Homeowners question their insurance coverage after coastline quakes hit B.C.
BCAA offers advice when considering earthquake insurance
BURNABY, B.C., Nov. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - According to the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA), recent earthquake activity along coastal B.C. has many homeowners and renters raising questions about their home insurance coverage. After the magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck near Haida Gwaii, followed by a 6.2 magnitude quake southwest of Prince Rupert, BCAA insurance advisers began receiving calls from customers wanting to review their insurance coverage and checking to see if they're covered for earthquake-related damage or loss.
"Homeowners are doing the right thing—contacting their insurance advisor to ask questions, review their policies and ensure they have adequate coverage," says BCAA's Director of Insurance Underwriting, Patricia Stirling.
BCAA insurance advisors have reported the most common questions asked after earthquakes occur are the following:
- What am I currently covered for?
- What is earthquake insurance and what does it cover?
- How much does earthquake insurance cost?
According to BCAA, the cost of earthquake insurance will vary depending on several factors such as the value of your home or possessions, where you live, what deductible you choose and which insurance company you deal with. The cost can range from $50 to over $1,000.
"It's also important to understand that some natural disasters are not covered with a basic home insurance policy," explains Stirling. "Sit down with your insurance advisor and discuss important details about your existing policy, such as what you are and are not covered for, and your deductible. Then discuss what earthquake insurance will and won't cover to help you determine if you need to close any gaps in your home insurance coverage."
BCAA suggests homeowners and renters keep the following in mind when it comes to earthquake insurance:
Understand the risk of earthquakes. While any natural disaster is difficult to predict, the Ministry of
Public Safety and Solicitor General's office reports small to medium
size earthquakes are common in B.C. and more than 1,200 are recorded
Decide what you want covered. You have the option to cover just your building or both your building
and the contents within your home.
- Cost of additional living expenses. If you have purchased the additional coverage to protect you in the event of an earthquake, you will also have coverage for any additional living expenses in case it's unsafe to stay in your home. Out-of-pocket expenses could be costly if you have to be away from home for a long period of time, or if hotels are in limited supply.
Review your deductible. An earthquake insurance deductible is usually a percentage of the
amount of your coverage and will be higher than a standard policy
Mild earthquakes can result in costly damage. Even a slight shift in the foundation of only an inch or two could
result in repairs that cost more than your earthquake insurance
Replacement costs can add up. Paying to replace one or two of your belongings may be manageable. But
collectively, replacing the contents of your home or apartment can
become expensive and end up being more than the deductible.
- Don't go through it alone. In the event of an earthquake it may be difficult to arrange a hotel or secure trades people. Your insurance company should be reachable day or night and can assist by calling in professionals.
BCAA also advises homeowners and renters to find out what you can expect from your insurance provider when having to make a claim. While it's impossible to predict or prevent a natural disaster, there are some fundamental things your insurance company should do. Visit bcaa.com/naturaldisasters to learn more about the assistance you should receive from your insurance provider.
In the event of a tsunami, the Provincial Emergency Program is available to provide assistance as insurance companies generally do not provide coverage for tsunamis. Visit their website for more information pep.bc.ca
BCAA also encourages homeowners and families to develop an emergency preparedness plan which includes an emergency kit, taking safety precautions around your home and practicing emergency drills. For more information on earthquake preparedness visit publicsafety.gc.ca.
BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one-in-four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of award-winning home, auto and travel insurance products and services, and roadside assistance. Members can also benefit from CAA Dollar rewards, savings on BCAA insurance products and exclusive offers at Show Your Card & Save locations throughout the province. BCAA has a proud history of serving British Columbians for over 105 years, over $400 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 800 employees. And, BCAA has been named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international human resource consultants Aon Hewitt five times in the past six years. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit www.BCAARoadSafety.com.
SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile AssociationFor further information:
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BCAA Public Affairs and Media Specialist