Hurricane Fiona: Insurance expert gives recommendations

Insurers are getting their rubber boots on in anticipation of Hurricane Fiona causing heavy damage to homes in Atlantic Canada this weekend.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada expects debris to damage homes, and sewer and waste water systems to be overwhelmed with some of that water ending up in basements.

Amanda Dean, vice president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Atlantic region, said water and wind damage claims are what the industry is preparing for.

“Anything homeowners can do to prepare their homes for those types of things happening is well advised at this point,” said Dean on Thursday.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada listed its top 10 tips to prepare for Fiona on its website earlier this week.

Tips included making an emergency preparedness plan for the family and moving valuable or sentimental items out of the basement.

Other suggestions included having cell phones fully charged and securing or bringing inside patio furniture and other backyard items.

“Trampolines can become airborne,” said Dean. “They can travel a great distance during a windstorm event or a hurricane event. Bringing those trampolines in, even if they are tethered to the ground, the wind can come underneath and catch them at just the right angle.”

Dean said most home insurance policies cover damage resulting from wind, but water in a basement due to sewer backup or overland flooding is only covered if the homeowner has purchased specific coverage.

“Typically, what is not covered is salt water. So, any water that climbs up over the banks and splashes into your home, which is a nice way of saying a storm surge, that is not likely covered under your home insurance policy,” she said.

Some homeowners in the Greater Moncton area don’t seem too concerned about what Fiona may do to their property.

“Well, well I’m not,” said Rene Basque. “I hope we’re not going to get as much as we thought. It’s going out to sea I think.”

Chantal Malenfant said she just had a new roof installed on her home.

“I’m hoping that they did a good job and nothing’s going to happen to it with all the high winds,” said Malenfant.

Jennifer Fontaine said she’s ready for what the storm may bring.

“We’re very well aware of what we have for insurance and we have coverage so we’re not too worried. We know our insurance providers will help if needed,” said Fontaine.

Dean said if a homeowner’s property is damaged this weekend, they should call an insurance representative as soon as possible. She also suggests documenting the damage with a cell phone, which will help the claims process in a big way.

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