Strong winds and tornadoes | What does insurance reimburse?

After damage and power outages comes the time for complaints. What does basic home insurance cover during tornadoes and high winds? Two experts answer our questions.

Posted at 7:04 p.m.

Isabelle Dube

Isabelle Dube
The Press

A tree fell on my house, arbor, fence or shed due to high winds or a suspected tornado. Is this “act of God”, as English speakers say, covered?

Yes, contrary to popular belief, wind damage is part of the standard and basic coverage of home insurance, say the experts consulted by The Press.

“When a tree has fallen on a roof, we will check if the structure of the residence has been affected, because beyond the roof, we may have repairs to do, explains in a telephone interview Marie-Ève ​​Vézina , auto and home compensation manager at Desjardins Assurances. We will make a complete assessment of the damage and we will take care of the removal of the tree, the repair of the roof and the structural elements that have been damaged.

“We had a few roofs torn off over the weekend and, in some cases, the residence became uninhabitable. We will therefore assume the additional living expenses to relocate customers, the time to make complete or temporary repairs to allow customers to return to their homes. »

Note that if the roof has been torn off by the wind, the damage is covered. If water has entered due to the broken roof, the damage is also covered.

A tree fell on my car, what insurance covers the damage?

Motorists who have all-risk auto insurance even without collision will be reimbursed. “If there is a tree that has fallen on a car or the debris of a building or even all the flying objects that could have fallen on a car, it is covered by this protection,” says Line Crevier, responsible for technical affairs and the Information Center of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

My trees have fallen on my lawn and I need to buy more to replace them. Can I get them reimbursed?

“When a tree has simply fallen on the ground, only the tree is damaged, there is no compensation. Trees are not covered for damage caused by wind, fire or bad weather, because they are exposed to such bad weather at all times. If the tree breaks, the insured does not receive an amount to plant a new tree,” explains Line Crevier.

My tree is uprooted and in danger of falling, can my insurer help me secure the premises?

In general, no, but by talking to the insurer, he could see the situation differently, say the experts. “What triggers the insurance contract is the damage, explains Line Crevier. Does that mean that it is better to wait for the tree to fall so that there is damage and the insurer reimburses? No. You have to act like a good father. In addition, beyond being insured, there are still disadvantages to experiencing a claim, to making repairs, not to mention that our safety and that of the people around are perhaps threatened. »

I have been without electricity for more than two days, what is covered?

In insurance contracts, there is coverage for food that was in the fridge or freezer and is lost due to lack of electricity. There may however be a limit of $1000. “We will reimburse the client for what he has lost, minus the deductible, specifies Marie-Ève ​​Vézina, of Desjardins Assurances. So of course people always have to do the calculation of what they had in the fridge compared to the deductible to see if they want to make a claim. Generally, the deductible is $300 or $500. »

“In 1998, during the ice storm, the insurers had really had a lot of claims and they wanted to compensate people quickly, relates Line Crevier, of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. It looks like there were more prawns claimed than there were in the ocean! From now on, it is necessary to take a picture of the contents of the freezer and the refrigerator to show evidence to the insurer. »

I have not had drinking water for more than two days, can the insurer compensate us?

“If we are talking about a residence where there is no drinking water, but the residence remains habitable, that is to say that there has been no damage as such to the residence , unfortunately, no, there is nothing, specifies Marie-Ève ​​Vézina. No relocation costs or reimbursement of travel expenses to buy bottled water. »

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