Severe rain, wind and hailstorms go together with the spring and summer months. Severe storms seem to be on the rise in Canada, with downpours causing floods and heavy winds toppling trees and power lines. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, severe weather events in 2021 caused $2.1 billion in insured damage. Many Canadians don’t know what their home and auto insurance covers after a storm hits. So, we’ve laid out some of the most common questions about coverage.
What does Home Insurance Cover?
Not all home insurance policies are created equal. It’s essential to check your policy and coverage limits. Your insurance agent can tell you what perils are covered and where you have any gaps.
Dwelling coverage is important as it helps to pay for repairs or damage (caused by a covered peril) to your home. Personal property coverage helps pay for destroyed belongings due to a covered risk. So, if a tree falls through your window and destroys your furniture, personal property coverage may help pay to repair or replace damaged items.
A home insurance policy typically covers losses or damage relating to the following:
- Flying debris
- Wind, hail, and tornadoes
- Water that enters through openings caused by wind or hail. However, you will likely need to purchase additional water damage insurance to cover sewer backup, overland flooding and seepage through walls or foundations.
- Siding and windows – windows are usually covered at replacement cost if they are damaged. Siding may be subject to depreciation not paid at replacement cost. Check your policy.
- Roofing – if a storm causes damage to your roof, you may have to pay the deductible cost when reporting a claim. Also, if your roof shows obvious pre-existing deterioration, your insurer will consider depreciation.
- Lightning – if lightning strikes your home or detached structures on your property like a shed, your policy may cover this destruction.
- Power surge – some policies provide coverage for power surges and outages resulting from a lightning strike, such as damaged electronics or appliances.
As with any coverage, limits will apply.
Does my home policy cover destruction to my fence or shed?
- Your home insurance policy may help cover damage to your fence. If you have Detached Private Structures Coverage, it could help repair your property’s fences, sheds, or a detached garage.
My power went out during the storm and hasn’t returned. Will my insurance policy cover the food in my refrigerator and freezer that have spoiled?
- Typically, in the event of a power outage, your insurance policy covers the contents up to a specified amount. Please check with your agent for what perils your policy covers and if it covers damage to spoiled food.
- Your freezer and their contents may be covered (up to a specified limit) for damage related to food spoilage caused by an accidental power interruption, or as the result of a covered peril like a tree falling on your home’s roof and severing your power line.
Will my home insurance cover damage in my yard?
- Your home insurance policy may help cover damage to your yard and landscaping, including trees, shrubs, and plants.
I’m a tenant. Who is responsible for covering damage from a storm?
- If you’re a tenant, in most cases, your landlord’s homeowner policy may pay for repairs to the unit caused by an insured peril.
- If your belongings are damaged, you are usually responsible for your belongings, but a tenant policy may help. Call your insurer to confirm.
How do I choose a contractor to complete repairs to my home?
- Ask your insurance company for recommendations, as many have relationships with contractors and can vouch for their reliability and the quality of their work. Many insurers also guarantee the work of the service providers they recommend. However, you are not obligated to use your insurer’s recommendation.
Is Your Auto Insurance in Overdrive When it Comes to Storms?
Storm-related damage to your vehicle is usually covered under Comprehensive Coverage, which is not mandatory. So, it’s essential to check with your insurer to see if this optional coverage is right for you. If you don’t have the coverage, all storm damage repair would have to be paid out-of-pocket.
Is Hail or Tornado Damage to my car covered by auto insurance?
- Yes. If you have Comprehensive Coverage, it will cover hail or tornado damage to your vehicle’s roof, windshield, and dents to your vehicle’s body.
Does my car insurance cover wind damage to my vehicle?
- Damage from high winds is typically covered under your auto policy under Comprehensive Coverage. This includes flying debris that causes damage to your vehicle, such as smashed windows, windshields, dents and more.
What if there is an extreme rainstorm or flood where the water enters my car, am I covered?
- Yes, you may be covered if you have Comprehensive Coverage or Specified Perils, or All Perils Cover, and damage ruins your car or possessions.
What if a tree falls on my car during a storm?
- If a storm causes a tree or branch to fall on your vehicle, damages may be covered by Comprehensive insurance. However, if the cost of repairs is higher than your car’s value, it may be written off by your insurance company, and you will be compensated for its actual cash value (or what the car is worth now).
What Should I Have Ready When Making a Claim?
When it is safe to do so, take these steps to begin the insurance claims process, and always check your policy limits:
- Assess any damage and assemble proofs of purchase, photos, and receipts, if possible.
- Keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
- Keep notes and receipts related to cleanup and be as detailed as possible when documenting damage.
Not all insurance providers have coverage options for every kind of natural disaster, and some insurers may only offer extra insurance coverage in specific locations. That’s why reviewing your home and auto policies with your insurance agent is important.
If you’re an Allstate customer, in an impacted area, our Claims team is ready to support you. Reach them at 1-800-561-7222. You can also register for myAllstate and report a claim online.