To help, the Insurance Bureau of Canada is reaching out with advice and information for affected residents.
“First and foremost, everyone’s priority must be their personal safety and the safety of loved ones and neighbours,” said Bill Adams, vice-president, Western and Pacific, IBC. “Residents with insurance questions are encouraged to contact their insurance representative or call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. We’re here to help.”
Pictures and video coming out of Chestermere during the last couple of days were the stuff of Christmas cards, after a quick-moving rainstorm dropped about 225 millimetres in a couple of hours on Sunday, unleashing flash floods that affected about 300 homes, prompting city officials to seek financial support from the province.
Hail damage, and claims stemming from the damage, are nothing new to those living in the province.
“The storm in Airdrie last year was $568-million, certainly one of the largest hail events on record,” Heather Mack, director, government relations, IBC, told News Talk 770.
Sunday’s hail damage was compounded on Tuesday, when an early afternoon thunderstorm brought more isolated showers to the water-logged city, still recovering from the deluge two days prior.
For brokers dealing with claims, it is a good time to re-emphasize the coverages that are available on various policies with their clients – especially on overland flood insurance, given the anger felt by some Albertans living in High River, whose claims for basement flooding from back in 2013 were denied.
Which makes it all the more important for brokers to remind clients of what is – and what isn’t – covered in their home insurance policies, says Adams:
Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered under home insurance policies.
This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and contents from water entering through openings caused by wind or hail. Obviously, pre-existing damage is not covered.
Damage to vehicles caused by wind or hail is usually covered if you have purchased comprehensive or all perils auto insurance.
Damage as a result of sewer backup may be covered by home insurance if the coverage was purchased as an add-on to the home insurance policy. Varying amounts of sewer backup coverage can be purchased. Check with your insurance representative to see if you have this type of coverage and, if so, how much coverage you purchased.
Not all home insurance policies in Canada cover overland flooding and only some offer coverage for ground water seepage.
Overland flooding usually occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, lakes, dams and other watercourses, overflow onto dry land and cause damage.
Damage to vehicles caused by water is usually covered if comprehensive or all perils auto insurance has been purchased. This coverage isn’t mandatory, so check your policy or talk to your insurance representative.
Adams recommends that brokers should share these steps with clients to facilitate the insurance claims process:
- Assess and document potential damage. Taking photos can be helpful;
- Call your insurance representative to report damages or losses; and
- Keep good notes and be as detailed as possible when providing information. Be sure to keep all receipts related to cleanup.