Proper home insurance coverage is extremely important for all homeowners—so much so that it’s a mandatory requirement for mortgage lenders. There are many risks facing homeowners and their homes which include risk from floods, earthquakes, and fires. When it comes to fire risk, this includes both fires that start from within the home, and from external fires like the many wildfires we see across western Canada.
Not only are unpredictable wildfires a huge risk to homes, but they can also pose a risk to securing or renewing proper home insurance coverage. Read on to learn more about our tips to secure home insurance coverage during wildfire season, as well as some advice on how to keep you and your home safe during active wildfires.
Why Getting Home Insurance Coverage During Wildfire Season May Be Difficult
Insurance is all about mitigating risks. This goes not only for homeowners and their homes- but for insurance providers. If there is an active wildfire (or many) near your home during a time where you’re looking to renew or bind new home insurance coverage, this may be too risky for insurance providers to accept. Carriers can’t or won’t insure something that is having (or possibly about to incur) a loss.
When it comes to wildfires, home insurance providers typically won’t allow binding of a coverage policy if there’s an active wildfire within a 50-kilometre radius of the property. The binding restriction area could also be 25 kilometres or 100 kilometres, depending on the insurance provider. This means that homeowners looking to renew or secure new insurance for their homes during an active wildfire season may find it very difficult to secure a policy, or may face large premium increases.
Tips On How To Secure Home Insurance Coverage During Wildfire Season
If you find yourself buying a home during wildfire season, or attempting to renew your home insurance policy during wildfire season (or worse, when there’s an active wildfire nearby), the tips below may help you secure coverage.
Be Aware Of Active Wildfires Nearby
The first thing to do if you live—or are planning to live—in an area known for seasonal wildfires, is to be aware of any and all active wildfires close by. You can do this by checking the BC government’s current wildfire activity page frequently.
Get a Quote and Secure Coverage Early
Regardless of whether there’s an active wildfire nearby, it’s always a good idea to shop around for home insurance quotes and secure coverage as early as possible. This will give you time to speak with multiple providers if needed, in case some insurers won’t offer quotes due to nearby wildfires.
Ensure Extension Clauses Due To Wildfire In Purchase Contracts
If you’re looking to purchase a new home during wildfire season, it may be a good idea to ensure or add an extension clause to the purchase offer contract. This would allow you to extend the completion date in the event that you run into any issues or delays in securing proper home insurance coverage for the home because of a nearby wildfire.
Understand Whether The Policy Is Binding, Or Not
A home insurance quote is exactly that; a quote. Insurance quotes may not be binding, and some providers may not bind a policy quote if a new wildfire pops up near the home in between the time the quote was given and when the home purchase completes. It’s important to speak to potential insurers about this possibility, as some providers may still bind the policy but others may not.
Change Providers or The Policy’s Renewal Date
If you find yourself having to deal with issues renewing your home’s insurance policy due to the proximity to wildfire season, it may be a good idea to look into changing the renewal date with your provider or changing providers completely.
Keeping You and Your Home Safe During An Active Wildfire
If disaster strikes, here are some tips to stay safe and get prepared during a wildfire:
- Stay informed of possible wildfires nearby via radio or TV news
- Keep windows and doors closed in the home
- Remove flammable items such as curtains, drapes, awnings or other window coverings
- Keep lights on in the home in case any smoke gets into the house
- Wet the roof and any other waterproof valuables, if there’s sufficient water available
- Be prepared to evacuate
Here are some tips on how to stay safe and get prepared before a wildfire ➔
Get Quick & Free Home Insurance Quotes Now!
Contact our team at Harbord – The Home Insurance People – if you have any questions about securing or renewing a home insurance policy during wildfire season. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, and we can also provide you with quick no-obligation FREE home insurance quotes!