B.C. climate change could mean higher premiums

Published: August 4, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Jeremy Gorzelak



Scientists are concerned about the rate of climate change in B.C.—and while the environmental concerns of climate change are fairly well-documented, the financial concerns aren’t.

A recent article published by CBC News addresses the new norm in B.C. weather patterns, discussing four changes to the weather patterns in B.C. Two of those impacts—longer-lasting forest fires and melting glaciers—could have a considerable impact on our wallets as well as our environment.

B.C has 17,000 glaciers, and they’re all melting, according to Thomas Pederson, executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

There is an obvious risk of overland flooding due to increased sea and lake levels in the area when these glaciers melt, and as a result, more damage to homes; however, there are currently no options in B.C. for flood protection.

Fortunately, this type of overland flooding is predictable, as individuals who reside in such areas are aware of the risks and have plenty of time to take precautionary measures to avoid damage to their homes.

However, the heavy rainfall that is slowly becoming the new norm—due to higher levels of water in the area—isn’t predictable. According to Pederson, climate models indicate there will be more precipitation in the winter—but, instead of more snow, it will come as rain.

More frequent and severe rainfall year round brings an increased risk of sewer back up within the home. Sewer back up occurs when heavy rainfall overloads the road sewers, causing water to enter the home through the sewage plumbing—typically not a pleasant sight.

As insurance companies do offer coverage for sewer back up (unlike overland water), individuals should make sure they have sufficient limits to ensure that if the backup does occur, the coverage will include all contents.

Secondly, Pederson mentions that wild fires will begin burning earlier this year, and continue much longer into the fall season.

A 2014 report from B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch warns that the province will face more fires similar to the devastating Okanagan Mountain Park fire in 2003. This fire resulted in the destruction of 260,000 hectares of forest, along with more than 300 homes.  Such fires pose a massive threat, on not only the safety of citizens, but also on all of their assets.

Homes, cars, and cottages will all be at an increased risk to loss by fire. Fortunately, insurance was originally created to insure against the threat of fire, so this type of wildfire loss would be covered on every standard insurance policy. However, the negative effects of such a loss range beyond the stress of losing personal affects. If a large loss like this occurs, the result is typically a surge in insurance premium.

Wherever you live, make sure you’re getting the best coverage, at the lowest rate—get your online home insurance quote now!