Why You Might Need Earthquake Insurance in Canada

Many property owners give little thought to the dangers or damages that can come from earthquakes in Canada. However, this possibility may be far more likely than you think. For example, did you know more than five thousand earthquakes hit the country every year? Although most are small, some are significant and there have been some major events over the past few centuries. Let's take a look at some of these Canadian earthquakes and why you may want to think about earthquake insurance protection.

Famous Canadian Earthquakes

In 1700 a massive quake of 9.0 hit just off Vancouver Island. Many villages were destroyed by the earthquake and it is believed to have triggered a tsunami event as far off as Japan.

In August of 1949 an 8.1 earthquake was registered in Queen Charlotte Islands. Fortunately there were not a lot of residents, but the quake was felt in parts of the United States and Alberta. Plus, it was also felt in Alaska and the Yukon.

Just a few years ago in 2012, an earthquake of 7.7 hit Haida Gwaii. This quake was felt by people in Quesnel and Prince Rupert. Plus, tsunami warnings were issued due to the quake. Fortunately, no one was killed in the incident.

Where Do Earthquakes Strike?

Although they are most prevalent on the east and west coast, earthquakes can happen almost anywhere. However, if you live on either coastline, you should be especially aware of this possibility.

You never know when an earthquake will happen. For example, in 2010 a 5.0 quake hit the mid part of the country and was felt in Quebec and Ontario, and as far off as West Virginia. Once earthquakes occur, it's too late to do anything about them.

How to Protect Your Property from Earthquakes

Do you live in an area where earthquakes are more likely to occur? If so, you can take these steps to protect your things:

Home Interior

  • Check out your shelving - do you have any heavy items on top shelves? If so, move them to lower shelves.
  • If you own large filing cabinets or book cases, make sure they are properly anchored. This will keep them from falling over in times of shaking.
  • For valuable or heavy paintings or other things hung on the wall, hang them with eye screws and wire. This makes them far less likely to fall and will protect items below them also.
  • Protect your windows with special safety film products. This keeps them from shattering and can help to prevent injuries. It also provides protection from high winds and severe storms.
  • Check your gas appliances. They should be connected with flexible gaslines and special shut off valves with "breakaway" features.

Home Exterior

Check where the foundation meets the home. You may be able to install additional anchor bolts. This will make the structure more secure. You also may want to consult with a builder about other structural support possibilities.

Emergency Supplies

Make sure you have enough water on hand for 3 days. There should be one gallon per person. Also, have a flashlight, battery powered lantern, and candles on hand. Be sure everyone in the household knows where the gas, water, and electric shut-offs are located and that they know how to operate them. This strategy is good for any kind of disaster.

The Importance of Earthquake Insurance

Your home insurance policy may not have earthquake protection. In fact, it is not included in most policies. However, a serious earthquake can cause major damage to your home and if it isn't protected by insurance, what will you do?

You will still be liable for your mortgage payments and for repairs to the home, but your home may be structurally unsound and unliveable after a quake. Now you have to fix the home, pay the mortgage, and find somewhere to live. These expenses are simply too much for the average family to bear.

When you purchase earthquake coverage it will take care of many problems. Some policies come with a high deductible and you may have to pay as much as $10,000. However, this is far better than trying to replace an entire house and come up with living expenses. It's important to check out all the available options and this means checking with as many insurance companies as possible. This will give you the lowest premiums and best coverage.

Getting the Best Earthquake Coverage

Shopping for insurance coverage can be very time consuming. For example, you may need to check out at least 10 insurance companies and you still might not find the best deal, so what is the best strategy?

Visit an independent insurance agent. He or she will take care of all the insurance comparison shopping for you. Your independent agent does not sell insurance for one company. Your independent agent is an insurance broker with access to many different companies in Canada. Just call your agent and you will have all the help you need. Plus, when you choose an insurance broker, you have someone on your side if you need to make a claim.

To find out more about earthquake insurance, talk to an experienced independent insurance agent from Barber Stewart McVittie & Wallace. You can contact them by calling 416-493-0050.