Floods in British Columbia: Insurance will not cover landslide damage on private property

Vancouver –

A family living near the shore of Harrison Lake is grateful they were not injured when a mudslide roared over their property during the height of heavy rain last weekend – but they were disappointed to learn that their owner’s insurance does not cover the cost of cleaning and repairs.

Mervyn Thomas said it was around 5:30 p.m. Sunday night when the slide fell.

“It looked like a freight train going through my living room,” he said. “Just crashing rocks and smashing trees and the creaking of trees is all I could hear. I’ve never felt that fear for my life, ever. I thought, ‘It is. like that I go out ‘.

The landslide destroyed two vehicles and a boat, destroyed the carport, damaged parts of the main house and buried the yard under six feet of trees, rocks and mud.

Thomas said ICBC would pay for damaged vehicles, but he was dismayed to learn that home insurance in Canada does not cover landslides – a phenomenon he never imagined could even occur on its property.

“And then when you do, and you find out you don’t have insurance, it’s actually heartbreaking,” he said.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, landslide insurance is not even offered to homeowners.

“In these cases, if insurance coverage is not available, government supports were recently announced and we encourage people to explore these options and start this application process,” said Rob De Pruis of the IBC.

The province this week announced a disaster financial assistance plan, which will cover 80 percent of eligible damage costs up to $ 300,000 for properties damaged in the storm.

In February 2020, a different atmospheric river dropped more than 100 millimeters of rain in the area, wiping out a mile-long section of Rockwell Drive near Thomas’ home and forcing evacuations.

With so much severe weather happening in British Columbia over the past two years, Thomas worries it will only be a matter of time before something similar happens.

“I am really concerned about climate change. We’ve had all the forest fires in the summer, the extreme heat and now extreme rains, ”he said. “Seems like everything has changed and everything is going to extremes now.”

He estimates that cleaning and repairs to his property could cost around $ 50,000 and he does not yet know how much of that could be covered by the province’s disaster assistance plan.

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