At the Disaster Preparedness Workshop, I was conducting a lady’s arm shot up.   The young woman slowly stood up – “for eight years, I have had tenant’s insurance and have never had to use it – why should I bother having insurance – I could spend that money on my family.”

Lady standing by fire truck after home burntMy heart sinks……  Responding to upwards of 25 house and apartment fires each year in Vancouver to help support those impacted, I far too often hear the same comment, “Why did I cancel my insurance?”  I had it for years and never needed it, and now I do need insurance, and I don’t have it. What will me and family do – where will we go?

My heart now breaks as I watch the family’s survey the damage to their homes after a fire.  Once they know their family and pets are safe, their first thought is always their “things.”  They realize their clothes are smoke damaged beyond repair; the contents of their home are not salvageable, and then the reality sets in, and they know they have nowhere to go.  Family and friends can help for a few days, then what will happen to them- where will they go until they can return home in a few weeks or in some cases several months?

Now – imagine you are home, and there has been a fire in your home.  You and your family grab your Grab and Go Kits containing the essential items you will need, and you get outside to safety.

Standing outside, you reach into your Grab and go Kit and get a copy of your insurance policy tucked away in the side pocket.   A quick call to your insurance provider and they provide you with a place to stay as they determine the next steps on how to get you back home.  A restoration company will be used to start on the daunting task of getting your home back to where you can occupy it again.

5 Items to Keep in Mind Regarding your Home Insurance

  1. Insurance Policies are all different.  Make sure you understand what is covered and what is NOT covered in your policy.  From my experience responding to house fires and disasters, many people often have no idea what their insurance will cover or not cover.  Check with your insurance company and make sure you understand your insurance policy.
  2. If you own your Strata/Condo, you MUST get homeowner’s insurance.  Your strata should have insurance for the building, which you help pay for in your monthly strata fees, but this insurance DOES NOT cover the contents in your unit. Check with your strata and insurance company, so you have a clear understanding of how you are covered or if you have questions.Hands protecting a house
  3. Make sure your insurance automatically renews each year.  Assisting a family following a fire, they had forgotten to renew their home insurance. It was devasting, as they tried to figure out what to do.  Putting yourself in a situation like this could have easily been avoided if their insurance renewed or set a reminder a few weeks ahead of the expiry date.
  4. If you live in an area that can be impacted by Flooding – check with your insurance company to see what is covered and not covered.  Each policy is different, and there are conditions you need to be aware of living in a flood zone.
  5. The Million Dollar Question – do I need Earthquake Insurance to protect my family and home? A great question to ask your Insurance Company and they can explain how the process works. I have earthquake insurance, and I take comfort in knowing that. After talking to my insurance company, I felt with my situation; it was the right thing to do.

Hands with Magnifying Glass on HouseYour takeaway from this Blog Post – reach out to your Insurance Company to find out how you are covered and get those insurance questions answered.  They are the experts in insurance and can help you determine what the right insurance is for your family.   If you don’t have insurance, reach out to an insurance company to get your family’s insurance needs in place.  Once the fire, flood or earthquake has impacted you and your family, it will be too late!

Have questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Until next time – Stay safe and make sure you, your family and pets are prepared for earthquakes or any disaster that may come your way.

Your Key Message is “Disaster can happen, and they do happen.”  What are you going to do to get you, your family, and pets ready for a disaster?  It could be an earthquake; it could be a flood or fire. We don’t know – but what we do know is – families who are prepared will better survive whatever disaster comes their way.

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Stay Safe!

Jackie Kloosterboer