July 6, 2017
(Vancouver, BC): According to a recent study conducted by Square One, Canadians evacuated from their homes because of wildfires can expect to suffer an average of $11,300 in financial losses. Those with home insurance can recover most, but not all, of the financial loss.
There have already been 1,700 wildfires across Canada during the first six months of 2017. The province with the most wildfires is Alberta, which accounts for 37% of the national total. This is followed by British Columbia with 16%, and Quebec with 8%. With wildfire season well underway, Square One wants to help Canadians prepare for wildfires, and understand how home insurance responds to wildfire claims.
“There’s a lot of information available on wildfire prevention and preparedness,” says Daniel Mirkovic, Square One’s President. “But, there’s surprisingly very little information on what financial losses people suffer from wildfires. That’s why we’ve decided to share our findings from the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016.”
Residents who were affected by wildfires generally fall into two categories. The first includes those who suffered direct fire loss to their homes and belongings. The second includes those who suffered indirect fire loss, like smoke or ash damage, to their homes and belongings.
It’s important to understand the financial impacts of wildfires in residential areas. In reviewing the Fort McMurray wildfire, Square One found:
Since fire is an insured peril under all policies, those with home insurance were able to recover most of their financial losses. Insurance payouts are still subject to policy deductibles. The average deductible for Square One policyholders was $1,700.
And, it’s important to note that claims processing times during natural disasters can vary. That means you will likely still be in the claims process even after the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted and you’re allowed to return home.
Natural Resources Canada predicts that climate change will result in a 50% increase in large wildfires. What was once a one in a hundred years event will now occur much more frequently. And, those fires will continue to cause significant damage to populated areas. As such, many communities are focusing on both wildfire prevention and recovery.
The first step in preventing wildfire damage is to prepare your house and its surrounding area. FireSmart, a program developed by the Government of Alberta, suggests the following:
Removing tree branches that are up to two metres from the ground will help stop wildfires from reaching the tree tops. If you’re able, try to keep the tops of the trees on your property at least three meters away from each other. If the fire reaches the top of the trees, the distance between them may stop the fire from spreading.
FireSmart also highly recommends keeping your grass mowed short and well-watered.
With wildfires occurring more often, Square One explains what you should do during the alert period and during the actual evacuation:
If your home and belongings suffered damage, then it’s important that you understand the options available to you for repairs. It’s probably best to rely on licensed contractors for direct fire damage. On the other hand, you may want do some of the work yourself for indirect fire damage. For example, you can probably do just as good a job cleaning your furniture as a hired professional. The work will get done much faster, and you’ll often be offered fair compensation for your efforts.
For more information on wildfire preparedness and prevention, please visit www.squareoneinsurance.com/preparing-for-wildfires. And if you have questions about how home insurance responds to wildfire claims, speak with your insurance provider or call Square One at 1.855.331.6933.
Established in 2011, Square One offers the only home insurance policy in North America 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 water 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.com.
For more information on this release, please contact:
Square One Insurance Services Inc.
Tel: 1.855.331.6933 ext 127