As first responders, Canadian military members and volunteers continuing to clear roads and care for displaced people, phones started ringing at insurance companies in the east.
“Insurers are often second responders when it comes to large-scale events like this,” said Amanda Dean, Atlantic vice president for Insurance Canada (IBC).
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Dean said it will be weeks before the full extent and cost of Fiona’s damage is known from her home in Halifax, which has largely avoided the storm’s damage, which remained without power on Monday. like hundreds of thousands of houses in the east.
But while even a ballpark figure is still days away, she says there will be huge insurance payouts due to the “spreading” impact of the storm – damage has already been recorded in Nova Scotia , New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and eastern parts of Quebec.
“I think we can expect some impressive numbers from the event,” she told Global News.
What storm damage is covered?
Don’t bother your policies for “hurricane” or “tropical storm” coverage — these are not actual categories, says Kelsey Hawke, a Canadian insurance expert. existence in the Canadian insurance sector.
Conventional home insurance policies will cover wind damage, Hawke says, including debris such as fallen trees and torn roofs.
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However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to water damage.
Overland flooding – refers to damage caused by water level rise from a nearby river or other source of accumulated storm water – and a level of drainage redundancy is often optional. Check your policy if you have these additional claims to see if you are covered for this type of damage.
IBC notes in a Posts around the storm that some homes built in a known floodplain may not be eligible for land flood protection.
But Hawke and Dean both note that another type of damage seen in viral videos over the weekend is likely not mentioned.
“The effects of ‘spring tides’, or damage caused by the effects of salt water, are not generally offered as an insurance option in Canada,” says Hawke.
“So tidal waves, any kind of water that breaks the shore and damages the house in that way, involving salt water, is generally excluded from a home insurance policy in Canada,” she said.
One notable exemption is that for auto policies with comprehensive or comprehensive supplemental coverage, damage from saltwater or high tides is likely to be included.
But Dean said that some people who watched the meter-high waves crash ashore and send some or all of their homes into the ocean potentially being left in a wobbly state.
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“I know we have certainly seen some devastating images and videos and our thoughts are with those who have been affected. But that’s usually not covered under a family insurance policy,” she said.
However, those displaced by the effects of a hurricane or an evacuation order may be covered for additional living expenses and may be reimbursed for accommodation pending repairs to their home – landlord All relocation related receipts should be kept for these requests.
Some politicians have also pledged financial support to those affected by Fiona.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the province would provide financial support to those who suffered material damage but said it was important now that everyone was safe.
“I still want to reassure the Quebeers who live there: we will make sure there is a program to make a difference, for everything that cannot be covered by conventional insurance,” said Legault.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who plan to visit the affected areas this week, said on Monday that his government would work as a “partner” with provinces and cities to increase financial support but did not provide specifics.
“When we want to rebuild, when we want… to build stronger infrastructure, as we seek to help families who may not have or have only partial coverage, the governments of All countries will step up and the federal government will be there,” he said.
How long will it take to process my request?
Homeowners hoping for quick payouts and settlements after the storm may be disappointed.
Dean said insurers are expecting “large call volumes” in the coming days, but encouraged residents to be patient and try again if they have a busy signal.
While general advice is to call as soon as possible and include a photo or itemized inventory to document the damage, Dean says there is no set deadline by which a claim must be filed and some Provinces in the Atlantic may need more time to assess their situation.
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“If someone is very overwhelmed at the moment and just calling is a bit overwhelming, just a few days after the event, by all means, take your time, take a breath, and then call back when you have it. possible,” she said.
“The sooner you call, the sooner your claim can begin and the sooner a adjuster can be assigned.”
Hawke said that when insurers try to weed out claims from a major disruption like Fiona, they will likely prioritize settling customers who have suffered the most.
Will my premium increase because of Fiona?
Just as some insurers can be busier than others in Fiona’s assessment, experts say changes to your coverage in the months following a hurricane will Varies depending on your provider.
Hawke notes that anyone with a forgiving policy on claims in their insurance plan will see their rate protected after making the initial claim.
Dean says an adverse weather event “doesn’t necessarily have a serious impact on premiums.”
But she notes that the more claims that come from a jurisdiction, the more it will ultimately cost for that kind of coverage.
“At a certain point, premiums have to go up because claims are increasing. So that remains to be considered as we work on this process,” she said.
The Fiona is just the latest to bring the cost of insurance for weather-related incidents into the spotlight.
Dean said home insurance claims have skyrocketed “especially due to extreme weather” over the past few decades, reaching about $2.2 billion last year. A decade ago, IBC says average weather-related claims are just over $600 million.
“Our industry is working to keep an eye on those trends,” says Dean.
– with files from Global News’s Aaron D’Andrea, Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press
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