IBC Cautions Ontario Residents: Take Steps to Prepare for Winter Storm

​December 22, 2022 (TORONTO) – Environment Canada has issued winter storm warnings and watches in advance of a system that will arrive in Ontario today and continue with hazardous conditions through to Saturday. The storm is expected to begin with rain, followed by plummeting temperatures and a flash freeze. This will be followed by heavy snow, strong winds and possible power outages. To prepare for the winter storm, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is sharing tips to help keep your family and property safe.

"As we've seen many times before, winter storms can cause extensive damage," said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC. "Taking steps to prepare for a severe weather event is not only important for your personal safety, but for your financial security. IBC wants to ensure residents across Ontario are fully prepared for the potential hazards associated with this storm."

IBC’s Top 10 Tips to Prepare for Severe Weather

  1. Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family.
  2. Move valuable items out of your basement to higher levels in your home.
  3. Assemble disaster safety kits for your home, car and office.
  4. If you have a detailed home inventory, check that it is up to date.
  5. Prepare for power outages. Have flashlights and portable lighting ready. When using candles, always be mindful of fire hazards. 
  6. Protect or move property that might be damaged by flying debris. Park vehicles in a garage, if possible.
  7. Have someone check your property if you are away.
  8. Make sure downspouts are clear of debris and that they direct water away from your home to prevent ice-damming and basement flooding.
  9. Charge electronics and have backup power sources available.
  10. If you need to drive, clear all of the snow and ice from your vehicle before you start out. Drive according to the conditions.

Safety Tips

Only if safe to do so:

  • Keep your sidewalk and your home’s front stairs clear of snow and ice to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Clear snow from your roof and deck to avoid potential collapse, or hire a professional to clear the snow. 
  • Clear snow and ice well away from natural gas or propane meters, exhaust vents and basement window wells.
  • Clear snow away from all windows.
  • To prevent exposed pipes from freezing, fit them with insulation sleeves or wrapping. Frozen pipes can break at their weakest point.

Rest Easier. Know What’s Covered. 

The frequency and severity of storms is increasing across Canada, and it’s important to speak with your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage. 

  • Water damage in a basement due to sewer backup is only covered if you have purchased specific, optional sewer backup coverage.
  • Damage to homes caused by wind is usually covered. This coverage includes damage caused by flying debris, falling branches or trees, and water entering through openings created by the storm. 
  • If you have purchased comprehensive or all perils auto insurance, damage to vehicles from wind is usually covered. This coverage is not mandatory, so check your policy. 
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due to insured damage are entitled to additional living expenses.


Anyone with questions about their individual policy should contact their insurance representative.

For general insurance information, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422) or visit IBC.ca/disaster.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up the vast majority 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.

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