Insurance Matters: Changing Weather
With climate change, being well insured matters more than ever
Life’s full of changes, and weather is one of them. In Canada, severe weather is on the rise, and climate change is partly to blame. But while we can’t control extreme natural events, having the right insurance can help us better protect our homes and cars.
From wildfires and floods to storms and wind, here’s why our changing climate means it’s more important than ever to be well insured.
In homes, floods can destroy possessions and cause water damage and foundation issues. In cars, they can wreck interiors, electronics and mechanical systems.
Populations are growing in floodplains. And while 1.7 million Canadian households are now at high risk for flooding1, 94% of Canadians in flood-risk zones don’t know their risk2.
What’s more, that risk is growing. Current data3 shows that, over the last 100 years, floods — including extreme ones — are becoming more frequent in Canada.
Extreme temperatures and warmer weather in Canada have led to lightning and longer hot, dry periods — a recipe for more frequent, higher intensity wildfires4, which threaten property and possessions.
Looking at 10-year average wildfire counts in Canada, British Colombia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick all exceeded their provincial averages in 20185.
Before the end of the century6, forest fires are likely to increase between 75% to 140%.
Extreme temperatures also affect storms. And the rise in severe snow, ice and hail storms means even more risks to protect against, from auto accidents to roof problems and damage from falling objects.
Freezing rain is more frequent than it used to be in Canada, and it’s only going to increase.
Based on historic averages in Ontario, by 2065, the number of days with freezing rain between December and February is expected to go up in that province by 35% to 100%.7 Other regions in Canada could see a similar increase.
Wind and tornadoes
With more frequent severe storms, we can also expect a rise in wind, but it’s still unsure for tornadoes. What we know is that these events can seriously damage homes and cars.
A 2018 Manitoba tornado was graded an EF4 — the second highest damage rank on the Enhanced Fujita scale — with winds of up to 310 km/h. Meanwhile, an Ontario windstorm that same year was so powerful, it was the most costly insured event the province had seen in the previous five years8.
We can’t predict when extreme weather will strike. But knowing it’s likely to occur more and more often gives us even more reason to prepare. Which is why having the right insurance today is more important than it’s ever been.
1 Floodsmart Canada
2 University of Waterloo, Partners for Action, Floods Happen Infographic
3 Freshwater Alliance
4 Canada Council of Forest Ministers, Fire Load Trends Report
5 Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, National Fire Situation Report
6 Government of Canada, Canada in a Changing Climate
7 Government of Canada, Canada in a Changing Climate
9 The Globe and Mail