The Kenow Fire is the latest in a string of natural disasters in Alberta. The blaze – which was started by a lightning strike in B.C., crept over the continental divide in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, and within a few days would reach a size of more than 35,000 hectares. The town of Waterton, the Blood Tribe, Cardston County and the Municipal District of Pincher Creek were all evacuated, displacing more than 700 people. It was the third large-scale evacuation in five summers in Alberta.
About 60 firefighters from all over Alberta worked tirelessly to protect the perimeter of Waterton, which was directly in the path of the wildfire at the foot of Cameron Valley, and miraculously managed to save the vast majority of the townsite. Unfortunately, several rural properties outside of the perimeter were severely damaged. After the horrible impact of the Fort McMurray fire of 2016, which was finally extinguished for good more than one year later on Aug. 2, yet another fire has been devastating.
Insured Damages Causing Insurance Rates to Rise
Storms and fires have been getting stronger and more severe as a general rule around the globe, and the destruction keeps getting worse. The 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire resulted in more than $3.7 million in insurance claims, topping the $1.7 billion claimed after the southern Alberta floods in 2013 and making it the most costly natural disaster in the history of the country. Both the flood and the fire were followed by an expected rise in home insurance rates as providers found themselves paying more for claims than they had taken in for fees. But even before 2013 many were predicting a hike in rates. The summer of 2012 in Calgary and the surrounding area included spectacular lightening, ferocious winds and devastating hail measuring up to six centimeters in diameter. Over fifty severe weather events that year totaled nearly $500 million in insured damages.
Insurance rates go up when claims are submitted. Major events that cause widespread damage make across-the-board premium increases an unfortunate necessity to prevent the insurance industry from going bankrupt.
Alberta Cabin or Cottage Insurance
Most of the properties in Waterton are secondary homes, but that doesn’t make them any less loved by their owners. Many have been in families for generations, and they all contain irreplaceable artifacts and years worth of memories. Comprehensive cabin or cottage insurance provided extra peace of mind for owners who waited three agonizing nights until it was determined the townsite had been saved.
It’s a good idea to have a separate policy for your cottage or cabin. Since we don’t spend time in our second homes year-round, your cottage or cabin is at greater risk for certain perils like theft, structural issues, and other exclusions. As well, cottages and cabins in more remote locations may not have easy access to services such as fire departments and police, which also raises your risk. And, if you do plan to rent, you absolutely need a separate rental property insurance policy protecting your cottage and you from liability.
Keep Your Insurance Company up to Date
It is essential to keep your insurance company up to date on anything happening with your property. Perform annual reviews of your house, land, outbuildings and belongings to guarantee your coverage accurately reflects your situation. Your insurance provider or broker should be able to provide you with a home inventory checklist or kit to help you track your belongings accurately. A comprehensive home inventory also makes it much easier if you ever have to file an insurance claim.
Overland Water Insurance
Since 2015 overland water insurance (or more commonly called flood insurance) has been available in Alberta as a specific named peril on a regular home insurance policy. This is a good idea for anyone who lives in an area prone to flooding. Regardless of whether or not you are considering flood insurance, homeowners should make sure they have sewer backup coverage included or added as a rider to their plan, which covers for water damage caused by backups in municipally operated sewage lines.
Trust Lane’s for Your Home Insurance Needs
If it is your home insurance renewal time, Lane’s Insurance is a brokerage, meaning that its representatives work for you, not for the insurance companies. We are able to contrast and compare the policies provided by a number of Canada’s most respected providers to ensure you’re getting the advice and the coverage that protects your best interests – and you. We cover all of Alberta, and have offices in: