BC Warming Prompts Urgency for Homeowners Insurance

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Global Warming Effect on Insurance Industry

At press, BC Lower Mainland residents are planning camping trips, beach days, and outdoor BBQs for the weekend ahead. The forecast certainly calls for it:

Climate Change Insurance BCSource: The Weather Network

But wait a second, is that an 18-20°C range between October 2nd and 5th we’re seeing? 20-degrees in October – what is this, California? While this may seem amazing on the surface, there are some implications to consider. The country is warming at a rapid rate. In fact, data shows that Canada is warming at double the global average, with British Columbia accounting for more than its fair share.

While many households are doing their part to help stall climate change by taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, it’s clear that warmer temperatures are here to stay for the foreseeable future. This presents another important call-to-action for your household – it’s time to update your homeowners insurance policy. Here’s why.

5 Reasons Why Climate Change and Warming Temperatures in BC Have Created a New Urgency to Update Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Forest Fires Have Become a Seasonal Norm

For the Okanagan, Interior, and much of southern BC, summertime forest fires have become an unfortunate norm. This past summer, they wiped out the entire town of Lytton. The tragedy even made headlines in the NY Times.

Warming temperatures result in wildfires. Drought is a clear contributor, but warmer temperatures also increase the likelihood of lightening strikes that stoke the flames in BC forests. We have provided a detailed guide for how households can protect themselves for forest fires, but allow us to spoil the end which concludes with the only true way to gain peace of mind – an update to your homeowners insurance policy.

Hailstorms Are Also a New Normal

“As a result of anthropogenic warming, it is generally anticipated that low-level moisture and convective instability will increase, raising hailstorm likelihood and enabling the formation of larger hailstones” (Nature.com)

Hailstorms used to be a burden for our prairie province neighbors, but over the last few years they have become a damaging new normal in BC. As a result, we have released a hailstorm preparedness plan for your household. While roofing and home exterior upgrades are a great place to start, you must ensure that you have the most comprehensive homeowners insurance coverage possible.

Heavier Rainy Seasons

Climate change and warming in BC may result in hotter weather and drought conditions from spring until early autumn, but it flips the script once rainy season arrives. A warmer climate stimulates the evaporation of water from land and sea and allows our atmosphere to hold more moisture, which sets the stage for more extreme rain showers. As a result, overland flooding events will continue to put a damper on home ownership. Prior to 2016, there was no available overland flood insurance available in BC or in Canada, but climate change has changed that, for now (see below). Right now, you can secure overland flood insurance for your home.

Snowmelt Raising Flood Concerns Too

There’s another reason that you need to add overland flood insurance to your homeowners coverage today – snowmelt. While BC’s warming delays the onset of autumn, it also sets the table for a harsher winter. This circles back to how warmer temperatures evaporate more water into the atmosphere. When the cold weather does arrive, the added moisture in the atmosphere returns to us in the form of heavy snowfall, typically in February. The issue, is that significantly warmer weather lurks around the corner in spring. This results in snowmelt and subsequent flooding. Homes near BC floodplains remain on high alert all late winter and early spring, but even houses in urban areas deal with melting snowpack on their roofs and around foundations. It wasn’t that long ago that BC experienced it’s worst snowmelt flood on record. That record may fall again this winter, and/or the next. Get ready.

Coverage May Not Be Available to Those Who Wait

Considering a new home purchase? Insurance cannot be bought for homes in an alert area or an evacuation zone, and is also typically unavailable for purchase for properties within 25 kilometres of an active wildfire. This is a very important consideration for those considering a home purchase in an area that may experience wildfire activity within a 25 km range. It would be wise to consider purchasing your home and securing home insurance coverage outside of wildfire season, to ensure that you have home insurance in place before it becomes unavailable in your region.

By waiting to purchase your homeowners insurance coverage, you may run the risk of losing access to protection for your new home purchase. Have questions? We’re here to help! Contact Park Insurance today to speak with an independent broker.

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