Are you prepared for hail season?

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IBC reaches out to insurance consumers with tips and information

Edmonton, AB (June 2, 2015) – The beginning of June marks the beginning of hail season, which generally runs until September in the Prairie provinces. Severe storms with hail, lightning, strong winds and heavy rain are unpredictable and can strike quickly with devastating results. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds residents to be aware and take action to prepare for potentially damaging storms.

Car owners and homeowners should check with their insurance providers before a severe storm strikes to ensure that their policies are up to date and serve their particular needs.

“It’s a fact that the frequency, severity and cost of severe weather are on the rise all across Canada,” says Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western and Pacific. “Once again during last year’s hail season, many residents saw the damaging effects of hail – especially in Southern Alberta, where payouts following an August 6-7 hail storm reached approximately $560 million,” said Adams.

According to Mr. Adams, hailstorms have had a serious impact in Alberta, in particular, because of its geography and weather patterns. In 2012, severe storms in the province resulted in more than $700 million in insured losses. In 2011, storms and hail accounted for another $380 million in insured losses. Severe storms with crop-damaging hail have also had a significant impact in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“We’re certainly seeing this in Alberta and the Prairie provinces where homes are being damaged more frequently by hail, heavy rainfall and strong winds,” added Adams. “Given that severe weather events have been on the rise in Western Canada and across the country, it is vital for people to take steps to protect their families, properties and vehicles.”

Insurance Coverage

Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage.

  • Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered under most home insurance policies. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and contents from water entering through openings caused by wind or hail. Obviously, pre-existing damage is not covered.
  • Damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered if you have purchased comprehensive or all perils auto insurance. This coverage isn’t mandatory, so check your policy.
  • Damage to mobile homes or trailers from hail or wind may be covered. Policy wordings vary so it’s best to check with your insurance representative.

IBC tips for starting the claims process

  • Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • 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 and coverage limits. Talk to your insurance representative if anything is unclear.

“Be sure to speak with your insurance representative before a severe storm strikes to make sure your policies are up to date and serve your particular needs,” added Adams.

For further information, or if you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-877-772-6378 (in Alberta) or 1-877-772-3777 (in Saskatchewan and Manitoba) or visit www.ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

IBC is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.

For more information, visit www.ibc.ca.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada