Landslides occur every year in all parts of Canada. The 2012 landslides in both Johnson’s Landing and Fairmont Hot Springs may have you wondering about landslides and home insurance.
A landslide is the term used to describe rock, debris, or earth moving down a slope. According to Natural Resources Canada, these are caused by natural processes or by man. Some factors that can increase the risk of landslide include:
Landslides can move extremely slowly, perhaps just a few centimetres in a year. This will cause telephone poles, trees, and fences to tilt and appear deformed. Sudden landslides, particularly those involving large amounts of water or mud, or where rocks are falling, can move up to 360 kilometres per hour. Landslides involve very heavy, fast-moving material; the enormous weight and power of these events can easily sweep structures from their foundations and carry them with the landslide to its final settling point.
If you live in a possible landslide area, Natural Resources Canada offers the following tips:
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The simple answer is: “no.” Most home insurance policies in Canada exclude landslides. While home insurance policies do cover many so-called “acts of God,” landslides are not one of them.
Even a comprehensive policy, which offers broad protection, will likely exclude landslide. In many policies, landslide is included in the more general “earth movement” exclusion. If you’re unsure, or can’t locate that exclusion in your policy, contact your home insurance provider for assistance.
In certain circumstances, disaster financial assistance can be declared by federal and provincial authorities. For example: in the province of British Columbia, certain landslides are eligible for disaster financial assistance as long as they result directly from heavy rainfall or other catastrophic causes, and were not caused by pre-existing slope instability.
If a landslide or other catastrophic event has occurred in your region, contact your provincial disaster financial assistance agency. To help you do so, Square One has compiled the below list of provincial entities as a starting point.
Canadian provincial and territorial disaster assistance contacts:
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About the expert: Rena Novotny
Rena's 23-year career started as an independent adjuster where she specialized in complex property, liability and special risk loss. As a branch manager, Rena hired, trained, mentored and coached several adjusters. She continues part-time post-graduate studies in neuro-psychology and traumatization, learning how both may impact the insured's engagement on catastrophic claims. Rena has a MA (Conflict Analysis and Management), CRM, CIP, and holds a level 3 adjusting license.
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