Many B.C. residents unsure on wildfire coverage

Published: March 27, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Wildfire is a serious problem in British Columbia. The province experienced a record wildfire season last year and climate change is expected to keep the fire frequency ticking upwards. So, you would think British Columbia residents would understand the value of fire protection on their home insurance policy.

However, a survey has found as many as 25% B.C residents do not know if their home insurance policy protects them against wildfire and other natural disaster events. A report published by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General found less than half of respondents bought insurance for the specific hazards that concern them, such as wildfires and earthquakes.

Now the public safety ministry in the province is calling on insurance providers to fill the knowledge gap by educating customers.

48% of Metro Vancouver residents and 52% of Vancouver Island residents hold earthquake insurance, the study (conducted by Ipsos) found. The survey was carried out amongst 1,200 people in British Columbia. 

less than half of Southern Interior (45%) and Northern (39%) residents “believe they are covered for wildfires.”

The study found four in ten have earthquake (42%) and flood (37%) coverage across the province. "The actual rates of having insurance for these emergencies may be higher than reported,” the study’s authors qualified, due to the fact around a quarter of respondents were unsure on their level of coverage.

“Most respondents with insurance indicated that they understand their coverage ‘somewhat well,’” the ministry says in its release. “However, many admitted their knowledge is not extensive – demonstrating the need to improve consumer education of the insurance protection that may be available to residents in the province.”