Caution, homeowners: Not all flooding covered by insurance policies
LuAnn LaSalle, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, June 21, 2013 1:50PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 21, 2013 3:49PM EDT
Alberta homeowners hoping to make claims for flood damage won't get help for water that poured through doors or basement windows, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Friday.
"You're not covered," spokesman Steve Kee said. "There's no overland flooding coverage in Canada."
Kee said if homeowners have damaged caused by water coming in doors and windows, they should file a claim even though it's not covered because it could help them qualify for other assistance, if available.
A sewage backup caused by flooding usually is covered, he said from Toronto.
Property owners need to check their policies, he added.
"People should probably be documenting and taking pictures when they get back into their homes."
Officials say as many as 100,000 people may have left their homes due to the flooding that has ravaged wide areas of southern Alberta after heavy rains.
The insurance bureau also said vehicle owners who have their cars flooded will be covered for damage if they have comprehensive automobile insurance.
Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths noted there will be uninsurable losses and warned that property owners aren't intended to profit from the flooding.
"The fact that a person didn't bother to buy insurance doesn't mean the government will pay for it," Griffiths said at a news conference in Calgary.
Property will be restored "back to what it was as best we can," he said.
Griffiths also said there is no insurance for homeowners hit by "overland" flooding.
Prime Minister Stephen said the federal government has offered "any and all possible assistance to the province of Alberta in response to the situation."
BMO Capital Markets economist Robert Kavcic said about a third of Alberta's economy would be stalled due to the floods, including tourism, retail and construction.
The immediate economic hit from the flooding would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Kavcic estimated.
"You're going to have a hit to retail sales in the very near term," he said.
"But when the water recedes and people go back out to the stores, you're going to get some replacement spending there, too."
The floods also could have a small fiscal impact on the Alberta government because this year's budget for emergency assistance spending is $200 million," Kavcic said.
"It's clearly going to be a lot bigger than that."
Property owners can call 1-800-377-6378 to reach the Insurance Bureau of Canada with their questions.