July 8, 2017 (VANCOUVER) – As British Columbia has declared a state of emergency due to wildfires burning out of control throughout much of the Interior, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with information and advice for those affected.
“Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been disrupted and whose homes have been destroyed. The priority right now is the safety of those affected and their loved ones,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “The insurance industry is here to help. Anyone with questions about their home or business insurance can call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask‑IBC.”
What insurance covers
Most home and business insurance policies cover fire damage. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities, most homeowner’s and tenant’s insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policy.
The claims process
If you have been affected by a wildfire, when safe to do so, take the following steps:
- Assess and document the damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
- Call your insurance representative and/or company.
- List all damaged or destroyed items.
- If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of the damage and keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
- Keep all of the receipts related to cleanup, and if you’ve been ordered to leave your home, keep the receipts for your living expenses.
- Ask your insurance representative what living expenses you’re entitled to be reimbursed for and for what period of time.
- Once you have reported a loss, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. It may take some time, given the number of people affected by the wildfires, but you will be contacted.
- The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of your loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during the conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Your insurance company will ask you to complete a Proof of Loss form, to list the property and/or items that 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 form are true. Ask your insurance representative or claims adjuster to clarify anything you are unsure about.
Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.