A Guide to Water Damage: Overland vs. Sewer Backup Coverage

Your home is your place of comfort and security. However, unforeseen events like water damage can disrupt this tranquility and result in significant financial setbacks. In fact, according to the Canadian Underwriter, “48% of all interior property damage is caused by water (more than fire and burglary)” in Canada.

So, what water coverage can you add to your home insurance? Two coverages are available for water damage insurance. “Overland water” and “sewer backup”, and these are designed to protect homeowners from water-related incidents. Understanding their differences is essential to ensure comprehensive protection for your home and peace of mind.


Overland Water Coverage:

Overland water coverage, often referred to as “surface water” coverage, relates to damage caused by water that enters one’s property from natural sources. This coverage is particularly important in areas prone to flooding or where water can accumulate rapidly due to natural events.

  • Source of Water: Overland water coverage applies to damage caused by water that enters your property from outside. I.e. rainfall, melting snow, or overflowing bodies of water like rivers and lakes can cause flooding or pooling around your home.
  • Coverage Scope: This typically includes damage to your property’s structure, personal belongings, and additional living expenses. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to overland water damage, living expenses are provided.
  • Examples: If heavy rains lead to water entering your basement or flooding your ground floor, overland water coverage is available. This would help cover the costs of repairs, restoration, and replacing damaged items.
  • Preventive Measures: Preventive measures to reduce the risk of overland damage is to direct water away from your home. This can include proper landscaping and grading.


Sewer Backup Coverage:

Sewer backup coverage is to protect against damage caused by backup or overflow of your property’s sewer or drainage system. A sewer backup can lead to unsanitary conditions and extensive property damage.

  • Source of Water: Sewer backup coverage addresses damage often caused by blockages, clogs, or system failures. Additionally, this damage can occur when sewage or water flows back into your home through drains, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures.
  • Coverage Scope: This coverage typically includes damage to your property’s structure, personal belongings, and cleanup costs associated with the removal of sewage and contaminated water.
  • Examples: If a blocked sewer line causes sewage to back up into your basement, sewer backup coverage would help cover the costs of cleaning, sanitizing, and repairing the damage.
  • Preventive Measures: Preventive measures for sewer backup may involve regular maintenance of your plumbing system. You should also avoid flushing inappropriate items down the toilet.


Why Water Damage Coverage Matters

  • Financial Security: Water-related incidents can lead to substantial expenses, from repairing damaged structures to replacing valuable belongings. Water damage insurance ensures you’re financially protected. Don’t shoulder the full financial burden.
  • Swift Recovery: With the right insurance coverage, you can act promptly to address the damage, minimizing its impact on your daily life. You can quickly restore your home to its original condition, preventing prolonged disruptions.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have insurance coverage in place gives you peace of mind. You can rest assured that if  damage occurs, you have a safety net to help you navigate the aftermath.
  • Customizable Options: Coverage can often be tailored to suit your specific needs and concerns. To ensure comprehensive protection, homeowners in areas prone to water-related risks may consider having both overland water and sewer backup coverage as part of their insurance policy.


As a beginner, grasping the fundamentals of water damage insurance and the various coverage options empowers you to make informed decisions to safeguard your home and assets. For more information on how you can prevent water issues, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Water Damage and Flood Protection, and visit our home insurance page to see how you can save on your home insurance coverage

Remember, water-related incidences can occur anywhere. Being prepared is the best way to secure your home and maintain peace of mind. Contact us today at 1-800-268-3311 or ebrokers@dbibrokers.ca to ensure you have the necessary coverage to weather any storm!


water flooding a kitchen showing overland water damage