A rural property in Alberta is a dream come true for many. There are huge skies, rolling green hills, and the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background. There’s more than enough room for everyone to feel as though they have their own private sanctuary outside of Alberta’s major cities, but living semi-remotely comes with its own particular concerns.
One of the worst things that can happen to a rural homeowner is an out-of-control fire. Rural homeowners are often several kilometres from firefighting services, which means that should a fire occur, it could take a while for help to get there. Damage could be devastating, and on top of that, without proper insurance a major bill may soon be in the mail as well.
Do you have firefighting insurance?
A Global News article published on April 6 should be cause for rural property owners to pause to look closely at their home insurance coverage. A family in Beaver County, southeast of Edmonton had a small fire turn into a big problem when a stray ash ignited a propane tank. After 24 hours, the fire was still going, and the fire chief warned the property owners that things were starting to become very expensive.
That was when the family realized their municipal taxes would not cover the full cost of the firefighters being on their property. Counties in Alberta set up their own fee structure when it comes to firefighting services, and they vary from place to place. In the case of Beaver Country, property taxes are collected to provide the availability of firefighters, to keep them trained, and to maintain their hall. Property owners are then expected to pay at least part of the cost of the firefighting services. Without firefighting insurance, they could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars.
After checking their policy, the Beaver County family found that they did have a small amount of firefighting insurance included in their coverage — up to $10,000. Due to fear of skyrocketing costs, the family was forced to release the fire crew early, taking on responsibility for finally extinguishing the propane tank fire on their own. Even then, they would end up with a bill totaling more than $62,000 in total.
The basics of rural firefighting insurance
If you live in a rural area, make sure that firefighting insurance is included in your coverage. If you are not clear on the terms of your policy, give one of the experienced brokers here at Lane’s Insurance a call. No matter how a fire starts on your property – whether by an act of nature, such as a lightning strike, or by an act of negligence, such as leaving a candle burning unattended – you will more than likely be required to pay at least part of the cost of firefighting.
Firefighting insurance endorsements should include both fire department charges and firefighting expenses. This ensures you are covered for charges levied by counties against property owners for firefighting as well as for circumstances such as a neighbour causing a grass fire that spreads to your property.
Fire safety for rural homes
The best way to avoid having to file an insurance claim because of a fire on your property is to avoid one starting in the first place. Protect yourself and your property as much as you can by always using caution around open flames. Have a number of fire extinguishers handy around your property, and consider installing sprinkler systems. Rural property owners are also wise to install a complete home security system that is integrated with your smoke detectors that will warn you when there’s something wrong even when you are not there.
Given that Alberta is also home to severe wild weather incidents, including a massive wildfire that happened at the end of March, rural homeowners should also take care to keep their properties as clear as possible to help stop a fire’s spread.
- Remove tinder such as dried branches, leaves and debris from your property and gutters
- Ensure flammables are properly stored
- Make sure there are no branches or vegetation near power lines
- Keep combustibles well away from your home
- Do not pile wood near any structure
- Do not use mulch near your foundation
Also ensure you are consistently keeping your home inventory up to date and that it is kept in a safe place.
Call Lane’s Insurance of Calgary provides excellent home insurance customer service and competitive rates
Lane’s Insurance is an independent brokerage, offering excellent customer service, outstanding claims support and highly competitive rates on a complete range of home insurance products. Remember that Lane’s helps you save 20% by bundling your home and auto insurance together. Contact us at our Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, or greater Alberta offices.