By Steve Morales | FindLaw Canada
It raises a question that some people take for granted? Are you covered for natural disasters or “acts of God”?
First off, and to get technical, “act of God” isn’t used in Canada. It’s more of an American expression. In Canada, insurers use “peril” to describe those catastrophic unexpected events that can damage your home and property. However, you’re likely not protected against all perils.
Home insurance policies typically cover “named perils,” or disasters specifically designated in your policy. If you don’t see “tornado” or “earthquake” clearly named in your policy, there’s a good chance you’re not covered for it.
Damage from natural and unpredictable events such as lightning, wind storms or hail are generally covered in a basic home insurance package.
However, there are many uninsured perils that could affect you. These are predictable events that generally aren’t covered, although you can sometimes buy a broader coverage or specific policies to cover them.
A major one is flooding. It’s the most common type of natural disaster in Canada and many companies simply don’t cover it. In insurance terms though, “flooding” means an overland deluge from rivers or lakes, not damage from a broken water main.
If you live in a floodplain, as many Canadians do, then a flood is considered a predictable event and you likely can’t get coverage for it.
Earthquakes might be a more surprising uninsured peril. While you probably don’t think of Canada being a hotbed of earthquakes, the country actually experiences around 4,000 every year. Many are minor, but the point is they’re somewhat predictable and they’re often not covered in standard home insurance either.
Of course, policies and providers vary greatly, so maybe you’re covered for all this stuff and you’re not sweating the floods sweeping through the prairies.
The bottom line though, is not to assume you’re covered. Just because something seems like it’ll be covered, that doesn’t make it so.
See more at: findlaw.ca