Sue Wheatley and her family woke up to rising water in their basement this past Monday morning.
“Probably four-to-six inches of brown water all throughout,” said Wheatley.
The floors, drywall, toys, electronics and more all damaged beyond repair. Wheatley’s family has Intact home insurance including coverage for ‘enhanced water damage’, so she figured the unfortunate event would be a nuisance, rather than a major financial burden.
“It turns out we’re not covered,” said Wheatley.
Ground water flooding is not included in the ‘enhanced water package’ she purchased, meaning the family is facing damage costs upwards of $50,000. Wheatley’s current coverage includes flooding caused by sewer back up, overland water and water and sewer lines. She says she was unaware ground water flooding insurance was even an option.
“Nobody told us that their enhanced water package had other features that would actually protect us for what we need,” said Wheatley, adding that an adjuster recently explained that ground water flooding can be added on for an additional fee.
Wheatley also says due to high demand for insurance claims this week, the delayed process potentially cost her and her family even more financial hardship.
“We were told on Monday night when the insurance came not to touch anything,” said Wheatley. “They said don’t remove anything, don’t use anything, don’t touch anything until we heard from them. So 72 hours passed and we could’ve salvaged more, could’ve saved some of our belongings but we didn’t because they told us not to touch anything.”
A representative from Intact Insurance told CHEK News in a statement that customers can purchase Ground Water Protection which provides coverage for loss or damage caused by the sudden entrance of water through basement walls, foundation or floor.
“We encourage customers to review their policy closely and to contact their broker or us if they have any questions about their coverage. We will be contacting Ms. Wheatley to fully understand her situation and work towards a solution.”
Wheatley, meanwhile, is considering her options and even wrote a letter to her local MLA in the hopes government can pressure insurance firms to be more transparent. At the very least, however, she hopes her story serves as a cautionary tale to others.
“Call your broker and understand what your coverage is,” said Wheatley.