Wildfires in British Columbia: Insurance advice and information

VANCOUVER, Aug. 17, 2015 /CNW/ - Officials indicate that wildfires in Rocky Creek and surrounding communities in British Columbia have led to the destruction of at least 30 homes, forced hundreds of people out of their communities and burned thousands of hectares of land. As fires continue to burn, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with information for those affected.

"Our thoughts are with all those whose lives have been disrupted by the wildfires, especially those who have lost their homes. Everyone's first priority must be personal safety and the safety of loved ones," said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western and Pacific, IBC. "We strongly urge everyone in the province to closely monitor updates from local officials for up-to-date information with respect to fire bans, advisories and warnings in these very dry conditions." 

What's Covered

Most home and business insurance policies cover fire damage. Insurers are at the ready to assist. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order given by authorities, most home and tenant's insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time.

Claims Process

When safe to do so, take these steps:

  • Assess and document damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items.

    o   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.

    o   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.

Next Steps

  • Once you have reported a loss, a claims adjuster will be assigned. It may take some time given the number of people affected by the wildfires, but you will be contacted.
  • A claims adjuster will contact you to investigate the circumstance of the loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the next steps. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Take notes of the conversations.
  • Your insurance company will ask you to complete a "proof of loss" form, to list what property and/or items have been damaged or destroyed, with the corresponding value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the proof of loss are true. Ask your insurance representative or claims adjuster if something is unclear.

"While safety remains the first priority, insurers are ready to assist. If you have questions, contact your insurance representative or call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1‑844‑227‑5422). We're here to help." added Adams.

As the high risk of wildfire in British Columbia is ongoing, IBC reminds residents to take extra precautions. For wildfire safety and prevention tips, click here or visit www.ibc.ca.

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_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

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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