Insurance and disasters

Information on types of disasters and respective insurance coverage.


The Disaster Recovery Program (DRP) provides financial assistance for uninsurable loss and damage caused by disasters. Local authorities need to apply for the program, once it’s approved, residents can apply under the program. The DRP helps return essential property to its basic, pre-disaster functional condition.

Though several types of disasters may cause uninsurable losses, financial assistance is only available to residents after their local authority has been approved for a DRP.

The DRP is the last recourse to assist you after a disaster. You must access your own insurance options and any other available sources of assistance first. When insurance is considered readily and reasonably available at the time of a disaster event, costs associated with insurable loss and damage are not eligible for DRP assistance.

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency considers a peril as “insurable”, if insurance was readily and reasonably available from local insurers, and reasonably priced comparable to the level of risk. If the individual or local authority did not have insurance in place for that peril, it is not eligible for DRP assistance. The DRP does not consider uninsurable components of insurable perils. It is important to talk with your insurer about these perils and to confirm you are covered.

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

Educating yourself on what your insurance policy covers is one of the most important strategies to help your family, home or business recover from a disaster event.

Disaster insurance coverage

Questions to ask your insurance company

Being properly insured builds individual and community resilience. In order to be properly insured, you should know what your homeowner, tenant, or commercial policy covers. Consider asking your insurance provider these questions:

  • What types of water damage coverage does my insurance policy cover?
  • If my house experiences sewer back-up and flooding at the same time, what will my policy cover?
  • Are there any incentives or discounts if I install and maintain a backflow preventer or sump pump?
  • If there’s wind damage to my property, what is the difference in coverage between a basic property policy and a comprehensive policy?
  • If my property experiences hail damages, what are the coverage limits for my property?

For more information, read tips for buying adequate property insurance for insurable perils in Alberta.

Readily and reasonably available

The term “readily and reasonably available” refers to the ease of access to insurance coverage for perils and the amount of insurance coverage provided, relative to the level of risk.

Contact your insurance provider to discuss your needs and what is covered.

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

As insurance products vary between providers, you should check with your insurance provider on your coverage amounts, limit maximums and exclusions.

Insurance deductibles are not eligible for DRP assistance.

Repairing a damaged basement

Insurance policy limits, eligibility and exclusions are important considerations for overland flooding and sewer back-up damages resulting from a disaster. At minimum, one should try to have enough insurance coverage to repair a damaged basement, as this is the most common part of property that is damaged by flood events.


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.

Most home and tenant insurance policies provide coverage for evacuation costs. Contact your insurance provider for more information.

Flooding – overland

Overland flooding occurs when water flows enters buildings through windows and doors or seeps in through cracks in the basement. Overland flood insurance products are increasingly available, but are not yet considered to be 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

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 provider and policy. If overland flood insurance is not readily and reasonably available to you, you may qualify for assistance through the DRP.

Three reasons why you should prepare your home and property from flooding

Available Insurance coverage

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

The following are examples of types of disaster insurance coverage available for Albertans:

  • Flooding – sewer back-up

    Sewer back-up insurance is generally considered readily and reasonably available in Alberta and Albertans are expected to maintain this type of insurance coverage.

    Insurance policy language concerning sewer back-up coverage can be complex. Check with your insurance provider to learn if your policy has overland flooding and/or sewer back-up coverage.

  • Wildfire

    Wildfires are unwanted or unplanned natural or human-caused fires that burn in forested, grassland or other vegetative areas. Wildfires 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, high winds, wind bursts and other wind related events

    High winds and tornadoes can cause loss and damage from flying debris or falling branches to property. Insurance coverage for this type of loss and damage 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 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 for earthquakes is considered readily and reasonably available for Albertans through the purchase of supplementary coverage.

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