Alberta is prone to high winds. While the Chinook phenomenon usually brings very windy conditions with it, Chinooks are typically limited to the winter months. During the summer, though, thunderstorms frequently rip across the province, and tornadoes can even strike. As part of your Alberta home insurance plan, it’s a good idea to be prepared for severe winds at all times of year.
Wind Strength and Tornado Frequencies in Alberta
Calgary and Edmonton both rank among the windiest major cities in Canada. Last year, for example, Edmonton saw some very blustery conditions, including a spell that saw sustained wind speeds of 65 km/h and gusts of a punishing 120 km/h. While they’re rare, these conditions can cause major property damage.
According to data compiled by the Weather Network over a 30-year period spanning 1980 through 2009, Alberta experienced the second-most tornadoes of any Canadian province. Over that period, an average of 15.4 tornadoes touched down in Alberta each year. Only Saskatchewan saw a higher tornado rate over the study period.
These facts illustrate the importance of preparedness, since your Alberta home insurance premiums could rise if you have to make a claim. Using proven wind damage prevention strategies can save you time, money and a lot of inconvenience.
Windproof Your Home
Alberta home insurance providers stress the importance of windproofing your home. Here’s a checklist to help make sure you cover everything:
- Start with your doors and windows. Since your doors and windows are the average home’s biggest risks when it comes to high winds, you should focus on securing them first. Experts recommend installing storm doors and thick windowpanes with superior impact resistance. These panes have the added bonus of delivering year-round energy savings. Seal all drafts and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping or foam insulation.
- Replace loose, damaged or degrading exterior components. Dangling eaves, aging siding and loose shingles can all pose a major threat during a windstorm, both to your home and to neighbouring properties. Perform a thorough home inspection to check for these hazards, and correct any issues promptly.
- Look at your landscaping. A few strategically placed landscaping elements can diminish wind impact by creating a resistant barrier that diverts incoming streams of air. Shrubs, trees and garden structures can all help inhibit blustering gusts.
- Anchor potential projectiles. Do you have patio or garden furniture? Are there toys, tools or pieces of sporting equipment laying loose in the yard? These items could all cause serious damage. Tie down outdoor tables, chairs, barbecues and other potential projectiles. Keep your yard clear of unnecessary items if high winds are in the forecast.
If you’ve got the budget, adding exterior shutters can also help reduce your risk. They’ll provide an effective barrier between your windows and your home’s exterior, with the potential to prevent flying objects and debris from causing major damage.
Additional Considerations to Help Protect Your Property
Insurance providers also suggest taking these important preventative steps as part of your complete preparedness program:
- Maintain an inventory of valuables. It’s always a good idea to keep an accurate, up-to-date list of the valuable items you’re keeping in your home, just in case damage occurs. Many insurance companies provide home inventory forms to help clients keep track of their valuables. To this end, it’s also well worth considering whether you’d be better protected by replacement value or actual cash value (ACV) home insurance.
- Keep an emergency kit on hand. A well-stocked first aid kit, battery-operated flashlights, potable water and non-perishable food supplies will really come in handy if severe weather causes injuries or triggers an extended power outage.
- Watch the weather report. Don’t get caught by surprise; watch the local weather report so you’re ready if bad weather is on its way to your area.
If your home gets hit despite your best efforts, document the damage before cleaning anything up or preparing your claim. Take photographs of all areas where damage occurred, ideally from various angles. Make sure to time-stamp and date-stamp the photos by uploading them from your camera to the Internet, then posting them on social media or emailing them to yourself.
Alberta Home Insurance: Trust Lane’s Insurance for Affordable Coverage and Outstanding Customer Service
Lane’s Insurance is here to help Alberta homeowners protect their property and stay safe during tornado season. To obtain a fast, free, no-obligation quote, please visit Lane’s Insurance online to see just how much you could save by switching.