Know what’s covered: IBC offers tips to Atlantic Canadians digging out after major blizzard

FEBRUARY 14, 2017 (HALIFAX) Following the significant  heavy snowfall that just hit the region, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is providing information and advice to Atlantic Canadians as they begin to dig out of this large blizzard.

"Major winter storms can be difficult for families and communities and they can wreak havoc on homes and properties," said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. "Knowing what your insurance policy covers when bad weather strikes can make a world of a difference. If you have insurance questions, contact your insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre. We're here to help."

Are you covered?

  • Damage to homes caused by snow, hail or wind is typically covered by home insurance. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and its contents when water or snow enters through openings suddenly caused by high winds or flying debris.
  • Damage to mobile homes or trailers from wind may be covered. Policy wordings vary, so it's best to check with your insurance representative.
  • Damage to vehicles from ice, wind or water is usually covered if you have comprehensive or all perils coverage auto insurance. This coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy.
  • Overland flooding is not generally covered by standard home insurance policies. Specific overland flooding coverage is available from several insurers. Water damage caused by sewer backup may be covered if included in your policy, or if add-on coverage was purchased – you need to check to ensure you have that coverage.
  • Water damage caused by an accumulation of ice or snow on a roof is only covered if specific coverage has been purchased.
  • Damage caused by sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by most residential policies, the cost of repairing the pipes is not. However, water damage may not be covered if it is caused by the freezing of pipes. Check with your insurance representative for the requirements and conditions in your policy.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners, who are unable to live in their homes because of insured damage, are entitled to the recovery of additional living expenses. Ask your insurance representative for more information.
  • Food spoilage resulting from power interruptions may be covered. Check your policy to see if you're covered, and whether a deductible applies.

Tips for outside your home

  • Keep your sidewalk and the front stairs of your house clear of snow and ice to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Keep snow and ice clear of gas or propane meters, exhaust vents and basement window wells.
  • Frozen pipes can break at their weakest point. To prevent freezing, fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • If safe to do so, clear snow from your roof to avoid potential collapse, or hire a professional. 
  • If you need to drive, make sure all snow and ice are cleared from your vehicle before you start out and watch for downed power lines.  Drive according to the conditions.

Starting the claims process

  • When safe to do so, assess and document potential damage. Take photographs and keep all receipts.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damage or losses.
  • Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228 (1-844-227-5422 ext. 228) or 902-240-6931 which will be operating 24/7 over the coming days.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.  

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228.