House insurance Calgary has been affected by the COVID19 pandemic. Homeowners are anxious on how their insurance cover stands and insurance companies are overwhelmed with emails and phone calls from distressed consumers who have questions related to their insurance.
In this situation, professional insurance brokerage firms are playing a key role by advising their customers on how their insurance is affected and whether any action is required from their side.
Vacant or unoccupied home during COVID19
A vacant home is a home in which where the occupants have moved out, with an intention of not returning. These homes may be furnished or non-furnished; and typically include newly built or newly purchased homes where the tenant has not moved-in as yet.
Unoccupied homes are those, where the occupant is not there presently, but his possessions are still in the home and he plans to return. Due to travel restrictions imposed during COVID19 many homes have been rendered unoccupied and in such cases homeowners are informing their insurance company about their situation and what they are doing to either come back, or have someone look up their house in their absence.
Additional living expenses (ALE) cover during COVID19
In case you are not able to live in your own home due to COVID19, and it remains unoccupied and you have to live elsewhere and incur expenses, then you will not be entitled to file a claim for ALE cover for these expenses.
The reason is that ALE covers only those expenses that you incur when a home becomes unlivable due to reasons of physical damage, or during an evacuation order from a civil authority. As COVID19 regulations such as physical distancing and travel restrictions are different, ALE rules do not apply.
Rental income insurance cover during COVID19
Short term rental operators who let out their property for a short duration to tourists are facing loss of income due to lockdowns. Similarly, landlords and property owners whose houses are unoccupied due to fears of COVID19 are also facing loss of rental income.
In both cases landlords cannot file a claim for loss of rental income, since such a claim is only filed in those cases where rental property cannot be occupied because it has suffered physical damage due to an insured loss.
Vacant homes during COVID19
Landlords who let out their property on short term basis are facing losses as their tenants, mostly tourists, have cancelled their travel plans. As these properties lie vacant, it is best for them to inform their house insurance Calgary broker and explain them the situation.
Recommended action in such cases is to:
– Close the main water supply to prevent occurrence of burst pipes that can cause water damage. This happens in extreme winter. Leaks can also happen in pipes of dishwasher and washing machine during summers.
– Maintain the upkeep of the house to indicate that occupants are still in the house and to confuse the burglars or thieves.
– Install indoor lights that can be timed to become on after the sun sets.
– Don’t let deliveries pile up at your front door – newspapers, flyers or mail.
– Install CCTV cameras as an additional security measure.
Tenants during COVID19
Tenants are unsure on how they are going to pay the rent as the COVID19 pandemic has caused business disruption and dampened business sentiment. Salaried tenants fear the risk of layoffs, reduced pay-packets and longer working hours.
To take care of this risk and to remove uncertainty, the Canadian federal government has announced plans to help tenants during this time. Those tenants who are impacted with financial hardship can easily apply for federal benefits offered by the government.
As the COVID19 crisis is still on and likely to continue, the government is bringing out new measures to help both home owners and tenants. These measures will also have a trickle-down effect on house insurance Calgary and products and services related to it.