Canadian Underwriter

Why this insurer does not have to pay additional living expenses for campground fees

March 29, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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An insurance company does not have to pay a flood victim the cost of living in a campground because that client had a pre-booked vacation trip, the British Columbia civil resolution tribunal has ruled.

Patrick Strange took the Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company to the CRT after the insurer denied a claim for $1,481.03.

Strange made the claim to CNS, a unit of RSA Canada, after a ruptured pipe made his townhouse uninhabitable on May 11, 2018.

Strange reported the incident, a restoration company was brought in and he moved his family into a trailer.

The Strange family first stayed at a storage location and then left with the trailer to the United States.

An adjuster told Strange that CNS would cover campground expenses after Strange returned to Canada, but not for the trip to the U.S.

The trip to the U.S. was planned before the flood, which is why CRT member Kate Campbell ruled in favour of Canadian Northern Shield in Strange v. Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company le Bouclier du Nord canadien, compagnie d’assurance, released March 27, 2019.

“He paid the same amount for U.S. campgrounds as he would have if there were no flood,” Campbell wrote.

Strange’s policy with CNS says additional living expenses (ALE) are payable if the insured residence is uninhabitable due to damage from an insured peril. The policy states the ALE covers “any necessary increase in living expenses, including moving expenses, incurred by you so that your household can maintain its normal standard of living.”

Strange had argued he considered cancelling the trip but proceeded because he could not find campground accommodation in his local area. Strange also argued that the insurer did not provide any direction about what kind of accommodation was acceptable, the policy does not limit what types of temporary accommodation are covered.

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