Overview

The Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) provides financial assistance for uninsurable loss and damage caused by emergencies and disasters. The DRP helps return essential property to its basic, pre-disaster functional condition.

The DRP is the last recourse to assist you after a disaster. You must access your own insurance options first. When private insurance is considered readily and reasonably available for a disaster, costs associated with that disaster are not eligible for the DRP.

The DRP does not cover all types of damage or loss and does not typically cover the full cost of replacement.

Educating yourself on what your insurance program delivers is an important strategy that will help protect your family, home or business and help you recover from a disaster.

Disaster insurance coverage

Readily and reasonably available

Readily and reasonably available is defined as the ease of accessibility of insurance coverage for disaster events, and the amount of insurance coverage provided, relative to the level of risk.

Contact your local insurance company or broker to discuss your needs and what is covered.

The amount you pay for insurance coverage will depend on where you live and premiums will vary by insurance company and coverage type. You should be aware of the level of risk and purchase adequate insurance coverage for your property.

As insurance guidelines vary between insurers, you should check with your insurance provider about your coverage amounts, coverage limit maximums and any exclusions that may apply (e.g., what kind of sewer back-up damage is eligible or ineligible).

Repairing a damaged basement

Policy limits, eligibility and exclusions are important insurance considerations for overland flooding and sewer back-up damage in a disaster when recovery becomes the main concern of those affected.

For example, the typical cost to develop a finished basement in Alberta depends on the use, dimensions, number of rooms, layout and any custom specifications. Costs can range in price from $15,000 for a basic open space plus bathroom to $50,000 for a larger space. Some basements can be significantly higher in cost if there is a legal suite with a full kitchen and separate outdoor entrance added.

If you had to evacuate your home, the Insurance Bureau of Canada recommends that you keep receipts for expenses such as food, clothing and lodging.

Contact your insurance provider for more information.

Flooding – overland

Overland flooding is where water flows overland and seeps into buildings through windows, doors and cracks. This type of insurance is not yet considered readily and reasonably available to all Albertans.

Overland flooding commonly occurs:

  • when the volume of water in a river or stream exceeds the capacity of the channel
  • after heavy rainfall, especially in the spring, when the ground is still frozen or already saturated from previous storms
  • following rapid melting of snow and ice jams

Overland flood insurance is offered by the majority of insurance companies in Alberta. You are expected to purchase adequate overland flood insurance if it is available to you.

The amount you pay for coverage will depend on where you live and premiums will vary by insurance company and coverage type. If overland flood insurance is not readily and reasonably available to you, you may qualify for assistance through the DRP.

Insurance and disasters

Check with your insurance provider and ensure you have adequate coverage.

Flooding – sewer back-up

Sewer back-up insurance is considered readily and reasonably available in Alberta and policy holders are expected to maintain this insurance as part of their overall insurance planning.

Policy language concerning eligible and ineligible sewer back-up insurance can be complex. In exceptional circumstances, where an insurer does not provide sewer back-up coverage or maintains  ineligible language in their policies, if a Disaster Recovery Program is approved, it may facilitate financial assistance after all other avenues of support have been exhausted.

Wildfire

Wildfire events start in wild areas, such as a forest and can sometimes enter communities and cause extensive damage. Fire insurance is readily and reasonably available in Alberta and often includes assistance for costs incurred during an evacuation.

Tornadoes and high winds

High winds and tornadoes can cause loss and damage from flying debris or falling branches to homes, businesses, farming operations and public infrastructure. Insurance coverage for these events is considered readily and reasonably available in Alberta.

Snow, hail and ice storms

Damage to property from hail and ice storms, falling ice, flying debris, and snow entering a home or building through sudden openings or damage from frozen pipes can be devastating. This type of damage can affect homes, businesses, farming operations and public infrastructure. Insurance coverage for these events is considered readily and reasonably available in Alberta.

Earthquakes

Insurance coverage for earthquakes is considered readily and reasonably available as a supplementary coverage.

This supplementary private sector coverage, typically includes the loss or damage caused to the property and its contents.