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Protect Your Home from Severe Weather Events

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If you think the weather is unpredictable, there may be data to back you up. Last year, insurance companies paid out the fourth-largest total amount of claims dollars in Canadian history. The cause was not one big catastrophic event, but several smaller weather-related incidents.

That may mean this is the "new normal," where you as a homeowner have a greater chance of suffering property damage. To prepare, check your home insurance policy to see what's covered and when you might be stuck with the bill.

Know What's Covered in Your Home Insurance Policy

Insurance is there to protect you from the unexpected -- but not all unexpected events are automatically covered by insurance. Your home insurance policy may pay for fire, wind, ice and hail damage, but not earthquakes, landslides or floods.

Even when something is covered, there may be exceptions depending on the factors that lead to the damage. If wind blew shingles off your roof, but you were due to replace them anyway, insurance probably won't pay for it. Your policy doesn't cover maintenance.

Wind damage, such as from a tornado, is covered -- so long as it affects the outside of the building. Damage to internal contents of a home don't fall under the wind damage provisions unless the wind first creates a hole in the outside structure.

The bottom line is you can't always rely on your assumptions. Read your policy details or talk to your provider. Then consider additional coverage if necessary.

Check Out Optional Coverage

Insurance providers offer additional protection packages. You can get this optional coverage as an add-on to your home insurance policy. Two of the most common examples are earthquake and sewer back up insurance. This may interest people in an earthquake zone or in low-lying regions where storms are common.

Some insurers also offer overland flood protection. This happens when water flows, over land, into buildings through cracks in windows and doors. In flood-prone areas, this may be particularly valuable. While most home insurance covers water damage inside your home, you may otherwise be out of luck if damage comes from external factors like flooding.

Beware of Limitations

As with all insurance, the details are important. That goes for your basic home insurance policy and any add-ons. Know whether you are covered for the actual cash value or the replacement cost of any damage. An older structure might cost more to replace than it was worth as an asset at the time of damage.

Your insurance will have a deductible, possibly a percentage of overall coverage. You may be able to decrease your premiums by accepting a higher deductible, and vice versa.

Get the Right Insurance For Your Property Type

Overall, it's important to make sure your home insurance covers everything you want it to. That may include your home but also detached structures such as sheds. If you have a heritage home or vacation property, talk to your insurer about making sure it's protected in the right way.

In a time when you never know what the weather is going to do, it gives you peace of mind to have insurance. Protect your biggest asset with the right policy.

When you're shopping for home insurance quotes, price makes a difference. Check out your options at Rates.ca today.