Nova Scotia

As Teddy nears, batten down the hatches and check your insurance policy

As storm Teddy approaches the Maritimes, the Insurance Bureau of Canada is advising that wind damage to homes is typically covered by insurance policies. But flooding is another question.

Wind damage to homes is typically covered by insurance polices, but flooding is trickier

Nova Scotians reflect on past hurricanes in preparation of Teddy

1 year ago
Duration 2:24
Nova Scotians share how they are preparing for Hurricane Teddy before it makes landfall as a post-tropical storm on Tuesday. 2:24

On Monday afternoon, Antigonish, N.S., resident Paula Romanow was busy doing the same thing as many others in the Maritimes as she cleared her deck in anticipation of Teddy's arrival.

The storm is expected to hit the area hard, so Romanow made sure anything that could be blown away in high winds was removed and stored.

"This isn't my first hurricane and it's not for many others, either," Romanow said.

Putting away possible projectiles is a good way to reduce potential damage from high winds, according to Amanda Dean, Atlantic vice-president with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The organization represents insurance companies and Dean said they are geared up and prepared to deal with damage claims from the storm.

Hurricane Teddy is expected to become a post-tropical storm as it arrives in the region Tuesday, and should bring heavy rain, strong winds and pounding surf to much of the Maritimes and southern Newfoundland.

Tom Reyno is shown strapping down his dock on Monday in Herring Cove, N.S., in preparation for Teddy. (Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Wind damage is always a worry for homeowners but Dean said most can rest easy on that account.

"Under a typical homeowner policy damage due to wind is covered," Dean said.

That includes trees falling on home or shingles that have blown off, but Dean said there is a qualifier: if the roof is hasn't been properly maintained and is in poor repair the damage will not be covered.

"If a roof is properly shingled and in good standing prior to the storm, if it's ripped apart during the storm and water enters the home, that's typically covered," she said. 

Each insurance policy is tailored to its owner, so homeowners should have their insurance agent and company's information nearby in the event of damage. That's especially true if there is flooding because that is not typically covered.

"If folks do experience water in their basements resulting from the storm, coverage will depend on how water entered your basement and whether you have coverage for it," Dean said.

Paula Romanow cleared the chairs from the patio of her Antigonish, N.S., home. (Paula Romanow)

She said sewer-backup coverage can be added to an insurance policy as well as extended water coverage.

Dean said people should contact their insurance company as soon as they discover damage. She said insurance companies generally have claims lines open 24/7 and while the industry is ready and staffed for this storm, if there is heavy damage people will have to be patient when trying to get through.

The insurance bureau's website says damage to vehicles from wind and water is usually covered if comprehensive car insurance, which is not mandatory, has been purchased.