Severe Weather and Home Insurance

By: Eleanor King & Maurice King

Severe Weather and Home Insurance

Tags: Real Estate, Durham Homes, Home Insurance

 

HOME INSURANCE OFFERS PEACE OF MIND
 
As we look around our neighbourhoods in the aftermath of the deadly storm that roared across southern Ontario and into Quebec on the Victoria Day long weekend, we’re reminded that Mother Nature is a powerful force.
 
The storm also reminded us about the importance of home insurance. Though it’s not mandatory by law, most banks or mortgage holders insist you purchase and show proof of home insurance before they’ll lend you the money to buy a house, which is often the single large financial investment most of us will ever make.
 
Having home insurance offers valuable peace of mind. Most basic policies cover damage to your property that’s the result of severe weather like wind, rain and hail. That includes the types of damage sustained during the May 21 storm: damage from felled trees, blown out windows and roof damage.
 
What’s covered
 
Here are some examples of what is and isn’t covered by most policies:  
 

 
Optional coverage
 
Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is covered by all home insurance policies, but damage might not be covered when freezing causes the escape of water. If you purchased comprehensive or all perils coverage, damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is typically covered. This coverage isn’t mandatory, so check your policy. 
 
For many years, home insurance policies in Canada didn’t cover loss or damage caused by overland flooding, which occurs when bodies of fresh water, such as rivers or dams, overflow onto dry land. That’s no longer the case. Many insurers now offer overland flood coverage for most homes across the country. The coverage is optional and based on risk and is commonly combined with sewer backup coverage, which is also optional.
 
Making a claim
 
After a storm, assess your property. Check your roof for missing shingles, for example, to prevent future water damage. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC; www.ibc.ca), the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers, offers these tips for starting the claims process:
 
Once you’ve reported a loss, your insurance company will assign a claims adjustor to investigate the circumstances of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes and ask questions.
 
Before filing a claim, assess the damage and decide if it’s more than your deductible and more than future increases in your home insurance. The typical home insurance deductible is $1,000 and once you make a claim, your rates can increase 10 to 15 per cent each year for three years.
 
Be prepared
 
Flood, wildfire, heat, wind and hail events are growing in frequency and severity, according to the IBC, which offers A-Guide-to-Emergency-Preparation.pdf (ibc.ca). The following are among the tips the federal government offers in preparation for and during severe storms:
 

The King Team is experienced in everything you need to know and do to find the perfect home. We encourage you to take the necessary steps to protect your well-earned investment and safety. Please remember, emergencies can happen at any time and without warning. With a little preparation, you can respond quickly to help yourself and others.