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Preparing for floods

Published on April 14, 2022


Based on what we’ve experienced over the last several years, not many people are spared from flooding. In fact, certain areas that were never considered susceptible to this type of disaster were hit by floods.

Follow the tips provided by the L’Unique General Insurance team so you can be ready to face flood waters and minimize the damage that can be caused to your home.

1. Check what’s covered by your home insurance

Flood insurance coverage, known as “overflow of a body of water”, has become more widespread in Quebec since 2017.

Based on the area where you live, there may be several options available to you.

To learn more, contact your insurance broker. You’ll know exactly what’s covered by your home insurance contract in the event of a flood and whether the insurance you currently have provides enough coverage. If necessary, you can also ask about additional coverage based on where you live.

2. Put together an emergency kit

By gathering items your family will need in order to get by for three days and keeping the kit somewhere that is accessible but protected from the elements, you’ll be all set in the event of an emergency or evacuation.

Make sure you check the contents of your emergency kit every year.

3. Minimize the damage

Take measures to limit potential damage to your basement and your property.

  • Unfinished basement
    The risk of financial loss and property damage caused by water seepage or flooding is lower when your basement is not finished.
  • Renovating and finishing the basement
    If you decide to have some work done in your basement, it’s best to use water- and mould-resistant materials.
  • Windows
    Since your basement windows are the ideal entry point for water in the event of a flood, take all the necessary precautions to try prevent water from seeping in.
    Check periodically to see if you need to reapply sealant to the edges in case joints are weakened or damaged.
    Make sure the drain from your window wells drains water properly and remove anything that may obstruct the flow (e.g. fallen leaves).
  • Non-return valve
    It would be prudent to have a non-return valve installed if you don’t already have one to limit the risks of sewer backups.
  • Sump pump
    If you have a sump pump, have it cleaned and inspected annually to make sure it’s in good working order.
    If your pump has a battery, it should also be inspected and verified so that it functions properly in the event of a power outage.
  • Furniture, appliances and other property in the basement
    Whenever possible, don’t place any items directly on the floor. Instead, elevate your property, furniture and electrical appliances. Also, avoid storing valuable items in the basement.
  • Tank or central heating unit
    Whether they are located in the basement or outdoors, make sure any tank or central heating unit is firmly held in place with fasteners created specifically for that purpose. This will reduce the risk of these huge items getting tipped over or damaged if they  get moved around.
  • Relandscaping
    To reduce the risk of flooding, ensure that you properly landscape to direct water away from the foundations. The land around your home should slope slightly downward by at least six meters. Also, to limit soil erosion around the building, it’s a good idea to plant water-resistant plants that can adapt to the region’s climate.

4. Stay informed

As soon as the water levels start rising in your area, monitor reports from authorities and be prepared to act quickly.
Prepare the items you would take with you in the event of an evacuation, including your emergency kit.
Monitor the news in your region and the information released by local authorities to stay on top of the situation and what measures to take. You can usually find this information on the following websites:

Act as soon as your home is exposed to a high risk of flooding
To make sure your family is safe and limit property damage, take the following steps before water seeps into your home:

  • Turn off the power supply (electricity, gas or oil). Watch out! If water has already seeped into your home, do not try to turn the power off yourself! Call Hydro-Québec right away.
  • Do all that you can to prevent water from seeping in and rising:
    • Place sandbags around the building.
    • Install waterproofing membranes along any opening through which water could enter. If you live near the St. Lawrence River, protect the windows facing the river with plywood.
  • Check that the non-return valve is in good working order. If you don’t have one, block the sewer lines and the drain.
  • Move as many objects as possible to the floors above, especially any chemical or dangerous products.

Your insurance broker is there for you
Contact your insurance broker who can advise you on prevention.