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Hurricane and Tropical Storm Protection

Heavy rains and strong winds can cause widespread destruction during a hurricane or tropical storm. Be prepared and know what your insurance covers.

Be prepared and stay safe

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It's important to understand the natural hazards in your area so you can plan ahead for worst-case scenarios. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm:

  • get your emergency kit and plans – be ready to follow emergency evacuation procedures

  • move valuable items in your basement to higher levels in your home

  • protect or move property that could be damaged by flying debris

  • have someone check your property if you are away

  • make sure downspouts are clear of debris and positioned to direct water away from your home

  • secure any loose patio furniture and barbecues

  • don’t operate generators or barbecues anywhere indoors

  • if possible, protect and/or store your boat

  • have a professional remove any at-risk tree branches or other items that could cause damage to your property or that of others (when possible)

  • check that your detailed home inventory is current

  • charge handheld electronics and have back-up power sources available

  • avoid candles and use battery-operated flashlights instead

Know what’s covered

If you experience property damage, talk to your insurance representative as soon as possible and be assured that damage to homes caused by a windstorm and rain is usually covered, such as:

  • losses caused by flying debris or fallen trees and/or branches

  • losses to your home and its contents from water entering through openings suddenly caused by wind.

In addition:

  • damage to vehicles from wind and water may be covered if you’ve purchased comprehensive coverage as part of your policy (this is optional coverage so speak with your insurance representative to understand your specific level/type of coverage)

  • water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup will most likely be covered if you’ve purchased optional sewer backup coverage

  • food spoilage and damage to a refrigerator and/or freezer due to an accidental power interruption may be covered – note that your fridge, freezer and their contents are typically insured for a specific amount listed in your policy

  • in certain circumstances, homeowners who can’t stay in their home because of insured damage may be entitled to additional living expenses

Check with your insurance representative to find out what your policy covers.

Storm surge damage

Here’s what’s important to know:

  • Home insurance and business insurance policies generally do not cover damage caused by coastal flooding and/or storm surge which typically occur during hurricanes and tropical storms.

  • Automobile insurance does cover damage caused by storm surge and wind if you purchased optional comprehensive or all perils coverage.

Why storm surge coverage is currently unavailable

With a fast-changing climate leading to rising sea levels and eroding coastlines, the risk modeling required by insurers to develop prices for coastal flood coverage is highly complex. Without accurate risk modeling, the risk is deemed too high to make the coverage affordable and/or available.

The P&C insurance industry is eager to continue working with government to create a national public-private insurance program for overland flooding that offers protection to all Canadians. As part of this program, insurers are signaling that flood mapping/risk modelling, along with physical mitigation, improved building codes and land-use planning, are all necessary parts of Canada’s response to flood risk and our larger National Adaptation Strategy.

A public-private insurance program is part of this Strategy and will help close the insurance protection gap for the approximately 1.54 million homes in Canada that are at such high risk of flooding that private insurance for these homeowners is neither affordable nor available.

Starting a claim

  • Call your insurance representative or company – know that most insurers have a 24-hour claims service

  • Be as detailed as possible when collecting providing information

    • list all damaged or destroyed items

    • if possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties

    • take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard

  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you've been displaced

  • Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time