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Wacky weather could push up premiums
A branch from a huge tree in Mary Ho's yard came down in the storm and trapped her inside.
CTV Calgary Staff
Published Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:57PM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 5:16PM MDT
The cost of the damage from September’s snowfall is being tabulated and insurance rates are expected to climb as a result.
Premiums in Alberta could be pushed up by all the claims and rates are rising faster here than anywhere else in the country.
Mary Ho lives in Varsity and trees in her yard took a beating in last week’s storm.
“The part of the tree, this part, fell and the leaves and the branches were all over the roof that's how big it was and it cut off, we couldn't come out of the house,” said Ho. “It was awful, it was awful, you think it's dangerous now but everything was piled up on the lawn you couldn't get out of the lawn.”
The branch was cut down with the help of firefighters and her neighbours.
Ho is not alone and for many the bills are mounting as the cleanup continues.
Insurance doesn't cover damage to trees but it will cover damage caused by them.
That means rates could climb again not only for homeowners but renters as well.
“Everybody's costs are going up and from a landlord perspective at some point in time, you have to realize that if the costs continue to increase it cuts into the bottom line. Well like any business person you have to pass those costs on in order to keep your business afloat,” said Gerry Baxter from the Calgary Residential Rental Association.
Insurers say Calgary is seeing bigger jumps than anywhere else because of the wacky weather, which seems to be happening more often.
Over the last 18 months, there have been sudden wind and hail storms and freezing temperatures followed by Chinooks, which has led to burst pipes and flooding
Brenda Klassen is with Renfrew Insurance and says people who rent out homes in Calgary are especially feeling the pinch.
“If there hasn't been any claims you're looking at probably a 30 percent increase in rates. If you've had claims we've seen 200 percent or more in rate increases plus your deductibles are increasing as well. Flood is just not available right now on the fringe or in a flood zone and minimum deductibles are going up,” said Klassen.
Insurers expect claims from tree damage to be negligible compared to other weather events but the costs across Canada keep going up.
Weather related claims hovered around $1 B a year until last year when they topped $3B.
(With files from Chris Epp)