Is flood damage covered on my rented home?

I've had a flood and now my landlord says I have to pay for it. Is this true?

It could be. It depends on how the water damage occurred. Flood is a word often used for water damage. Usually flood is not covered on a personal policy. If it is a true flood situation, then it is often a regional problem. You report the claim to the insurance company, and they deny coverage as flood is excluded. Often the provincial or federal government steps in to help.

Water Damage

If you forget to turn off a tap and the sink overflows which causes damage to your apartment and other parts of the building, then you are held responsible. It may appear to be a flood, but it is not. Insurance usually covers accidental and sudden discharge of water. The forgotten tap situation fits. Your deductible will apply. You should contact your insurance company, broker or agent and start the claim process.

Insurance Claim

If you have purchased insurance, then your insurance will address your damages and possible additional living expenses during the repair process. An investigation into the claim will determine how the damage occurred, and where the responsibility lies. If you do not have insurance and you are responsible, then you could be presented with a large repair/restoration bill.

If an investigation reveals that your neighbour is responsible, then likely your insurer will ask for repayment from the neighbour's insurer. Insurance claims follow the money. You, your neighbours and your landlord, could all be involved in the claims process. This is why tenant's insurance, which is relatively inexpensive, is so worthwhile.

If your insurance company can collect all that they pay out from another party held to be responsible, then you would get back your deductible. You could also have your clean record restored for "no claims". This is important, as a claim will take away your claims-free discount.

Your responsibilities

Your insurance adjuster should provide you with helpful advice at how to deal with this situation. The insurance company has the resources to deal with any legalities. This will not be your responsibility. Your job is to keep the insurance company informed of any correspondence you might receive in regards to the claim, and be open and honest in your dealings with the claim.

Insurance companies are always on the look out for fraud or misrepresentation. Be very careful that your estimates are accurate. If you have any doubt on a value be sure to show the word "approximate". You can lose all that you would have claimed if there is concern that you have exaggerated a value. Talk to your broker and be sure to always err on the side of caution.