Insurers are here to help as snow continues to inundate Atlantic Canada

​MARCH 19, 2015 (HALIFAX) – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reassuring consumers throughout Atlantic Canada that home, auto and business insurers are on the ground responding to claims for storm-related damage caused by the major snowfall in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The continued snowfall is taking a significant toll on families across the region," said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. "Insurers are working around the clock to respond to consumer inquiries and begin the claims process. We want to help people get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible."  

If consumers have questions, they are encouraged to contact their insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228 (1-844-227-5422 ext. 228), which will be operating 24/7 over the coming days. IBC can provide information about what is typically covered under home and auto insurance policies, and what coverage may be subject to deductibles or limits.  

Are you covered?

  • Water damage as a result of ice build-up on roofs and buildings may be covered if you have purchased specific coverage. 
  • Roof collapse due to snow load is typically covered under home insurance policies. Removing snow or ice from roofs could help avoid collapse but this should only be done if it is safe to do so or by a professional.
  • Damage to homes caused by snow, hail or wind is typically covered by home insurance. Coverage typically 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 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 in Canada. Water damage caused by sewer backup may be covered if you purchased add-on coverage.
  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by most residential policies. However, damage may not be covered when the escape of water is caused by freezing in certain circumstances.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners unable to live in their homes because of insured damage are entitled to additional living expenses.  
  • 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.
  • Check property for obstructions that could prevent melting snow from draining away from your house properly.
  • Clear a path for water to drain away from your house.
  • Keep snow and ice clear of gas or propane meters, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  • Check your sump pump to make sure it is working properly.
  • Remember to watch for snow and ice that may fall from overhead. 
  • Frozen pipes can break at their weakest point. To prevent freezing, fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • 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.

Starting the claims process

  • When safe to do so, assess and document potential damages. Taking photos is a great idea.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damages or losses.
  • Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • Insurers are currently dealing with a significant number of claims, so be patient. They will return your call as quickly as possible.
  • If you have further questions, contact your insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228 (1-844-227-5422 ext. 228) which will operate 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 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 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.