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Extreme Weather Preparations and the Effects on Homeowners Insurance

Extreme Weather Preparations and the Effects on Homeowners Insurance

December, 1 2021

Scientists agree that extreme weather has become an increasingly common phenomenon. Canadians are no strangers to extreme weather. As one might expect, Canada is known for its extreme cold. However, cold is not the only extreme weather threat to Canada. Seasonal extreme weather threats include lightning, hail tornadoes, smog, and even heat waves. Many of Canada’s extreme weather threats can threaten the structure of your home and have implications on your Ontario home insurance policy.

The experts at Duliban Insurance understand the fragile homeowners insurance market and how damages from weather can impact claims made and the overall cost of homeowners insurance premiums. Here are some tips to protect your home from various extreme weather occurrences that might impact your Ontario homeowners insurance rates.

Extreme Winter Weather

Canada has some of the coldest weather in the world. Canadians are adjusted to the cold temperatures and are therefore resourceful citizens. The cold weather, however, can cause damage to home structures.

Cold weather can lead to unexpected home damages, such as the following:

  1. Electrical damage – additional electricity use is often necessary. Space heaters and heated blankets are some examples of electrical devices used to mitigate the effects of cold weather. However, if these devices are left unattended, their use can potentially become a fire hazard, causing damage to your home.
  1. Stress to the roof – cold weather tends to bring ample snow and ice. The snow and ice place an undue burden, building upon the roof and gutters of your home. Thus, clearing the snow and ice regularly from the roof can reduce the risk of ice dams and collapsed roofs.
  1. Weakened door and window seals – fluctuating temperatures can cause the natural wood structures of your home to expand and contract over time. This fluctuation can lead to cracks in the seals around doors and windows. Aside from the draft and inefficient heating that occurs when the home is not sealed properly, improperly sealed homes can be affected by moisture that attracts termites or other wood-eating insects.
  1. Freezing pipes – pipes that freeze in extreme cold temperatures are at risk of exploding. Exploding pipes can cause serious damage to your home and property. Ensure that your pipes are properly insulated and make simple adjustments such as opening cabinet doors during times of extreme cold or allowing water to run at a drip. Keeping your pipes from freezing can prevent significant damages.
  1. Damage to driveways and sidewalks – shoveling, snow blowing, plowing and ice melting chemicals can deteriorate walkways and driveways. Use care in treating snowy and icy walkways and do not over treat them. Also, try to remove the snow promptly, before it melts and refreezes to prevent damage while removing snow.

Winterizing your home helps minimize the risk of damages and effects on your Ontario home insurance policy. In addition to these risks, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has some tips for winterizing your home:

  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Ensure furnaces and stoves are kept clean and maintained, and exchange filters during the heating season.
  • Leave heat on even if you go on vacation.
  • Run water through plumbing regularly.
  • Inspect your attic for frost accumulation.
  • Keep sidewalks and walkways free of snow and ice.

 

Extreme Summer Weather

Summer weather dangers include heatwaves, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, flash floods, and smog. The damages caused by these dangers can be direct or indirect. While there is not much one can do to prepare for many storms, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of damages, such as the following:

  • Remove loose or broken limbs from trees
  • Check gutters routinely
  • Keep gutters clean
  • Cover windows during times of extreme wind
  • Place sandbags around entryways to avoid flooding
  • Keep your yard clear of debris
  • Invest in a sump pump

Taking simple precautions can help minimize damage to your home during extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, hailstorms, or other seasonal extreme weather and in turn help you potentially with savings on your Ontario home insurance policy.

Extreme Weather Impacts on Homeowners

Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, are becoming a common occurrence. These events can cause widespread damages that affect communities, homeowners, and housing costs. Many areas continue to struggle with housing shortages. More people are looking for a home than there are homes available in many neighborhoods. This supply and demand relationship causes home prices to increase as homes become more valuable commodities.

The rising costs of construction materials also affects the value of homes. If it costs more money to build a new home in Ontario, existing homes become more valuable, and therefore more expensive. Demonstrating this relationship is the 14% increase of homeowner sale prices since September of 2020.

The rising costs of construction materials also affects homeowner repairs. Occurrences such as wind or hail damage might be covered by homeowners insurance, but the insurance companies must pay market rate for the construction materials to make repairs, just as the homeowner would pay market rate. If the market rates increase, so, too, does the insurance company’s cost. To accommodate for this increased expense, insurance companies can and do increase insurance rates.

The best way to address increasing costs is to manage the risks that could lead to claims. Reducing the risk of damage or reducing the severity of damages helps to lower the potential repair costs.

People often believe that, by paying insurance, they are building a savings plan for a possible need for a claim payout in the future. However, insurance works more like a group fund. There is not one person paying into a savings account, but rather multiple people paying into a pool that is fluid. With multiple parties paying into the pool, there is a greater risk of payments coming out of that pool. If the pool is not sufficient to cover all the payments needed, insurance companies increase their rates to make accommodations.

To find out more about protecting your home from extreme weather and reducing the risk of damage, contact one of our experts at Duliban Insurance today and ensure your Ontario home insurance policy covers you for your needs. Our telephone number is (855) 835-4226, or you may email us at [email protected].

Article Resources:

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/seasonal-weather-hazards.html

http://www.ibc.ca/on/resources/media-centre/media-releases/ibc-top-10-maintenance-tips-for-winterizing-your-home-2015

https://wowa.ca/reports/canada-housing-market

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