Ice Storm Damage and Your Home Insurance Coverage

Snowfall against the background of the wooden house

Are you wondering what might be covered by your insurance company after the recent ice storm? Below, we answer some questions about what may or may not be covered by your standard home insurance policy.

A tree fell on my home. Will I be covered?

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, a standard homeowner policy should cover damages to homes caused by snow, rain or wind, including damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees.

A collapse of a structure, such as your roof, due to the weight of ice or snow is also often covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Will the insurance company pay to remove the damaged branches from my property?

Probably not. Insurance covers damage to your fences, your roof, eaves troughs, windows, porches and outbuildings. But debris removal from your yard, in the absence of physical property damage, will generally be at your own expense. Check with your insurance company to see if they will pay to remove the debris when you file your property damage claim.

Will my insurance company pay to replace damage to trees and landscaping caused by weather?

It might, depending on your policy. To repair damage to trees and landscaping, most home policies will allow you to apply up to 5% of the amount of insurance on your dwelling.

Melting snow and ice has flooded my house. What happens now?

Flood damage inside your home, often due melted snow or ice in the winter, is usually covered under standard home insurance.

If your pipes freeze and burst and cause flooding inside your home, your standard policy may or may not cover the damages. Again, it is best to contact your insurance representative.

I am unable to live in my home due to damage. Will I receive additional living expenses?

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says homeowners who are unable to live in their homes because of insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses. You will likely not be reimbursed for additional living expenses if you left your home just because it was too cold.

As this may vary with insurance company and policy, homeowners should contact their insurance representative for more information.

My car was damaged due to ice and snow. Am I insured?

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that damage to cars from ice, wind or water is typically covered if you have comprehensive or all-perils car insurance, but this coverage is optional so check your policy.

Unlike auto insurance in Ontario, homeowners insurance is not regulated and coverage may vary from company to company so you are best to check with your insurance professional to see what you will be covered for.

Many homeowners’ policies have standard deductibles of $500, so you’ll have to figure out if it’s really worthwhile to make a claim, if the damage is minor.