Square One explains what home insurance coverage is available to Calgary residents affected by the power outage

October 12, 2014

(Vancouver, BC): As a result of the recent electrical fire in downtown Calgary, thousands of homeowners and renters will be without power for up to a week. Square One explains to those affected by the power outage what home insurance coverage may be available to them.

“First, it is important to look at the type of home insurance protection you have,” states Daniel Mirkovic, president of Square One. “Named perils policies only protect against the types of loss or damage specifically described in the policy wordings. All-risk or comprehensive policies, on the other hand, protect against all types of loss or damage except for what’s specifically excluded.”

The most common risks associated with power outages, and the coverage available under most comprehensive home insurance policies, are:

  • Water damage from frozen pipes: Fortunately, temperatures in Calgary are not forecasted to drop below 0 degrees Celsius over the next week. So, there is very little risk that pipes will freeze and burst. But if they do, the resulting water damage to your home and property would be covered.
  • Fire and smoke damage from candles: Without power, many will turn to candles for both light and heat. If lit candles tip over, or come in contact with flammables, any resulting fire damage to your home and property would be covered.
  • Damages to appliances and electronics from a power surge: When power is restored, it is common for power surges to occur. If a power surge causes damages to your appliances and electronics, your policy would cover the cost of those damages.
  • Spoilage to food: The food in your fridge will spoil in 4 to 48 hours without power. For your safety, it is important that you dispose of this food quickly. Before doing so, take pictures because your policy may cover the cost of spoiled food due to an electrical outage.
  • Living expenses from an evacuation order: If a civil authority or the government evacuates you from your home, your policy would cover additional living expenses that you incur. This would typically include costs associated with staying in hotels and dining at restaurants.

If you suffer losses from a power outage, contact your home insurance provider to discuss what coverage is available to you. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying your policy deductible before any claim payments will be made. Most policy deductibles range from $500 to $5,000.

Suffering a loss and making a home insurance claim is stressful. So, consider taking these simple steps to protect your home and family during a power outage:

  • Prevent pipes from freezing: If temperatures drop below freezing, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and drain all the pipes. This approach is a major inconvenience if you are staying in the home, but it is the best way to prevent freezing pipes. If you are unable to turn off the main shut-off valve, then turn on all faucets and allow them to drip. While this approach may not prevent freezing, it may prevent pressure from building up in the pipes and causing them to burst.
  • Use candles safely: If you are using candles, it is important you take precautions to prevent fires. Use sturdy holders to ensure candles do not tip over. Keep lit candles away from flammable items, like furniture and window coverings. Never leave lit candles unattended, especially when there are children or pets around. Use caution when walking with lit candles as your clothes may catch on fire. And finally, extinguish all candles before leaving your home or going to sleep.
  • Unplug all appliances and electronics: By unplugging all appliances and electronics, you are protecting them against damage from a power surge when power is restored. As an added precaution, you may want to turn off the main switch to your home’s electrical panel. When power is restored and you turn on the main electric switch, wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting appliances and electronics. This gives your electrical system time to stabilize.
  • Remove all food from your fridge: After 4 hours without power, food in the refrigerated section is no longer safe. Food in the freezer section should keep for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how full the freezer is. As a rule of thumb, you should throw away any food that has a temperature higher than 5 degrees Celsius (or 40 degrees Fahrenheit). Eating potentially spoiled food is simply not worth risking to you or your family.

For more home insurance tips, visit www.squareoneinsurance.ca.

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Established in 2011 and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Square One offers the only home insurance policy in Canada that can be personalized to your unique needs. That means you only pay for the protection you need. Square One is also one of the few providers to automatically include earthquake, sewer backup and broad water protection in its policies. Square One currently serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. For more information about Square One, or to get an online quote, visit www.squareoneinsurance.ca.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Chris Bayly
Square One Insurance Services Inc.
Tel: 1.855.331.6933 ext 101
Cel: 1.604.329.7534
chris.bayly@squareoneinsurance.ca