Hail season has started: Are you prepared?

EDMONTON, June 2, 2014 /CNW/ - The beginning of June marks the beginning of hail season, which generally runs until September in Alberta and the Prairie provinces. Severe storms with hail, lightning, strong winds and heavy rain are unpredictable and can strike quickly with devastating results. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds residents to be aware and take action to prepare for potentially damaging storms.

Car owners and homeowners should check with their insurance providers before a severe storm strikes to ensure that their policies are up to date and serve their particular needs.

"It's a fact that the frequency, severity and cost of severe weather are on the rise all across Canada," says Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western and Pacific. "We're certainly seeing this in Alberta and the Prairie provinces where homes are being damaged more frequently by hail, heavy rainfall and strong winds, which makes it critical for people to know how to protect themselves and their property," he adds.

According to Mr. Adams, hailstorms have had a serious impact in Alberta, in particular, because of its geography and weather patterns. In 2012, severe storms in the province resulted in more than $700 million in insured losses. In 2011, storms and hail accounted for another $380 million in insured losses. Severe storms with crop-damaging hail have also had a significant impact in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Are you covered?

Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage.

  • Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered under most home insurance policies. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and contents from water entering through openings caused by wind or hail. Obviously, pre-existing damage is not covered.
  • Damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered if you have purchased comprehensive or all perils auto insurance. This coverage isn't mandatory, so check your policy.
  • Damage to mobile homes or trailers from hail or wind may be covered. Policy wordings vary so it's best to check with your insurance representative.

Tips for starting the claims process

  • Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you've been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you're entitled to and for what period of time.
  • Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and replacement values. Talk to your insurance representative if anything is unclear.

If you need help getting in touch with your insurer, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-877-772-6378 (in Alberta) or 1-877-772-3777 (in Saskatchewan and Manitoba) or visit www.ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has been working with governments across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the P&C insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes and levies to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC's website at ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Steve Kee, Director, Media & Digital Communications, Insurance Bureau of Canada, 416-362-2031 ext. 4387, skee@ibc.ca; Daniel McIntyre, Intern, Media Relations, Insurance Bureau of Canada, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312; dmcintyre@ibc.ca; Ellen Woodger, Communications Consultant, Insurance Bureau of Canada, 416-483-2358, Ellen.woodger@sympatico.ca

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