Floods, wildfires, voluntary sector and property insurance

Insurance-related information on floods, wildfires, voluntary sector, property insurance, complaints and preparing for emergencies.

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Information for insurance consumers

Claims, disputes and links to resources


If you have questions, you can contact Insurance Bureau of Canada's Consumer Information Centre:

Toll free: 1-844-227-5422 (1-844-2ask-IBC)
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ibc.ca

Claim disputes

Please see insurance consumer complaints.

Links to insurance resources

Property insurance

5 things homeowners should know

  1. Before a loss occurs, it is important to work with your insurance broker or insurance company to understand your policy. Ask them what's covered and what's not.
  2. If a disaster happens, insurance companies will be expected to honour their contractual obligations. But they are not expected to cover anything not set out in your policy.
  3. Sewer backup coverage is generally available to Albertans, and many insurers now offer coverage for losses caused by overland flooding (such as excess rainfall runoff).
  4. Prevention is always the best strategy. See the Insurance Bureau of Canada's website (www.ibc.ca) for tips on how to prepare for disasters, including water-related.
  5. If you're not happy with your current insurance coverage, shop around. You may be able to find a better fit elsewhere.


Overland flooding

Overland flooding, where water flows overland and seeps into buildings through windows, doors and cracks, is one of the most frequent and costly natural hazards in Canada. Floods have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians and cause millions of dollars in damages each year.

Some insurance companies are now providing overland flood insurance. In those cases where overland flood insurance is not readily and reasonably available, the Disaster Recovery Program may still be available to eligible Albertans. The Alberta government encourages all homeowners, tenants, and small business owners to contact their insurance companies to find out what options are available to best protect them from disasters.

Water damage from a sewer backup may be covered (subject to limits and exclusions) if specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased. Property insurance is not a mandated product, unlike basic automobile insurance, so each insurance company will have its own policy wording and coverage limits to consider. Contact your broker or insurance company to review your policy.

The government expects all insurance companies to honour the contracts they have with their customers. Insurance companies will not be expected to go above and beyond their contractual obligations, as some voluntarily chose to do following the 2013 Southern Alberta floods.

Before a flood

Your insurance policy may not insure against floods. Review your property insurance policies and call your insurance company or broker if you have questions about your coverage. You can also change insurance companies if you do not feel that your current insurance policies meet your needs.
There are preventative tips to reduce the risks associated with flooding, such as:

  • moving valuable items from your basement to higher levels in your home
  • clear eavestroughs and downspouts — if safe to do so — to direct water away from your home
  • asking someone to check your property if you are away

Additional resources

After a flood

First steps to take if you have property damage:

  1. Contact your insurance company.
  2. Take photos to document the damage.
  3. Keep any receipts for expenses incurred from flooding.

Vehicle damage

Damage to vehicles from water is usually covered on an auto insurance policy if you have purchased physical damage coverage. This coverage is not mandatory - review your auto insurance policy and contact your insurance company.


2016 Wood Buffalo wildfire: insurance claim deadline extended

The Insurance Act sets out a 2-year deadline for claims to be settled. The first insured losses from the fire were reported on May 3, 2016. Additional losses were reported in the days that followed.

As of May 10, 2018, 97% of the residential insurance claims resulting from the disaster had been settled, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). This means about 900 residential claims remained unresolved at that time, of which 85% had received an extension.

Any residents experiencing difficulties with their insurance claims are encouraged to contact Alberta's Superintendent of Insurance at 780-643-2237 or [email protected].

Publications and resources

If you are impacted by wildfires

Contact your insurance company, agent or broker.

If you need help identifying who your insurance company is, contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada:

Keep any receipts for expenses incurred.

Most home and tenant's insurance policies provide coverage for additional living expenses if residents are required to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order or if they are unable to return to their damaged homes.

Your insurance company may reimburse you for reasonable additional expenses to cover food, lodging, and other necessities. It is important to keep receipts for expenses you have incurred.

Contact your insurance provider to see if you are eligible.

Property insurance

Nearly all property insurance policies provide coverage for fire, including but not limited to wildfire.

Property insurance is not a mandatory product, unlike basic automobile insurance. This means each insurance company establishes its own property insurance policy wording, coverage limits, and price.

Call your insurance company, agent or broker to assist you.

Vehicle insurance

Damage to vehicles from fire is usually covered under an automobile insurance policy if you have purchased comprehensive or all perils coverage.

This coverage is not mandatory. Check your policy or contact your insurance provider.

Voluntary sector

See the following resources:

Disaster Recovery Programs

Disaster recovery programs (DRPs) provide financial assistance for uninsurable property damage, loss and other expenses after an extraordinary event. Municipalities apply for DRP on behalf of residents.


Government of Alberta resources:

Insurance Bureau of Canada resources:

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Connect with the Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Insurance:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-643-2237
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Fax: 780-420-0752
Email: [email protected]

Alberta Superintendent of Insurance
Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Financial Sector Regulation and Policy
402 Terrace Building
9515 107 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5K 2C3