People in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and across the GTA and southern Ontario who had their homes and cars damaged by Saturday’s rare and powerful storm have likely already begun contacting their insurance providers. As long as their coverage is up to date, they shouldn’t have any issues with damages being covered by their insurance, says Matt Hands, director of insurance at Ontario-based mortgage broker Ratehub.ca.
“Generally, you can expect your home insurance to cover damage to your property that’s caused by severe weather like wind, rain and hail,” Hands said in an email to insauga.com. “This includes situations that have been reported from this weekend’s storm: damage from trees that have fallen on your property, blown out windows, roof damage, etc.”
However, there are some instances where not all expenses are covered by insurance, according to Ratehub.ca.
“For example, if a tree falls on your property, you are only covered for any damage it causes to your insured items and are not covered to have the tree itself removed,” says Hands. “Another example is if the power is out, you might be wondering if you can get a hotel through your insurance, but in order to access coverage for living expenses, there must be damage to your house.”
Following are several examples of situations that likely occurred in many areas during Saturday’s storm:
- a neighbour’s tree falls on my property and causes damage to my property–damage to your property is covered by your insurance, not your neighbour’s insurance
- a tree falls on my car–this coverage will come through your auto insurance policy, but you must have comprehensive coverage
- damage to fence–if your fence is shared with a neighbour, your policy will cover half and their policy will cover half. This means you both pay the deductible as well
Hands also offers advice on taking stock of the damage before contacting the insurance company.
“It’s important to assess the damage. Is it more than your deductible? Is it more than future increases in your home insurance? Is it something you can fix yourself? The typical home insurance deductible is $1,000 and once you make a claim, your insurance rates can go up by 10-15 per cent for three years.”
In terms of preventive measures, Ratehub.ca urges people to understand their insurance policies (what’s covered and not covered) as well as:
- if possible, park away from trees, street lights and power lines and secure outdoor items
- after a storm, assess your property. For example, check your roof for missing shingles to prevent future water damage