. Damage resulting directly from overland water – such as physical damage to the exterior or interior of the dwelling
  2. A loss caused by sewer back up as a result of overland water
  3. Damage to your home caused by the sudden and accidental entrance of water through foundations, basement walls or basement floors caused by overland water


  1. Losses from flood (waves, tides, tidal waves, tsunamis, overflow of any body of salt water), spray, storm surge, ice or waterborne objects, whether driven by wind or not
  2. Loss of damage caused by sewer back up resulting directly or indirectly from flood water
  3. Loss or damage caused by sewer back up if overland water has NOT entered the dwelling
  4. Loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the entrance of water through foundations, basement walls or basement floors, except for the entrance of water caused by overland water.
  5. Loss of damage caused directly or indirectly from the overflow or release of water from dams, dikes or leaves.

The coverage that is available is replace cost coverage on a loss to your home (building), detached private structure, contents and additional living expense. This will be called policy limit coverage (SBEN). You can also buy down your content coverage to 20% of you building limit or down to 0% to save money on the premium, which is referred to as stated limit (SBCL). There will be no guaranteed replacement cost coverage’s paid on flood and single limit coverage will not apply. There are a variety of different deductible options for this new endorsement varying from $1000 – $50,000.

There will be 15 overland water zones that will be introduced. Each six digit postal code will have an overland water risk zone assigned. Each zone will have a different premium based on whether or not it is a low, med, high or very high risk zone. Most homes in Ontario will be eligible to purchase this coverage but some areas will be excluded. Aviva has categorized the dwellings in one of four risk levels. By this measure, about 95 per cent of the country is insurable. Still, 5 per cent of the country is categorized as very high risk and cannot be provided coverage. Aviva is working with governments to explore options for these outstanding homes.”

The premium is also based on the current amount of insurance on the home.

The following lines of insurance offered by Aviva will give clients the option to buy Overland flood coverage.

  • Coverage is available for purchase where the existing qualifying risk has sewer back up coverage, regardless of limit.
  • The coverage is designed and priced for a full year of protection, so if the coverage cancelled by the customer they will have to wait a year to purchase this coverage again
  • Coverage will not be available for dwellings located in high risk zones, such as properties with a reverse slope driveway or ones that are located within 100m of flowing water. An exception can be made if the lowest level of house has an elevation of at least 10 meters above the usual water level.

This endorsement is available June 1, 2015 for new clients, but existing Aviva clients can add it to their home policy effective August 1, 2015. Unsure if your insurance policy provides the correct water coverage? Do not have overland flood insurance and would like a price on this innovative new water protection coverage. Call us today at 800-361-1072 or visit our overlandflood.ca page by clicking here


Why is the coverage called “Overland Water” and not “Flood”?

It was called this by Aviva as they wanted to differentiate between the two terms. In the endorsement wording, Overland Water is defined as fresh water from rivers, lakes or water suddenly accumulated as a result of heavy rainfall. Whereas, Flood refers to coastal flooding from salt water – such as from Tsunamis and tidal waves (which are not intended to be covered).

Is there any plan to introduce Coverage for those living in Coastal areas?

Aviva, currently does not have the capability to adequately assess and predict coastal flooding so they cannot develop a product and pricing for this type of exposure.

If I do not purchase the Overland Water Endorsement and an event happens which causes both sewer back-up and overland water how will coverage be determined?

Sewer back-up and overland water work in conjunction with one another. In this situation the overland water endorsement would pick up the loss. If you did not purchase overland water, there would be no coverage. The claims adjuster would be able to determine if water had entered the home via overland water.

Does Aviva provide coverage to help prevent loss from Sewer backup?

If you have a loss that they cover, they have added a special feature that provides up to $1,000 towards the cost of a device to help protect you from future sewer back-up loss.

Do you have Any quick tips to help prevent water damage to my home ?

Below is a graphic provided by Aviva Insurance that shows some quick tips to avoid water damage to your home.

Quick Water tips

Jeff Roy