Tips and advice for homeowners and families in the wake of heavy snow in parts of Atlantic Canada

HALIFAX, Feb. 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Atlantic Canadians are slowly recovering from a second day of snow-filled driveways, roads and parking lots. The forecast indicates that the end is not yet in sight. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is providing tips and advice to those who are digging out and cleaning up after the recent storms.

"Snowstorms across the region are continuing to cause headaches, road closures and delays. In some parts of New Brunswick, the accumulation of snow has caused a state of emergency. We understand the toll that these events can have on homeowners and families and we're here to help," said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC. "If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact your insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre."

Are you covered?

  • Damage to homes caused by snow, hail or wind is typically covered by home insurance. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage to your home and its contents when water or snow enters through openings suddenly caused by high winds or flying debris.
  • Damage to mobile homes from wind may be covered. Policy wordings vary, so it's best to check with your insurance representative.
  • Damage to vehicles from ice, wind or water is usually covered if you have comprehensive or all perils coverage auto insurance. This coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy.
  • Overland flooding is not generally covered in Canada. Water damage caused by sewer backup may be covered if add-on coverage was purchased.
  • Water damage caused by an accumulation of ice or snow on a roof is only covered if specific coverage has been purchased.
  • Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by most residential policies. However, damage may not be covered when the escape of water is caused by freezing, while you are away from the premises for a prolonged period of time, and have not made arrangements for someone to check the premises in your absence  . Check with your insurance representative for the specific requirements and conditions in your policy.
  • In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to live in their homes because of insured damage are entitled to additional living expenses. Ask your insurance representative for more information.
  • Frozen food spoilage resulting from power interruptions may be covered. Check your policy to see if you're covered, and whether a deductible applies.

Tips for outside your home

  • Keep your sidewalk and the front stairs of your house clear of snow and ice to prevent falls and injuries.
  • Keep snow and ice clear of gas or propane meters, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  • Frozen pipes can break at their weakest point. To prevent freezing, fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • If safe to do so, clear snow from your roof to avoid potential collapse.
  • If you need to drive, make sure all snow and ice has been  cleared from your vehicle before you start out and watch for downed power lines.

Starting the process when you need to make a claim:

  • Call your insurance representative. Be as detailed as possible when providing information. If you need help getting in touch with your insurer or have further questions, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228 (1-844-227-5422 ext. 228).
  • 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 incurred additional living expenses if youhave been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you're entitled to recover and for what period of time.
  • Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and exclusions. Talk to your insurance representative if anything is unclear. 

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.  

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2-ASK-IBC ext. 228.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Celyeste Power, Manager, Media Relations, 416-362-2031 ext. 4312 (office), 647-384-9872 (after hours), cpower@ibc.ca

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