Insurance Information from IBC for Those Affected by the Northern Alberta Floods

May 7, 2020 (EDMONTON) – Following the devastating floods in northern Alberta, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is providing advice to help flood victims navigate the insurance process.

"Our thoughts are with the people of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Mackenzie County who have been impacted by these floods," said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC. "While flood insurance is fairly new to the market and has limited availability in flood-prone areas, the insurance industry is here to help its customers through the recovery phase of the flooding."

What is covered?

  • Damage as a result of sewer backup may be covered by your home insurance if the coverage was included in your homeowner's policy or you purchased it as an add-on to your policy. Different amounts of sewer backup coverage are available. Contact your insurance representative to discuss your coverage.
  • Residential and business overland flood insurance coverages are optional and must be added-on to insurance policies. However, availability of overland flood insurance is typically limited in high-risk flood areas.
  • Damage to vehicles caused by water is usually covered if you carry comprehensive or all perils coverage, but this coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy or speak with your insurance representative.

What is the difference between homeowner's insurance, and optional sewer backup and overland flood coverage?

  • Typical homeowner's, condo and tenant's policies cover water damage caused by plumbing leaks from burst pipes, malfunctioning taps, improper connections and hot water tank failures.
  • Optional add-on sewer backup coverage covers water damage caused by the sudden backup of sewers, pipes, drains, septic systems and sump pumps.
  • Optional overland flood coverage covers water damage caused by the overflow of lakes, ponds or rivers; surface water from heavy rainfall or melting snow; and ground water or the rising of the water table, causing water to enter a home at the ground level or by seeping through windows, doors and walls.

How can I make a claim?

When it is safe to do so, take the following steps to begin the insurance claims process.

  1. Assess and document the potential damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  2. Call your insurance representative to report the damage.
  3. Keep notes and be as detailed as possible when providing information. Be sure to keep all receipts related to cleanup.
  4. If you need further information about home, business or car insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422) or

"The insurance industry has representatives on the ground in Fort McMurray to assist consumers in making a claim and assessing their damage," added Power. "Anyone with questions about insurance can contact their insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre. We're here to help."

National Action Plan on Flood

Each time a severe weather event happens, it reinforces the need to be better prepared. IBC is working with governments at all levels, the insurance industry, consumers and other stakeholders to build resilient communities in Alberta and across the country.

Residential flood coverage is relatively new in Canada. While 13 insurers offer overland flood coverage in Alberta, coverage for those in high-risk areas is either unaffordable or requires all insurance rate payers to subsidize those rates. This is why the insurance industry believes Canada needs a National Action Plan on Flooding.

This plan includes investing in resilient infrastructure to protect communities from floods, improved flood mapping, measures to relocate those at highest risk out of harm's way, and the availability of affordable overland flood insurance to protect the remaining Canadians whose homes are at high risk of flooding.

"Flooding events like the ones in northern Alberta are costly, stressful and difficult for those affected," said Power. "IBC wants to work with all stakeholders to reduce the financial strain and stress caused by future flood events. By working together, we can ensure that all Canadians, regardless of their flood risk, can access affordable flood insurance."

For more information on the spring floods and insurance, please visit IBC's dedicated webpage: Spring flooding in Alberta – IBC tips and information for residents.

​About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.