08 Jun When nature lets loose, where can you turn?
Once a disaster is brought under control, the question quickly arises: where can victims turn for help to get back to their lives? Their insurance company, their savings, the government? As you read this, you’re probably wondering: “Am I covered in case of disaster and, if so, just how much protection do I have?”
Here are some answers to those questions.
Fire protection is included in your home insurance policy. Whether a fire breaks out in your kitchen or a candle flame ignites your curtains, you’re covered. As for forest fires, they are treated like any other type of fire and, if it causes damage to your home, it is also covered by your insurance policy.
In Quebec, earthquakes are rarely strong enough to cause damage, but earthquake insurance can be added to your home insurance policy. This type of protection can prove useful for people who live in areas prone to earthquakes.
The wind is normally a harmless natural element, but it can cause a lot of damage when it’s coupled with a storm. If a violent storm were to tear off a part of your roof and destroy your shed, would you be covered? Yes, your home insurance policy covers damage caused by wind. So if a windstorm rips away a piece of your roof and carries it into your neighbour’s yard, your insurer will cover the costs of any necessary repairs.*
Here in Quebec, we’re more used to seeing tornadoes in disaster films than in close proximity to our homes. But while they are a rare event, some areas have been affected by tornadoes in recent years. The damage they cause is covered by your home insurance policy.*
Damage caused by ice storms is generally covered by your home insurance policy. For example, if you have the “all risk” protection, you’re covered if your roof collapses under the weight of ice or if an ice-laden tree branch breaks off and falls on your home causing damage. However, the felled plants, shrubs and trees in your yard and garden are not covered by your policy.
The hailstones that sometimes fall in thunderstorms are actually balls of ice that can reach several centimetres in diameter. There’s no doubt that they can quickly cause some real damage to your home. Your home insurance policy includes protection against hailstorms. For example, if hailstones damage the exterior siding or the roof of your home, the cost of repair or replacement would be covered by your home insurance.*
Public authorities are responsible for compensating victims of floods caused by a body of water that overflows its banks. In Quebec, private insurers do not offer protection against damage caused by floodwaters. If you live near a body of water, you can contact your municipality for information about flood contingency plans.
When heavy rainstorms occur, as happened in Toronto in July 2013, they can cause various types of damage, such as sewer back-up and water infiltration around doors and windows. You can obtain protection against this kind of damage by adding specific endorsements to your home insurance policy.
Now that you have a little more information about insurance against natural disasters, remember that it’s best to carry the coverage that suits your particular needs. You shouldn’t be over insured: that will only needlessly inflate the cost of your premium. What you need to sleep soundly is protection tailored to your needs.
*Trees, shrubs and plants are only covered for losses due to certain perils. For more information, contact belairdirect‘s certified insurance agents.