CAA Manitoba Spring 2019 - Page 23

Insurance IQ Under the Weather With severe weather on the rise, make sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage By RoBin SchRoffel Golf Ball-Size hail , gale-force winds, extreme heat and cold, flash floods and powerful tornados: Manitoba residents are no strangers to extreme weather. Unfortunately, climate change projec- tions indicate that things are likely to get worse. According to the provincial govern- ment, Manitoba will face earlier and more severe climate change than many other parts of the world—thanks to our geographic location. So, exactly what can we expect? Warmer and wetter winters, coupled with longer, hotter and drier summers. This, in turn, means we’ll probably encounter more aroUnd the hoUse how to mitigate damage from extreme weather events frequent severe weather events: heat waves, droughts, floods and intense winter storms. It’s a trend that CAA Manitoba’s Melanie McGimpsey says is already being reflected in property insurance. “Historically, insurance is based on fire, but it’s now becoming more weather- related—wind, water and hail damage,” says the property and casualty insur- ance supervisor. “Weather has made a huge impact on the trends of insurance over the past few years.” Each season brings risks for home- owners. Severe winter temperatures can freeze and burst pipes, especially in insurance policies aren’t meant for maintenance, so if your place is in poor shape to begin with, your claim could be denied. store irreplaceable items (photographs, documents) off basement floors and in sealed waterproof containers to avoid water damage. areas with older infrastructure. Alter- nating chills and thaws exacerbate ice damming—the process whereby a ridge of ice forms along the edge of a roof, preventing water from draining and potentially damaging a home’s roof, ceilings and walls. Spring tends to be a time of flooding and storms. Floods have long been part of local life, particularly along the Red and Assiniboine river basins. First Nations’ oral histories suggest major flooding as far back as 1776; 1826 data shows a flood that remains the Red River’s worst on record. More recently, flooding in 1950, 1997, 2006, 2009 and 2011 caused substantial damage to homes and infrastructure. Summer and fall typically bring tor- nadoes. In 2018, eight twisters touched down in Manitoba, including one rated EF-4, the second-highest severity clas- sification. In 2007, the community of Elie was hit by the most severe tornado in Canadian history, with winds reach- ing up to 510 kilometres per hour. Luckily, insurance can help protect homeowners from sudden and acciden- tal losses due to extreme weather. While coverage for damages from hail and wind comes standard in a homeown- er’s policy, protection for water damage does not. “In recent years, insurers have introduced optional coverages that pro- tect homeowners from overland flood- ing, groundwater and sewer backup,” says McGimpsey. (Rates are based on postal code and the chance of a loss happening in that area, so it’s not avail- able in all areas.) Service-line coverage is another product that protects home- owners when a pipe freezes and bursts after it leaves the home but before it crosses the property line. Whatever the weather, make sure you top up your insurance coverage to stay warm, dry and safe. invest in flood-security measures—a sump pump and mainline backwater valve—and keep them in good working order. regularly inspect roof shingles and foundation for cracks and damage. Water the foundation to prevent cracking during hot, dry summers. cAA MANITOBA SprINg 2019 23