Alberta has once again been hit by severe weather this week. People in Red Deer are cleaning up after Tuesday’s aggressive windstorm, which took down power and left the town in an official local state of emergency.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has now issued a release informing residents what they need to do in terms of insurance claims, while offering other pieces of advice. During Tuesday’s windstorm, multiple homes were damaged when wind gusts of more than 100 km/h ripped through Red Deer.
Located in Central Alberta, Red Deer has a population of around 100,000. Mayor Tara Veer confirmed damage to infrastructure when trees took down power lines. IBC is offering locals in the town important insurance advice in the aftermath of the storms.
"The first priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and your family," said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western, IBC. "Insurers across Alberta want to remind consumers that when severe weather occurs, it is important to understand their insurance policies and to know what is covered. If damage occurs, policyholders should contact their insurance representatives if they have any questions."
Are you covered?
- Damage to homes caused by wind is typically covered by home insurance. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and its contents when water or snow enters through openings suddenly caused by high winds or flying debris.
- Damage to mobile homes or trailers from wind may be covered.
- Damage to vehicles from wind is usually covered if you have comprehensive or all perils coverage auto insurance. This coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy.
- Food spoilage resulting from power interruptions may be covered. Check your policy to see if you're covered, and whether a deductible applies.
- In certain circumstances, homeowners, who are unable to live in their homes because of insured damage may be able to have their additional living expenses covered. Ask your insurance representative for more information.
- Keep in mind that policies vary, so it's best to check with your own insurance representative regarding all of the above.
Starting the claims process:
- When safe to do so, assess and document damage and take photos.
- Call your insurance representative and/or company to report damage or losses.
- Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
- If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ASK-IBC (1-844-227-5422).
For Albertans who continue to be under a severe weather watch or warning, it is important to prepare before the bad weather strikes. Here are some tips to help residents get ready:
- Create an emergency preparedness plan with your family.
- Assemble a supply kit with provisions for at least 72 hours.
- Anchor outdoor items like garbage cans and patio furniture.
- Prepare a detailed home inventory.
- Pay attention to local authorities and monitor weather developments regularly.
"Monitor local conditions, listen to local authorities, and have a plan in place to keep you, your home, and your family safe," added Adams. "If you have any questions, contact your insurance representative or call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1?844?2ask-IBC. We're here to help."