A word of warning for evacuees before making major purchases to replace losses from fires - InfoNews

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A word of warning for evacuees before making major purchases to replace losses from fires

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August 04, 2017 - 4:43 PM

KAMLOOPS - Amidst all the chaos and confusion that comes with being evacuated is the added burden of dealing with insurance companies and making sure that what you buy while evacuated will actually be covered when it comes time to make a claim.

Aaron Sutherland, vice president for the Pacific Division of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says most additional costs incurred due to the wildfire like paying for dry-cleaning if your hotel doesn't have a laundromat or added food costs are generally covered, but where people can run into trouble is when they start buying more than what they need to survive.

"The insurance coverage is there to help you with expenses you have over and above your normal expenses as a result of being displaced," says Sutherland. "Typical policies cover things like food, accommodations, laundry services, and things of that nature. Anything over and above that should really be discussed with you insurance provider."

This means families that have decided to purchase toys for their kids to replace things lost in the fire or people who have already replaced vehicles they believe to be destroyed may be in for a rude awakening when it comes time to go through the claims process. How long does it take for claims to go through? It depends on the policy and what is claimed, but don't expect it to be quick.

Sutherland adds a key thing to keep in mind for evacuees is that most policies will only offer compensation for 14 days following an evacuation. Many evacuations in the province have passed the two week mark already. Once again, the recommendation is to contact your insurance provider to find out what you can and should do if your coverage period is over.

If there are purchases that don't get covered or your coverage period runs out and you are stuck paying for the added costs of the evacuation the claim can be disputed, though Sutherland says it is better to know ahead of time what you can and can't claim rather than going through the dispute process.

While insurance agents and volunteers are no longer on hand at the Kamloops Youth Soccer Association building at McArthur Island Park, at times they can now be found at the Emergency Social Services Centre at the Sandman Centre.

For more information on B.C. wildfires, go here.


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