August 18, 2021

Home insurance and wildfire season: What you need to know

BC’s wildfire season is devastating communities across our province this year with nearly 270 fires burning right now.

During this crisis, it’s important to understand what you should expect from your insurance

What to expect

Trying to obtain fire insurance can be difficult in areas under the threat of wildfires.

While insurance underwriters follow their own companies’ guidelines, expect that where evacuation orders or alerts exist, it’s unlikely insurance providers will approve new policies until the threat eases.

Some companies may also restrict new policies based on proximity to fires, even when no evacuation orders or alerts have been declared. Providers may also decline changes to existing insurance policies, such as requested increases to coverage limits.

As well, insurance for properties in unprotected fire districts is more expensive than in protected fire districts. An unprotected fire district is an area without fire hydrants and a fire department.

How to manage risk around insurance

Insurance doesn’t just affect your piece of mind—it can also affect your mortgage. For example, if your insurance company withdraws their approval for a property, your lender may also withdraw their mortgage approval.

Here’s what you can do to mitigate this risk around insurance:

  • Contact your insurance broker and discuss whether your upcoming purchase will be affected by wildfires, and if so, what your options are.
  • Contact several insurance providers if you're having trouble getting insurance. Different providers may have different approaches and criteria.
  • Get legal advice in areas where you're unable to obtain insurance.

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