Does it seem like the world is experiencing more extreme weather conditions than ever before? You’re not alone. A new report explains how climate change — particularly rising global temperatures — is driving the both the intensity and the frequency of weather-related disasters.
Here in Canada, severe weather caused more than three billion dollars’ worth of insured damage in 2022. Last year ranks as the third most expensive year for insured losses in Canadian history according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. It’s a reminder that extreme weather is becoming more common and the risk to every corner of the globe is growing.
In a world increasingly impacted by climate change, how can you ensure that your home and car insurance protects you against extreme weather events? And how do we build resilience against changing weather patterns, now and into the future?
Prioritizing emergency preparedness and reviewing your natural disaster insurance coverage is more important than ever and taking preventative action can help you protect you, your loved ones, and your most valuable assets.
Who needs insurance? Everyone.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, everyone should be protected against life’s unexpected turns. While we can’t predict exactly when severe weather will strike, being prepared can effectively safeguard against loss and damages.
If you experience a natural disaster, the right home, car and pet insurance can be your number one financial support following an emergency or unexpected event.
What to know about severe weather and your insurance.
The majority of extreme weather events are covered by home insurance policies. Standard policies cover lightning, wind, hail, and wildfires. While certain other “acts of God ” like earthquakes and overland flooding (which occurs when bodies of freshwater, such as rivers or dams, overflows onto dry land) may be added to your existing ￼policy.
This is where you’ll want to do your homework. Read your policy closely to understand the terms, conditions and limits. Not all insurance policies are the same, so it’s critical you understand your current coverage and the exclusions. If you’re unsure, talk to your insurance representative and they’ll help answer your questions.
Make informed decisions about your coverage options.
Every home, community, and region is different. Do you know what the most common natural disasters for your area are? Adding enhanced optional coverage that accounts for your specific environment ensures your plan is enough to cover the risk to your home and vehicle.
For example, wildfires are important to prepare for in BC’s interior region. Choosing additional coverage like mass evacuation coverage pays for expenses incurred when an evacuation order is placed for your neighbourhood or community; and purchasing comprehensive coverage for your car protects you against damage resulting from fire and smoke as well as water damage caused by firefighters who need to hose your car to stop a fire.
If you have pets, contemplating pet insurance may be a good option. As a Vancity member, you’ll receive a 7% discount on accident and illness pet insurance, giving you the peace of mind that your pet’s care and coverage are in place.
Helpful tips if you experience loss or damage.
If you experience damages or losses from severe weather, knowing how to respond and file an insurance claim can ease a stressful situation.
- Keep your insurance broker’s contact information easily accessible. When you have questions about your insurance coverage or need to file a claim, they are your best source for information and advice. Remember, your insurance representative is your ally and is there to help you.
- Do you have a home inventory? Make it a habit to take inventory of your home and belongings annually. Photo documentation is helpful in making a disaster insurance claim, as it streamlines the claims process and helps you rebuild your life as soon as possible following an unexpected event.
- Check your home’s replacement cost every year, especially after making improvements to your home. Should you ever need to rebuild, your policy will cover your home’s true replacement cost.
As extreme weather events become increasingly common across the country each year, it’s important to prepare for weather emergencies and take steps to stay protected. Stay informed about what you can do to protect your home, property, and loved ones by consulting with your insurance provider. Additional resources can be found here Severe weather safety (ibc.ca)
While Mother Nature can be unpredictable, ensuring you have the appropriate home and car insurance coverage offers peace of mind in the face of potentially significant losses. There has never been a better time to take preventative action and protect ourselves against the impacts of climate change than now.
When building your emergency plan, you might also be interested:
- Make your emergency plan, including a communication plan.
- More information about car insurance coverage.
- British Columbia’s FireSmart Education Program which help and engage youth with knowledge on safety, fire science, mitigation and prevention.
- Ensure your fire-alarms are working properly per the Provincial Fire-Safety Campaign.
Located in a city renowned for its proximity to the ocean, mountains, and rivers, Squamish Insurance not only understands nature and the great outdoors but they are experts in providing innovative insurance solutions. As a division of Vancity, they’ll work with you to understand your specific needs and then recommend the best, customized coverage.