Wind damage: who pays for repairs?
Published Friday, February 1, 2013 9:59AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 1, 2013 11:14AM EST
Thousands of Hydro-Quebec customers were still without power Friday morning after strong winds brought down trees, power lines, and portable shelters across Quebec.
At the windstorm's peak more than 110,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, and as of 7 a.m. Friday 17,000 were still deprived of power.
The heavy winds started Thursday morning as an unseasonably warm spell surrendered to cold Arctic air. By the afternoon, winds of up to 100 km/h were being reported across the south of the province.
Now that the wind is gone people will be certain to contact their insurance companies to make claims, but not everything is covered.
"People would get coverage for their home or any contents which would be damaged by the wind but trees themselves are not covered," said Anne Morin of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The Board recommends that homeowners make wind damage claims as soon as possible.
In most cases insurance companies have 60 days to pay but will also assess the damage to determine how much they owe.
Lawyer Christopher Dimakos said people should go around their damaged property first, and make a list of all the damage they spot.
"Have an estimate to understand what the extent of those costs will be because many times the insurance company might undervalue what the extent of the damage may be, and you'll be left paying the difference," said Dimakos.
He also said that sometimes existing damage can prevent a homeowner from making a successful claim, giving the example of damage to a roof that was already in poor shape.
"For instance, they say 'if your roof would have been in good condition then you wouldn't have had this issue' so sometimes the condition of the home can actually preclude you from getting any compensation," said Dimakos.
Strong winds brought down a tree in Montreal