With warmer than normal temperatures being experienced across parts of Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is sharing tips to help Ontarians mitigate risk of damage to their property due to a winter thaw.
“With a warm-weather system quickly moving into Ontario this week, especially through the northern regions of the province, there is potential for significant snowmelt, ice jams and flooding,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Ontario and Atlantic, IBC. “It is important that property owners and renters take necessary precautions and protect their properties to minimize potential damage. By following a few simple steps, residents can better protect their families, homes and businesses.”
IBC’s Top 10 Tips to Prepare for a Mid-Winter Thaw
Keep all of your basement floor drains clear.
Make sure downspouts are clear of debris and that they direct water away from your home to help prevent ice-damming on roofs and basement flooding.
Move valuable items out of your basement to higher levels in your home.
Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family and assemble, or top-up, disaster safety kits for your home, car and office.
Prepare for power outages. Have flashlights and portable lighting ready. When using candles, always be mindful of fire hazards.
If flooding is imminent, and it is safe to do so, shut off electricity to the areas of the home that may be affected, and use sandbags or install flood shields or built-up barriers to stop water from entering through basement windows and doors.
Have someone check your property if you are away.
Charge electronics and have backup power sources available.
If you need to drive, clear all of the snow and ice from your vehicle before you start out. Drive according to the conditions and do not drive over flooded roads.
If you have a detailed home inventory, check that it is up to date.
Rest Easier. Know What’s Covered.
The frequency and severity of storms are increasing across Canada. 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.
Overland flood damage, which occurs when bodies of water such as rivers overflow onto dry land, is only covered if you have purchased specific, optional overland flood coverage. However, if you live in a known flood plain, these coverages may not be available.
Ice damming can occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day and then refreezes when temperatures drop overnight. Coverage for ice damming is most often an optional coverage. Speak to your insurance representative if you are concerned about such loss or damage.
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 a 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.
Canadians Need Flood Protection
Flooding is Canada’s greatest climate threat and puts millions of people at risk each year. The federal government committed to the National Flood Insurance Program in last year’s federal budget. However, progress on the program has stalled, leaving too many Canadians vulnerable to the financially devastating consequences of flooding.
By funding the National Flood Insurance Program, the federal government can help protect those whose homes are at greatest risk of flooding. The solution is available, and insurers are ready to set up, scale and deliver a cost-neutral program for affordable flood insurance.
For more information on the property and casualty insurance industry’s national flood insurance program proposal, visit FundFloodInsurance.ca.
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 ONCIC@ibc.ca.