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Mother Nature Isn't Always the Best House Guest

The Big One is coming. For years, earthquake experts have been warning British Columbians, “It’s not if it happens, but when.” For many other BCAA Members, every year runs the risk of forest fires destroying their homes and property; yet thinking about natural disasters feels unnatural. Often we prepare ourselves for more everyday problems, such as fender benders, theft or health insurance for dental appointments but we all know how important our homes are to us. Functionally they provide shelter but emotionally it’s where your family comes together every day. That’s why everyone needs to be prepared for a natural disaster.

Understanding and updating your home insurance policy is crucial. In fact, feel free to dig out your policy now and follow along with this article. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you come back. Got it? Now let’s take a look at some tips:

  • Know Your Policy

    Don’t wait until the last minute, you will not be able to update it if your home is considered at immediate risk.

 

  • Keep Your Home Insurance Policy Current

    Update it regularly and include everything, especially if you’ve done renovations or made additions to your home.

 

  • Represent the True Value of Your Property and its Contents

    As tempting as it may be to under-value items to avoid paying a higher premium, you could be putting yourself at risk. Insurance advisors rely on homeowners to provide complete details of their home and belongings, misrepresenting materials and value may leave you without sufficient protection in the event of a claim.

 

  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost

    Make sure you have Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage on your home which ensures it will be rebuilt, even if the cost exceeds your policy limit. Please note, this coverage may not extend to landscaping and other buildings on your property; to be sure you’re 100% covered for replacement cost, talk with your insurance advisor.

 

  • Keep a Record

    Remembering all of your items after a home loss is impossible. Keep a record instead. Take photos or videos of all the items in your home and keep your receipts too. These records should be kept in a safe, alternative location from your home, such as your office or safety deposit box.

 

  • Buying a New Home?

    To be sure you’re covered on possession date, transfer your current policy or get new coverage up to 90 days in advance of the possession date. Banks and lenders require proof that you can afford home insurance before lending money for a mortgage.

  

  • Be Firesmart

    Consider “Firesmart” building materials– especially for your roof if you’re planning renovations or upgrades. Having non-combustible roof on your home – such as slate, metal, clay or tile – can save on your insurance premium.

 

  • Talk to a Pro

    While family and friends’ advice is okay, a professional insurance advisor can answer any questions or concerns.

WILDFIRE FAQs

Some Members have asked specific questions regarding wildfires. Here are the top five but if you have more questions, don’t hesitate too call or email us.


Am I covered for a loss resulting from a wildfire?

With BCAA, fire damage is covered under most home insurance policies, this includes damage from forest fires.

 


Am I covered for mass evacuation?

In the event of a wildfire, most policies will cover you for mass evacuation when the government, police, fire department or civil authority have ordered you to leave. Your home insurance policy should cover any necessary and reasonable living expenses you incur up to your policy limits, and subject to the policy deductible. When in doubt, keep a copy of all hotel and meal receipts to give to your provider.

 


Are my belongings insured while I’m away from my home?

Most insurance policies will cover the belongings you take with you, just as they would if they were left in your home.

 


Is smoke damage from the fires covered? Is my home covered from damage caused by fire retardant foams used by the fire department?

When it comes to smoke damage caused from fires, most home insurance policies have you covered. Additionally, most policies cover any damage to your home or personal property including the red fire retardant foam or other substances used by fire department.

 


How do I file a claim?

If you have home insurance with us, call the 24-hour emergency claims number at: 1.888.268.2222 or visit a local BCAA Service Location to speak to an advisor.