As we head into the dog days of summer with July and August right around the corner, the likelihood of tornados will increase as the weather begins to heat up.
Last Thursday, a storm system swept across the region bringing heavy winds, torrential rainfall, hail, and even two possible tornados that could’ve caused severe damage to your home or vehicle.
The question is, does your basic home insurance cover you in the event a tornado destroys your home? Well, Greg Marcyniuk, Agency Owner of Heritage Insurance has the answer.
“Most basic home policies include wind and hail parrels automatically, but there are some coverages that may be available to top up your policy,” says Marcyniuk.
“If hail and wind damage one side of your dwelling for example insurance will fix that side, however, if the siding and shingles don’t match up on that side, there are additional coverages you can get to do a full wrap-around on your house,” adds Marcyniuk.
Along with tornadoes, Saskatchewan’s storm season could also bring thunderstorms that could produce flash floods that can cause severe damage to your home. In Saskatchewan, a Provincial Disaster Relief Program (PDAP) is offered to residents to assist in recovering from natural disasters such as flooding.
Also, some insurance agencies in the province offer overland flood insurance. In general, overland flood insurance will allow people to choose the amount of coverage and the deductible level that best meets their needs. Homeowners are encouraged to speak to their insurance broker or insurance company.
To prevent your house from being the next victim of a flood, Marcyniuk shares some prevention tips.
“Another thing I highly recommend is making sure that you have all of your sump pumps working properly, as well you should look at getting back water valves to prevent damage so you don’t have sewer backups coming in.”
He adds that if sump pumps and backwater valves are installed residents may save a little money on their policies. Sump pumps are a mechanism that detects elevating water levels and pressure to ensure that these levels do not rise too high. These pumps use a switch to detect water levels in the basin.
Backwater valves are a valve you can install on your sewer line and are designed to allow water or sewage to flow only one way, that is, out of your house.
Thunderstorms also bring the threat of lightning, which could strike a house, and could cause a fire. Marcyniuk says that in the event a fire does break out from lightning, your basic home insurance would cover fire damage.
Marcyniuk concludes by reminding residents to prepare themselves for natural disasters.
“When I’m saying be prepared, you should trim your dead branches, clean your gutters and drains, make sure your roof is in good repair, and always prepare an emergency kit.”
He adds that homeowners should secure outdoor objects, as flying objects can injure or kill people, and make sure to stay away from windows during a severe tornado or thunderstorm.
Annually in Saskatchewan, the province sees on average anywhere from 14 to 18 tornadoes per season. The Moose Jaw area has approximately 2.5 to 4.9 tornadoes per 10,000 km squared, according to statistics from SaskAdapt.