Spring floods: what you need to know about insurance

Flood insurance

Flood insurance has been offered by some Québec insurers since 2017. Products, underwriting criteria, and costs vary from one insurance company to another.

People usually get flood protection by adding an endorsement to their policy. In many cases, the endorsement also covers water damage caused by sewer backup or groundwater seepage.

Damage to your home

When your home is damaged by flooding, you may receive compensation from your insurance company if you have a flood insurance policy. If not, you may receive compensation from the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) program.

If the damage is not fully covered by your flood insurance, you may apply to the MSP for additional assistance.

Eligiblity for the MSP program

The Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) provides a list of disasters that are eligible for its financial assistance program. Events are identified by location and date.

To find out if you qualify for help, see the MSP website (in French): https://www.securitepublique.gouv.qc.ca/securite-civile/assistance-financiere-sinistres/aide-financiere-sinistres-2011-2017/sinistres-admissibles.html.

Public and private compensation: what you need to know

  • Flood victims who have flood insurance may apply to the Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP) for assistance if the damage is not fully covered by their insurance policy.
  • The MSP program covers essential items for which a predetermined amount is provided as compensation. The program also establishes maximum amounts for restoring certain rooms in your house.

Examples from the MSP program:

Room

Items that are covered

Maximum amount

Kitchen

Refrigerator

$1,000

 

Stove

$700

 

Toaster

$30

Bedroom

Mattress and box spring

$475

 

Bedside table

$150

 

Living room / family room

Couch

$1,000

 

Television

$550

 

Maximum amount payable
for a living room

$2,000

  • If you choose to receive government compensation for an item, you cannot be compensated by your insurance company for the same item. For instance, if you need to replace a refrigerator that is valued at $1,400, you cannot receive the $1,000 allocated by the MSP program and another $400 from your insurance company. You will have to choose between receiving $1,000 from the government or $1,400 from the insurance company.
  • Compensation for essential rooms depends on the level reached by water in your home. As was the case for essential items, you must choose between receiving government assistance or receiving compensation from your private insurance policy in order to repair or rebuild your home.
  • Your insurance company may provide compensation for items or rooms that are not deemed essential and are therefore not covered by the MSP program.

Examples of items that are not covered by the MSP program:

Room

Items that are not covered

Kitchen

Espresso machine

 

Kitchen towels and tablecloth

 

Decorative items

Basement and yard

Wine cellar

 

Garden furniture

 

Sports equipment

Living room / family room

Bookcases and shelves

 

Sound system

 

Home theatre

For more information:

https://www.securitepublique.gouv.qc.ca/en/civil-protection/financial-disaster-victims/general-indemnity-and-financial-assistance-program.html#c110956

Additional living expenses

When there is a flood, living expenses are not automatically reimbursed after an evacuation order.

In concrete terms, if your insurance policy includes a flood endorsement, you are entitled to compensation for additional living expenses for 14 days following an evacuation order. If your home is damaged, this period may be extended in order for repairs to be carried out. Because the scope and operation of endorsements vary from one insurer to another, we encourage citizens to contact their insurance company as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that these expenses are deducted from the amount of the coverage provided by the endorsement.

Flood-damaged vehicles

When a vehicle has been flooded, it is no longer safe. You must not try to start it. In many cases, a flood-damaged vehicle will be deemed “unrebuildable”: it can never be put back on the road, and only some of its parts may be used again. The insurer determines if the vehicle is unrebuildable on the basis of criteria established by the SAAQ.

For more information, see the SAAQ website: https://saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road-safety/flood-damaged-road-vehicles.

Tools for consumers

To help disaster victims, two IBC tools provide answers to their questions: