IBC: Hurricane Irene: What homeowners can do to prepare

HALIFAX, Aug. 26, 2011 – As Hurricane Irene threatens Atlantic Canada, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) urges consumers to stay safe and offers tips on how to protect themselves and their property.

“First and foremost, people should make sure that they and their families are safe, and that they have a 72 hour emergency safety kit at the ready,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC.

Homeowners should check that door frames are securely anchored to the wall framing, and that exterior doors are bolted or otherwise securely shut. They should also cover window glass with protective film to prevent shattering, and lock the windows securely. If flooding is a possibility, move any valuables out of the basement. Outside, it is a good idea to remove all outdoor furniture, garbage cans and hanging or potted plants, and trim back trees and shrubs.

“Homeowners should also record the contact information for their insurance representative and keep it in a safe place,” added Adams. “If they need to make a claim, knowing who to contact can make the process move along more quickly.”

Hurricanes and tropical storms are not new to insurers in Atlantic Canada. Only last year, Hurricane Igor caused over $65 million in insured damage in Newfoundland and Labrador. And in 2009, tropical storm Danny caused upward of $14 million in damage throughout Atlantic Canada.

The good news is that most homeowner and automobile policies will cover damage caused by windstorms, including things like broken windows. Sewer backup may be covered by special policy coverage, but water damage caused by overland flooding is usually not covered by insurance.

Consumers who have questions about their insurance coverage are urged to speak to their insurance representative or contact IBC’s Atlantic Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-565-7189 x. 227 or 228.

For more information about preparing for a disaster, including what to include in a 72 hour emergency kit, visit IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca/en/Natural_Disasters/Disaster_Tips.asp.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion. www.ibc.ca