Home insurance protects you from having to pay out a huge amount at once, often at a very difficult and emotional time. Insuring your house can give you peace of mind. With severe weather on the rise, confirming accurate replacement value and keeping a current home inventory are important steps. Torrential rains, tornadoes, windstorms, hailstorms: sooner or later, everyone experiences one or more of these. Contrary to what many people think, most of these events, commonly known as “acts of God”, can be insured. The climate is changing. Insurance companies are seeing the effects of climate change.
Owning a home may be your largest single financial investment so it’s important to protect your property and contents against unforeseen risks with home insurance.
Most weather events are covered
The majority of severe weather events are covered under home insurance policies, and some of the others can be added by endorsement. Automobile insurance policies also cover most natural disasters as long as the insured selects the physical damage option (Section B).
- Insured Perils
Basic home insurance policies have coverage for loss or damage caused by lightning, hail, wind and forest fires. For example, if a windstorm damages the exterior of your residence, your insurance will pay for the damage, up to the amount of your policy limit.
- Perils covered by endorsement
Certain other natural disasters can be covered by adding endorsements to the insurance policy. These include earthquakes and floods.
- Perils not covered
There is no protection for damage resulting from a landslide.
Natural disasters have become a major concern for insurance companies. They conduct studies to determine the probability of occurrence and the average cost of the damage they will cause. Risk sharing based on these probabilities is a key concept that is the foundation of both your home insurance and your car insurance5.
Wind Happens. Know What Your Insurance Covers
Your insurance representative can confirm the coverage in your current policy. Typically, you can expect the following:
- Damage to homes caused by hail, wind, snow or rain is usually covered. This includes:
- Losses caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees.
- Losses to your home and contents from water or snow entering through sudden openings caused by wind or hail.
- Damage to vehicles from wind, hail, ice or water is usually covered if comprehensive or all-perils auto insurance coverage has been purchased. These coverages are not mandatory, so check your policy.
- Damage to mobile homes or trailers from wind may be covered. As policy wordings vary, it’s best to ask your insurance representative for more information.
- In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to live in their homes because of insurable damage may be entitled to additional living expenses.
Tips for Starting the Claim Process
- Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
- List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
- Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time.
Ask your broker
To learn more about this topic, or if you have any questions, call your broker–your best source for information and advice.
Insurance Bureau of Canada
5 http://www.chad.ca/fr/consommateurs/bien-sassurer/349/sans-risque-pas-dassurance-de-dommages (French only)