How Insurance Can Help You When Winter Damage Strikes
3 Jan, 2018

How Insurance Can Help You When Winter Damage Strikes

Ontario can see some pretty harsh winters. From the heavy winds, to the constant barrage of snow, to the below freezing temperatures, every day can bring damage to your house, car or business. If you do not have extensive coverage or any insurance at all, you could be in for a rude awakening if something unexpected happens this winter. Whether it’s a power loss that lasts for days or a heavy snowfall that has made a hole in your home’s roof, here’s how insurance can help you when winter damage strikes.

The Environment Is In Charge

Mother nature doesn’t care who you are and if you live in Ontario, she’s going to get you. Your insurance policy should be designed to protect you against most winter environmental damage. If your policy does not feature protection from winter damage, you need to talk to your broker, or work with a new one. Any good insurance broker who operates in Ontario, whether it’s Oshawa, Kingston or Toronto, will make sure you get a comprehensive package that covers winter damage in its many forms.

Water And Snow Damage

Most cities and townships have snow removal. This means that the local government sends trucks out to get the snow off the streets. Usually, the snow gets piled up at the edge of the sidewalk. When the weather starts to warm up, or if there are a few days when the temperature climbs above zero, that snow will melt and create a mini-swamp. If the snowbank is far away from your home, you don’t have to worry. But, if the snowbank is in your yard or up against your house, you could see it seeping into your basement. Your insurance should cover water damage if the city caused it by someone else piling snow up on your property. On the other hand, if you’re making snowbanks and piling them against your home, your insurance will not cover the damage if the water leaks into your home.

After a heavy snowfall, you could find yourself with a leak on your roof. The weight of the snow can cause a hole or in severe cases, your roof can collapse. Make sure your insurance policy covers this otherwise you will be left with a hefty bill and a broken roof.

Pipes can also freeze and burst in the winter. Your policy may cover this type of damage. Nonetheless, you should check your pipes throughout the winter, especially if you live in an older home, and get them fixed at the first sign of a leak or freeze.

Wind And Flood Damage

Tornadoes aren’t something we see regularly in Ontario, and it’s for this reason they are not covered by insurance. Wind damage is hard to predict and unless there’s a huge storm, you may be lucky enough never to see any. If you do live in a high wind area, talk to your broker about coverage.

Flooding is also not generally covered by your typical insurance package. In this case, flooding refers to severe flooding and not just damage from a melting snowbank. Only if you live near a body of water that is prone to flooding will your broker will suggest adding additional coverage.

When The Lights Go Out

Winter can literally leave us in the dark. Power failures can occur when it’s cold out and sometimes they can last for days. Generators are helpful in these situations but most people don’t have one because they don’t lose power all that often. However, if the power is out for long periods of time and the food in your fridge goes bad, you have no heat or hot water and your home is basically unlivable, your insurance may cover your temporary relocation.

What About The Cottage?

If you’re lucky enough to have a place to get away, you should think about cottage insurance. For example, if you only use your cottage in the summer, what do you do if it gets hit by a winter storm? Cottage insurance will protect you from winter damage when you’re not using the property because it’s cold out. If you do use your cottage in the winter, cottage insurance isn’t the only thing you need. You should ask your broker about empty home coverage. Some insurance companies will provide additional coverage for your home if it’s going to left empty for a long period of time. ‘Snowbirds’ who flee the Canadian winters for the beaches of Florida, should also get coverage for their home as it will be left empty for months at a time.

If you don’t have a comprehensive insurance package to cover winter damage, it’s time to get one. You don’t want to be left living in a home with a broken roof and no power. Please contact us for more information.

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