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Weather in Ontario can be unpredictable, with different seasons bringing storms, heavy snowfall or other severe weather.

As a homeowner, it is important to understand if your home insurance policy covers weather damage and its limitations. Home insurance policies typically cover weather-related damage, such as wind damage or hail damage. However, that is not always the case. In this article, we explore the question: Does home insurance cover weather damage? And we dig into which kinds of weather damage your home policy likely covers.

There may be some exceptions depending on the specifics of your policy. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company to see what is and is not covered under your home insurance policy.

Did You Know: Most of Canada’s weather-related losses come from floods, hail and winter storms, most often in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

Types Of Weather Damage Covered

Most standard home insurance policies in Ontario include coverage for typical storms that occur throughout the year. You will most likely find coverage for windstorms, hail, heavy snow and ice damage, and lightning strikes.

Wind Storms

When wind causes destruction to a home during a storm, we consider this wind damage. Wind storms commonly cause damage to roofs, windows, and surrounding trees. Your homeowner policy will often cover wind damage minus your deductible.

If you live in an area prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, or hailstorms, it’s critical to understand your coverage for weather damages due to wind. You may find that if you live in an area prone to wind damage, such as a high-tornado risk region, your insurance premiums will be higher than in areas with a lower likelihood of wind storms.

Winter Storm and Hail Damage

Did You Know: Most home insurance policies will cover hail damage minus your deductible.

In Ontario, depending on the region, we typically see winters with cold weather and a large accumulation of snow and ice on roofs and decks. This accumulation of snow and ice mixed with below-freezing temperatures often results in a large number of claims in the winter months.

If you live in an area that experiences tough winters and significant accumulation of snow and ice on roofs and decks, be sure to ask your insurance provider about coverage for the potential damage that it might cause. The good news is most home insurance policies offer coverage; however, it is essential that you review your policy with your provider.

Wildfire Damage

One of the trickiest things to get insurance coverage for is wildfires, especially if you live in a place where wildfires are common. If you do live in an area prone to wildfires, you should consider what your home insurance covers if there is a wildfire. Some things to think about are whether your policy covers home damage, personal belonging damage or additional living expenses if you are displaced.

Be sure to ask your insurance provider about the wildfire coverage available to you. Additional steps to take if you live in an area prone to wildfires is to prepare your family for the possibility of a wildfire. Once you understand your coverage, you should create a plan in case you need to evacuate your home.

Did You Know: Losses in the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, which was the largest insured disaster in Canadian history, totalled $4 billion. However, domestic insurers were able to cope because global reinsurers outside Canada took a share of the damages.

Flood Damage

Floods are becoming a bigger problem, and most Canadians do not have adequate flood insurance to protect them in the case of flood damage. Unfortunately, flood damage is not typically covered under standard home policies. However, with the increasing frequency of floods, most insurance providers offer specialized flood insurance. If you live in a high-risk area for flooding, it is highly recommended that you speak to a provider about adding additional coverage for flood damage.

Some of the ways that flooding can happen include:

Did You Know: You may be covered in certain cases if water enters your home due to an insured risk. For example, say a tree falls on your roof during a rainstorm, which leads to water damage inside your home.

Earthquake Damage

Earthquakes are not as common in Ontario; however, there are some regions that may be at risk. Home insurance policies typically won’t cover damage from earthquakes. However, some provinces will offer separate, specialty policies that will cover earthquake damage. This additional coverage is designed to protect you against damages caused by ground shaking, which can lead to significant structural damage and even the total loss of a home.

Did You Know: The cost of your earthquake premium will depend on factors such as:

Generally, the deductible for earthquake insurance is much higher than for other types of insurance. Homeowners in Ontario should assess their risk of earthquake damage based on their location and consider the potential costs of repair or rebuilding in the event of an earthquake. For some, it is unlikely they will ever need earthquake insurance. However, if you determine that it is right for you, consult with an insurance professional who can provide you with more information about your options.

What Weather Damages Aren’t Covered By Insurance In Canada?

Most of the common weather-related risks to homes in Canada are covered by home insurance policies. However, there are weather events that are less likely to cause significant damage. Generally, home insurance policies don’t cover unexpected events, such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and sewer backup. If, after assessing your risk for additional weather damage, you determine that you need coverage, you can speak with your insurance provider about options for additional coverage.

It is important to remember that home insurance policies do not cover expected and predictable events, such as roof shingles that have worn down over time and need replacing.

Preventative Tips for Homeowners

Prevention is key for homeowners to avoid potential insurance claims. Regular maintenance, like cleaning gutters and inspecting roofs, can prevent or reduce weather-related damage.

Steps you can take to prevent home insurance claims:

  1. Regular home inspections and maintenance: Keeping track of areas for repair can prevent larger problems. It is important to regularly inspect your roof, clean gutters and check the foundation of your home.
  2. Weatherproofing your home: sealing gaps in windows and doors can prevent water damage and additionally improve your energy efficiency.
  3. Exterior adjustments: Maintaining your home includes keeping trees trimmed and cleaning out gutters.
  4. Installing protective features: depending on your location, you may benefit from adding a sump pump to remove water accumulation or storm shutters to protect windows.
  5. Preparing in advance: You can implement temporary preventative measures. For example, if you live in flood-prone areas, you can add temporary flood barriers to protect your property from water damage when there are storm warnings.

Contact BKIFG About Weather Damage

Don’t get caught without the weather damage insurance you need.
Call BKIFG today to get a quote or to inquire about your current policy and what’s covered.

Did You Know: The damage wrought by weather is on the rise in Canada, and the cost of that damage is rising at a remarkable rate.