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2024 Wildfire Season Hero image

2024 Wildfire Season

2024 Wildfire Season

In the unfortunate event your home, car or business is damaged as a result of a wildfire, here is some information to help you understand your insurance coverage and the various stages of the claims process. If you don't see the information you're looking for, contact Insurance Bureau of Canada's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

You can also direct questions to your IBC regional office: (Western, Pacific, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut) (Ontario) (Atlantic region)

Media Releases

Wildfire Insurance Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions

Business Specific FAQs

Insurance during wildfires

During major weather events, insurance companies may initiate temporary limitations on the sale of new policies in areas under imminent threat. Only those in areas that are under imminent threat are commonly subject to temporary restrictions or limitations on the sale of new coverage.

Consumers who want to change their coverage levels during such events may face difficulties. However, renewals of existing policies will continue to take place, regardless of the windstorm threat. Many policies include a ‘Declaration of Emergency Endorsement’, which can extend the expiration date of policies when an emergency is declared by government, and your insurer or insurance representative cannot provide your renewal. This ensures that the existing policy stays in force, typically for an additional 120 days. The purpose of insurance is to protect you from unforeseen events. It is important to have coverage year-round, and not wait for events to occur before trying to secure insurance protection for your home and property.

Some examples of the limitations/restrictions that may be put in place for areas facing a threat from a weather event include:

  • new policies

  • deductible changes

  • alterations to insured limits

  • major changes to existing policies

Since these restrictions are temporary, they do ease as the threat decreases.

Filing an insurance claim

Understanding how to file a claim before you need to can help to reduce the stress in the aftermath of damage or loss.

Home insurance claims

Auto insurance claims

Additional living expenses

Most personal property insurance policies (homeowner, condominium unit owner and tenant) cover the cost of alternate accommodations and living expenses for people whose home has become unliveable after an insured loss. There may also be limited coverage for mass evacuation under certain circumstances.

This is typically called Additional Living Expenses or ALE in an insurance policy. The categories of ALE claims include:

  • Prohibited access because a civil authority has ordered a mass evacuation. This coverage starts on the date of evacuation and typically expires after a specified number of days. Policyholders should check their own policies for limits.

  • Prohibited access as a direct result of damage to neighbouring premises. This covers a policyholder whose home may not have been damaged but who cannot return because of damage to homes nearby. Policyholders should check their policies or ask their insurance representative to confirm their limit. Insurers will review the duration of coverage on a case-by-case basis.

  • Damage to your home by an insured peril, for example fire, flood or related damage. This covers a policyholder whose home is unlivable because of damage by an insured peril. Typically this covers additional living expenses for a reasonable amount of time needed to repair or rebuild the home or until the policy limit is reached. In a flood situation, policyholders who have purchased optional sewer backup coverage or optional overland flood insurance would have this coverage. Always check with your insurance representative to understand the limits of your coverage.

Additional living expenses FAQs

Food spoilage

Your freezer and its contents may be covered for spoilage caused by an accidental power interruption. Typically, in this situation, your freezer and its contents are insured for a specific amount. Check your policy.

If possible, before disposing of food from your freezer, make a list and take photos of the contents for insurance purposes.

If you suspect your freezer is contaminated by food spoilage or other damage, speak to your insurer before discarding the appliance.

Landlord and Tenant issues and questions

As a general rule, the first course of action for both tenants and landlords is to talk to each other to resolve any issues they have and to keep everyone safe.

Choosing a contractor

Many insurers have established relationships with windstorm remediation contractors and can vouch for their reliability and quality of their work. Many insurers also guarantee the work of the service providers they recommend.

You are not obligated to use a company recommended by your insurer. You can use the service provider of your choice for the necessary repairs to your property. But before signing a contract, you should speak with your insurance adjuster to find out how much of the estimate your insurer will pay.

Ensure any contractor you hire is properly licensed and insured.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about contractors.

Insurance dispute resolution

If you have a complaint about your insurer or insurance professional, there are a number of actions you can take to be sure you’re heard and that your issue is resolved. Here are 4 steps to addressing an insurance dispute: