Thousands of homes were damaged when the Bow and Elbow rivers flooded in Alberta this summer.  Provincial government estimates show well over $5 billion will be needed to rebuild infrastructure.

Bad weather and catastrophic events have been the norm in recent years, and now it’s starting to show up in our home insurance bills.  Insurance payouts caused by weather-related events have nearly tripled since 2008.

Related: How I Saved Over $300 On My House Insurance

A string of hail storms hit Lethbridge this summer and caused a lot of damage to houses and vehicles.  We had $7,200 worth of hail damage to our vehicle and another $15,000 in damage to the roof and siding on our home.

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when – about a month later – I received the following letter from our insurance broker:

As you are aware over the past few years there have been more frequent hail and wind storms in our area.  Last year, Wawanesa paid out $183 million in wind and hail claims alone; this accounted for 91 percent of all the claims paid out.

To keep the cost of insurance competitive, Wawanesa has made major changes to its policies in regards to wind and hail coverage.  In the next week you will be receiving your home insurance renewal from Wawanesa.  They have now implemented a separate deductible for wind and hail claims, and they have shown the cost associated with this mandatory coverage.

Your deductible for wind and hail coverage will now be $1,500 (your deductible for all other claims remains the same).

We are continuing to work and make sure that Wawanesa meets your property insurance needs and have reviewed your policy and believe this is still the best option for you today.

Home Insurance Bill Goes Through The Roof

Sure enough, I received the renewal letter and noticed the insurance premium for property coverage was $750, plus an additional $448 premium for hail and windstorm coverage, and another $85 premium for sewer back-up and water damage coverage.

Related: Why You Should Avoid Mortgage Life Insurance

That’s a 30 percent increase from last year’s home insurance bill!  The first thing I did was double-check that this was still a competitive rate by comparing quotes online at Kanetix.ca.

The best quote online was from RBC Insurance and it was for $1,287 per year – slightly more than the quote I received to renew with Wawanesa.

In a recent column, Rob Carrick ranted about the home insurance industry and called for plainer language when it comes to highlighting cheaper coverage options for home owners.  He said, “Stop acting like raising prices is the only possible answer to your business challenges.”

Our broker suggested we could look at adjusting the house value or the amount of overall insurance coverage to help lower the premiums.

In the end I decided to renew the policy as is and start budgeting more for house insurance premiums (and the deductible for possible claims) now and in the future.

Related: 10 Tips To Save Money On Car Insurance

Have you renewed your home insurance policy recently?  How much more did you have to pay?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

17 Comments

  1. Sandi Martin on September 9, 2013 at 7:13 am

    I probably would have done the same…and grumbled to myself at how opaque insurance language is to consumers.

    I need to find an insurance broker willing to let me in on all the secrets of the trade, because the courses they offer on insurance for financial planning? Not so helpful.

    • Echo on September 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

      @Sandi – That’s probably the best way to get the information in terms we can all understand – that’s assuming, of course, that the broker also understands all the language and can clearly explain how it works.

  2. Michelle on September 9, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Luckily our insurance is still low, but we have recently received a letter stating that there have been so many tornadoes in our area that it may be going up. UGH!

  3. Shelly on September 9, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Ours went up too – 30% – Wawanesa as well and we have claims free status. I did call around but it doesn’t seem any better with other companies. Although Wawanesa seems to be the only one that has separated out the Hail and Windstorm damage into a separate premium. Since 2009 our insurance has gone up 63%! We had our one and only claim in 2009 for sewer back up but are currently considered claims free.

    • Echo on September 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      @Shelly – a 63% increase since 2009 is pretty crazy. We have also been claim-free until this most recent hail storm.

      Yes, it’s interesting that Wawanesa has separated out the hail and windstorm premium (which is still mandatory) and that they’ve jacked up the deductible to $1,500.

  4. jim on September 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I deal with Wawanesa also and received a similar comment on my renewal and also about a 30% increase…
    but this was before the flood damage in S. Alberta earlier this year. So I am anticipating another huge increase when my insurance renews next spring.

  5. M. O'Byrne on September 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    The insurance industry in most provinces have taken over the regulation of their own activities by setting up an organization to provide oversight and respond to complaints. Governments have been only too happy to hand over these annoying tasks and leave civil servants to do what they do best without any reduction in staff or budgets as a result of the transfer of work.

    I’ll leave it to you to figure out where this leaves the consumer.

  6. fiscally fit on September 9, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    One thing is certain, the insurance companies will always get their money back haha

  7. Rob on September 9, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Did your broker also tell you the reprecussion for “adjusting your home value”?! NOT a good idea. It would cost your THOUSANDS in the event of a claim. (We just went through this with a rental property in Medicine Hat, and it cost us about $40,000.)

  8. My Own Advisor on September 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Luckily our insurance has remained steady but I suspect it’s going up this fall.

    Sucks.

    I need a beer.

    Mark

  9. A L on September 11, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Mine went up 25%…I shopped around as well but found nothing cheaper, ended up renewing it like you did….
    =(

  10. JR on September 11, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    As a member of the scientific community i am amazed that people don’t make the connection between how they live and the increase in number of severe weather events and their frequency. At recent insurance and military conferences they are well aware of what is to come. It just hasn’t seemed to filter down to the consumer. We reap what we sow.Never mind a better world for your grandchildren. It is affecting us.

    • Rockchips on September 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Right. Let’s all move back into the caves.

  11. Anton Ivanov on September 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    That definitely sucks! But more importantly – I hope you and your family stay safe and avoid the areas severely affected by this bad weather.

  12. Charlie Echo on September 15, 2013 at 4:32 am

    I would love to see an insurance COOPERATIVE established on a regional/provincial level in areas that do suffer from recurring concerns; i.e. annual flooding, inclement weather, drought, forest fire, drought, etc…

    a NON-profit, transparent, user-operated organization would save individuals THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, quality of insurance and appropriate insurance would be the norm, and most importantly you can visit them and vice versa.

    Coops work with…
    banks -> Credit Unions
    Argiculture -> Farmers Coop UFA

    and more examples.

  13. Roberta (Bobbie) Bowman on January 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Im with wawanesa also but my deductible for hail n wind is 2,500.00..im not impressed..my premium is 806.00 and on top of that H n w.im paying 808.00 plus 155.00. for sewer backup…i think insurance companies are sticking it to us real good…we are basically paying for everyone elses claims…ive never had a claim in all the years ive had my house..i hate insurance companies!!!!!

  14. Jonathon on February 24, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    @ Roberta The idea of insurance is that the premiums of the many pay for the losses of the few. If there are a lot of losses the premium will go up.

Leave a Comment