In the days leading up to June 19, 2013, Alberta experienced heavy rainfall that triggered catastrophic flooding described by the provincial government as the worst in Alberta’s history. Areas along the Bow, Elbow, Highwood, Red Deer, Sheep, Little Bow, and South Saskatchewan rivers and their tributaries were particularly affected. A total of 32 states of local emergency were declared and 28 emergency operations centres were activated as water levels rose and numerous communities were placed under evacuation orders.
Five people were confirmed dead as a direct result of the flooding and over 100,000 people were displaced throughout the region. Some 2,200 Canadian Forces (CF) troops were deployed to help in flooded areas. Total damage estimates exceeded C$5 billion and in terms of insurable damages, made the 2013 Alberta floods the costliest disaster in Canadian history at $1.7 billion, until the occurrence of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. Receding waters gave way to a mammoth cleanup of affected areas, aided by a spontaneous volunteer campaign in which many home owners were assisted by complete strangers.
When floodwater from a severe, week-long storm started pouring through the walls of Becky Bentley’s house, she knew she had to get out fast. In the short time it took her and her son to run upstairs to grab the family cat, the rapidly rising water trapped them on the second floor of their home.
With the help of a neighbour, they manage to escape. But when the water receded and Becky finally returned to her property, she discovered most of the contents and drywall were unsalvageable. She thought her homeowners insurance would cover the losses; but found out that most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.
“The water got so high, everything was just destroyed,” Becky recounted. “I didn’t have flood insurance because I wasn’t in a flood plain, so we were told we didn’t need it.”
Floods are the most frequent type of natural disaster in Canada. While some regions, such as coastal areas, are more flood-prone than others, the unpredictability of climate change exposes all property to some risk. And torrential rainfall isn’t the only culprit. Flooding is also caused by mudflows, rapid snowmelt during spring and ice jams during winter.
Even a couple of centimeters of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage, shocking those who find out flood losses are specifically excluded from their homeowners and personal umbrella policies.
Flood insurance provides the protection you need to cover losses after a flood ravages your property. The cost of premiums vary based on the amount of coverage you need, what’s covered and your property’s flood risk.
New flood insurance policies usually have a 30-day waiting period, so don’t delay in protecting one of your most valuable assets—your home. Contact Action Insurance Group today at 403 457-1000 for more information on flood insurance.