IBC: Insurance advice for New Brunswickers after the Tornado

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Fredericton, N.B. (Jul. 23, 2013) – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers advice to residents of the Grand Lake region, and all New Brunswickers, who may have insurance questions as they clean-up the extensive damage caused by a tornado that struck the area on Saturday.

“This unusually severe storm in New Brunswick is another reminder that weather patterns have changed. Events that used to happen every 40 years can now be expected to happen every six,” says Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic Region, IBC.

The tornado left a path of uprooted trees, damaged buildings, and displaced vehicles from Whites Cove and Cambridge Narrows to Juniper; popular cottage and agricultural areas of the province.

“It is absolutely critical to know how you can protect your family and your home, and what your insurance policy covers in the event of an emergency,” says Dean, who encourages residents with insurance questions to call IBC’s Atlantic Consumer Information Centre.

Starting the process

  • Call your insurance representative and/or company. Most insurers have 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information. If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Line at 1-800-377-6378.
  • Prevent further damage. If it’s safe to do so, start cleaning up and drying things out, and protect your property from further damage (e.g., board up holes and move items out of wet basements). Be sure to wear protective clothing during the cleanup such as sturdy boots, gloves, a face mask, etc. Speak with your insurance representative before making any non-urgent repairs.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you’re entitled to and for what period of time.
  • Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and replacement values. Talk to your insurance representative if anything is unclear.

Are you covered?

  • Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you understand your coverage. Damage to homes caused by wind or hail is generally covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and its contents when water enters through openings caused by wind or hail.
  • Damage to cars from wind, hail or water is typically covered if you have comprehensive or all-perils car insurance. This coverage is not mandatory so check your policy.
  • In general, flooding is not covered by home insurance. Damage caused by water is generally only covered in certain specific circumstances (for example, if the damage is caused by a sudden and accidental release from a water main or inside plumbing).
  • Water damage from a sewer backup is only covered if you have sewer backup coverage.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to live in their homes because of insured damage are entitled to additional living expenses. Ask your insurance representative for more information.

Consumers with general questions can contact IBC’s Atlantic Consumer Info Centre at 1-800-565-7189 x 228.

For more information on tornado preparedness, see IBC’s brochure, “Getting Ready for Tornadoes(PDF), or watch the video below.

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 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion. To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada