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More than half of polled Canadians misinformed about earthquake coverage


August 26, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter


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The majority of Canadians included in a new survey from Square One Insurance believe that the government will provide financial assistance to homeowners and renters for damage from earthquakes.

“According to our recent survey, virtually all Canadians correctly assume that earthquakes can occur anywhere in the country,” Daniel Mirkovic, president of Vancouver-based Square One said in a statement.

“But, a majority wrongly believes the government will provide financial assistance for earthquake damage.”

Square One used Google Consumer Surveys to poll 593 Canadians on earthquake-related questions. Of those, 90% agreed that earthquakes can occur anywhere in Canada.

However, 56% said they believe the government will provide financial assistance to homeowners and renters for earthquake damage.

Thirty percent were also unaware that earthquake protection is automatically included in some home insurance policies or can be added to them.

Nearly half (46%) also said they have little confidence that home insurance companies would be able to pay covered claims resulting from a major earthquake.

“The provincial and territorial disaster financial assistance programs only cover damages due to uninsurable events, like overland flooding and groundwater seepage,” Square One noted.“Since earthquake damage is insurable, homeowners and renters are not eligible for assistance under the government programs.”

Based on a $300,000 house and its contents, Square One estimates that earthquake insurance would cost as little as $15 annually in Toronto, but could be up to $515 annually in Richmond, B.C.

Coverage in Vancouver would be roughly $332 annually. The same insurance in Winnipeg would be roughly $25; in Montreal, $178; in Edmonton, $284 and in Halifax, $313.

For those renting their homes, or living in apartments or condos, earthquake insurance usually ranges from $5 to $50 per year, according to Square One.