Ontario storm insurance claims could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts will be needed following the weekend storm that brought death and destruction in Ontario and Quebec, but early estimates are substantial.
“We don’t have a damage estimate yet, but within the last hour disaster has been declared from an insurance perspective,” said Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer relations and l industry at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), at CTV. Toronto News Wednesday.
The high winds that have downed trees and power lines will lead to major claims and insurance companies say they are trying to process them as quickly as possible, but there are also expected to be hidden damages or minor claims that some owners will pay for themselves.
In Ottawa, trees snapped and crashed into the roof of Al Rhoades’ home and he said he only recently contacted his insurance company.
“I don’t know what order things are going to be. I’m waiting for a trimmer, a crane and a catering company,” he said.
In Uxbridge, it may take even longer to get the community back to what it was before it was hit by high winds.
IBC said what’s important for those affected by the storm is knowing that wind damage is covered by most policies.
“Wind damage is covered by the typical home insurance policy and we know it was a tornado that touched down in Uxbridge that would fall under the peril of the wind,” Thomas said.
The insurance industry believes there will be a mix in the severity of claims – everything from major damage to homes and property, to spoiled food, missing shingles or damaged patio furniture.
If you file a claim, you will be required to pay your deductible and this will be counted as a claim on your insurance policy.
“The moment you subtract your deductible and the no-claims discount, you may find that it’s not worth making a claim, but that’s a personal decision and everyone’s financial situation is different,” said Thomas.
It’s best to take photos and videos of the damage, try to avoid further damage by boarding up windows or sealing leaks, and keep receipts and documentation. You should also get repair estimates if needed and contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
“The claims adjusters will answer you. They work a lot,” Thomas said.
If you have to leave your home, you can also be reimbursed for hotel stays, meals and other expenses.
This can also be a good time to check your home insurance coverage and you can do this through your provider or you can also check with BAC. You can call or email them about any wind or other insurance related issues.