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Braving the weather: insurance for homes and cars

Severe weather damage to a home or car could result in high repair costs. Here’s a look at some home and car insurance coverages which could help you save on repair costs if severe weather strikes. We also go through what information to provide if you need to report a claim. 

Home insurance and severe weather

According to a 2017 report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada, catastrophic events in 2016 (flooding, hail, windstorms, fire, etc.) resulted in approximately $5.03 billion in insured losses. An “insured loss” refers to damage caused to something which you pay insurance coverage for – it could include your home or car.

To protect your home, here are some insurance coverages which could help. Also, it’s important to double check with your BrokerLink broker about any policy limits, other coverages and deductibles.

  • Policy limits let you know the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a specific coverage.
  • There could be other coverages you might be eligible for, which you don’t know about.
  • In the event of a claim, a deductible is the amount of money the policy holder is responsible to pay prior to the insurance company paying any expenses.

Coverages to ask your broker about

Property coverage

While it depends on the policy, property coverage could help with repair costs associated with fire, wind and hail damage. It also provides peace of mind to a homeowner knowing if there’s damage to the physical structure of the home, there is coverage to protect it. A BrokerLink broker can help you understand what is and isn’t covered.

Water coverage

There are a few ways your home could be damaged by water. Overland water damage and sewer backup are two primary examples. There are insurance coverages for each of these types of water damage. A BrokerLink broker can help determine if you’re eligible for the coverage.

Overland water damage

Overland water damage occurs when water suddenly enters a home due to a severe weather event, such as heavy rainfall or sudden melting of ice or snow. If your home gets damaged because of this, overland water damage coverage could help with repair costs.

Sewer backup

Sewer backup is caused when large amounts of water (i.e. from melted snow) overflows your property drainage system. As a result, waste water can enter a home – no one wants this. It’s a health hazard and debris could get into your house. If you have a sewer backup, sewer backup coverage could help with offset the costs associated with fixing the damage.

Your BrokerLink broker can also give you tips about other water coverages which might help you.

You have to make a claim: what’s next?

First things first; don’t panic. If it’s an emergency situation, call 911.

It’s important to contact your insurance company right away and give them the following information:

1. the date of the loss
2. the type of damage
3. where the damage occurred

When you’ve given them this information, they’ll send out an insurance adjustor. This person takes a look at the damage to your home. They’ll help you go through options and assess what can be repaired.

What preventative measures can you take?

No one can predict the future. However, there are some easy things you can do to prepare for weather damage:

1. Confirm the type of coverage you have with your BrokerLink broker.

2. Regularly maintain your home. These are easy things you can do, such as checking if your windows are properly sealed. If you need to do anything where a ladder is involved, like checking the roof, do it safely (we recommend contacting professionals, such as a roofing company). To learn some other home-maintenance tips, check out our Home in 360 virtual tour.

Cars and weather damage

Winters in Canada are just one example of how severe weather can damage your car. Think about those times where you’ve driven in icy road conditions, or, during a blizzard. You could be rear-ended if another car skids on the ice. We go over insurance which can help you protect the outside of your car (the body of your car) and how endorsements could also help.

Protecting the outside of your car

Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage

If a car is damaged by fire, theft or vandalism, comprehensive coverage could help with repair costs. In addition to comprehensive coverage, collision coverage could also help if there’s damage to the outside of the car.

Additional coverage

Endorsements

An endorsement is additional coverage or protection which can be added to a policy. While dependent on the insurance policy, some endorsements can be added to provide rental coverage. Endorsements could also provide a replacement vehicle or give you money back for your car (a reimbursement), if it’s a write-off.

Ask your BrokerLink broker about endorsements which could help you.

As an example, if you had to take your car in for repair for hail damage, you could be without a car for a while. An endorsement could provide you with a rental car while you wait.

Time for a claim: what do you do?

The same goes for making a claim with your home – don’t panic. If the claim causes a life-threatening situation, call 911. If the claim is non-life threatening, call your insurance company directly to start the claim. Provide you insurance company with the following details:

1. the date, time and location of the loss
2. a description of what occurred – i.e. the type of damage and where it is on the vehicle.

If don’t know the name of your insurance company, your BrokerLink broker can help.

Steering away from surprises

We know it’s hard to expect the unexpected. However, similar to your home, there are some ways you can protect your car:

1. Always have your insurance card (the pink card) and the name of your insurance company with you at all times (keeping it in a wallet is one way to do this).
2. Have an accident checklist in your car, which outlines steps you need to take. As an example, here’s our accident checklist.

We’re here to help

When it comes to severe weather, preparation is key, which includes having the right insurance. Contact your BrokerLink broker to understand what’s included and excluded within your coverage. It’s also an opportunity to learn ways to improve your coverage. We’re here to help you weather through unexpected surprises.