Unfortunately, it appears that a young driver made the decision to get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, in London, Ontario. Her decision resulted in the car crashing into the side of a home on Woodman Avenue. The crash caused a leak in a natural gas line, that then caused an explosion that rocked Old East Village. The result? Homes have been destroyed, cars, sheds and pools have been damaged and families have been displaced.
We have had a lot of questions from friends, family and neighbours about how these families will recover from this traumatic experience, and how their insurance claim is handled to get them back on their feet.
How is a claim handled?
Here at McConville Omni, we have a dedicated claims specialist named Jeannette. Jeanette is our clients point of contact throughout complex claims, and she facilitates the relationship between our clients, our brokerage and the insurance company’s claims adjuster.
In this particular situation, Jeannette was able to identify all of our clients who live in the Woodman Ave. area. She then attempted to connect with everyone to make sure that they were safe, and to see if we could do anything to help. Unfortunately, a few of our clients were greatly impacted by the explosion. Jeannette was able to ensure that their insurance claim was filed immediately, and that they received contact by their company’s adjuster immediately.
These clients will receive ongoing support from Jeannette on this long journey of rebuilding their homes and lives.
Property Insurance – how does it work?
While a homeowner or property insurance policy is not required by law, most people have one to ensure that their investment and their personal belongings are protected. Property Insurance affords you the ability to replace and rebuild your belongings after a disaster.
A standard property insurance policy provides coverage for your home and belongings in the event of a “destructive” incident. The typical destructive events are flooding, fire, hail or wind. It can cover anything from the structure itself, to personal property – furniture, artwork, technology, etc. – as well as detached structures that are within the confines of the property, such as fences and sheds. Most policies also cover your liability for any injuries or property damage that you or your family cause to others.
Since your property policy is protecting your belongings, you have the option to add extra coverage for specialty items, such as jewelry, artwork or collectables. This is called “scheduling” and it lets you cover these items in particular, noting their higher value.
Where do they go and who pays for it?While the last thing you want to think about is finding a new place to live if something happens to your home, it is the reality of the situation. If your home is completely uninhabitable, then your adjuster will work with you to find short or long term housing for you. They will attempt to meet the needs of your current lifestyle, as to not disrupt your typical routine. For example, they will try to find a home in your kid’s school district. Thankfully, there is a coverage in your insurance policy that helps to cover these expenses.
This coverage is called “Additional Living Expenses” and it is used to cover the cost of alternate accommodations and living expenses for those who are not able to return to their home as a result of insured damage.
Additional Living Expenses will provide you with money to allow you to maintain your usual lifestyle, and compensate you for the additional costs of living elsewhere when your home is destroyed or uninhabitable until it is repaired or replaced, or until the "Additional Living Expense" limit is reached on your policy.
What about all their stuff?
Unfortunately, it’s not just the physical building that is damaged. The contents and belongings are likely lost or damaged and need to be replaced.
Contents coverage insures your possessions against quite a few things, but a few would be theft, damage or vandalism. Contents coverage typically covers all of the items you own – furniture, furnishings, clothing, electronics, sports equipment, bicycles, and toys. As we talked about before, you can add special coverage to high value items, such as collectibles or jewelry, by “scheduling them”.
While the insurance companies will likely provide the victims with cash right away to cover their basic, immediate needs, it will take a little bit more time to get reimbursement for all of their possessions. If possible, providing serial numbers or receipts will help to accurately understand the value of the items, and photos or videos do the same.
What if they were renting?
Personal property coverage is also included in renters insurance policies and covers your furniture, clothing, electronics, and most other belongings you have in the rental. If the building were to catch fire and your belongings were destroyed, your renter’s insurance would help pay to replace those losses. Your landlord’s insurance for the physical home is intended to cover them and their property, not you and your belongings.
Loss Of Use is a coverage on your renters insurance policy designed for situations like a fire where the apartment is uninhabitable. Much like the Additional Living Expenses coverage mentioned above, it pays for additional living expenses when you suffer a covered loss, like a fire. Things like a hotel while your apartment is being repaired after a fire, for example, are covered under renters insurance loss of use.
Are their cars covered for damage, too?
Most homeowner's insurance policies include coverage for personal effects and structures on your property, but some of the auto insurance policy would protect the car while on the property.
This is one of the reasons that having your home and auto insurance bundled together with the same insurance company can be advantageous. Not only could one deductible be applied for the claim instead of two separate ones, you only have to deal with one insurance company while settling the claim, and your broker is able to better understand and provide advice to you on your situation.
So, what now?
While the families work to regain their routines, the insurance companies will be working with them to determine the value of their possessions and determining the next steps for their home. Do they want to rebuild? Repair? Move?
Jeannette will be with our clients every step of the way to make sure that they are being taken care of.