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We have all been riveted and deeply saddened by news reports of the Fort McMurray wildfires that continue to burn, causing billions in damages to the homes, businesses and government property in Fort McMurray and surrounding regions.

While we are all doing everything we can to help those affected, there are steps that you can take as a homeowner to ensure that you are adequately covered for a similar situation. How you can mitigate the risk to your home and property are included below, along with how to get ready with fire disaster preparedness.

Fire Disaster Awareness

The increasing prevalence of wide scale wildfires in places like Fort McMurray and Slave Lake has increased all of our awareness of these types of disasters.

The President and CEO if the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Don Forgeron recently spoke about these issues. During his speech, Forgeron stated that “the devastating wildfires, which continue to burn in Northern Alberta, are the most recent and alarming evidence that extreme weather events have increased in both frequency and severity, in Canada. Storms, causing flooding and wildfires in recent years, have turned extreme and at times, tragic.”

When discussing solutions, he urged all governments to take “a thoughtful, sustainable approach that puts Canadians at the centre of the solution cannot wait. Severe weather is a fact beyond our immediate control. Floods and fires are going to continue to be a growing problem.”

As natural disasters like wildfires are increasingly common, we all need to be aware of the risks and work together to reduce those risks and prepare our communities to respond.

Mitigate the Risks to Your Home and Property

A key way to reduce the risk of wildfire damage to your home or business is to build outside of high-risk areas. Clearing any brush or vegetation close to buildings can also reduce risk of a neighbouring fire spreading. Similarly, experts recommend leaving at least fifteen (15) feet of clear space in between buildings, particularly where they are built with flammable materials such as wood or vinyl siding.

Using a security system and having proximity to a fire station help to ensure a timely response and reduce the risk of extensive damage from fire, even though they don’t reduce the risk of a fire. When building or purchasing a home or business you may want to consider the proximity of the closest fire station or consider installing a home security system. You will also want to ensure that your insurance is a comprehensive homeowners insurance package to protect yourself in the event that your home is damaged or completely destroyed by a fire.

A fire evacuation plan is also recommended, including a nearby designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area and a further location as a backup plan. Identify different escape routes in your home to get out and from your home and community to the potential meeting location.

Fire Safety Tips in Alberta

It is not just governments that can take steps to reduce fire risks. There are many things that you and your family or your employees can do to decrease the risks to your home or business.

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking and keep an eye on any open flame, hot stove or grill
  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from any source of heat
  • Create and practice a fire escape plan
  • Rake dead leaves, branches and pine needles off of your property and roof
  • Plug large appliances directly into wall outlets (without using extension cords)
  • Keep matches and lighters locked away safely from children; and
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms, check batteries annually and replace alarms at least once every 10 years

Preventing a fire and planning a proper response will help save lives and protect your home or business. This is an important part of reducing your risk of sustaining fire damage.

Ensuring Adequate Coverage

The first step in ensuring adequate coverage is to review your current policy with an experienced insurance broker to determine what exactly is covered and where you could use additional support.

When reviewing your policy, find the total coverage limit then divide by the square footage of your home and if it is less than $200, you may want to consider increasing your coverage. While this may offer some guidance, you should always consult an experienced insurance broker for more complete analysis.

When reviewing your policy, you will also want to ensure that there is adequate coverage for the contents of your home including specialty items such as antique furniture, fine arts, and jewellery by adding a personal articles floater to your policy. While some of these items may be salvageable in a fire, some may still sustain damage from smoke or water from fighting the fire and will need to be replaced.

The process of rebuilding your home post-fire will involve additional living expenses potentially for a short-term rental and other expenses while your home is being rebuilt. While standard policies should provide coverage for this, you should ensure that the coverage is adequate. Many of us would hope to stay with family or friends, but as wildfires may affect an entire region and lead to mandatory evacuations that might not be an option.

Contact Us for Homeowners Insurance in Edmonton, Alberta

Contact a trusted insurance broker at MBS for more information on what you can do to protect your home, business or property from a fire disaster. We can obtain very reasonable rates for homeowners insurance in Edmonton for you. Contact us for your insurance needs by calling 780-436-7880 today.

How an Insurance Broker Saves You Time and Money

Do you know the benefits of an insurance broker?

Suppose you’re looking for the best insurance coverage at the best rates in Edmonton. In that case, you’ll first want to understand the benefits of an insurance broker and how they can help protect you in all sorts of different situations – whether it be saving you money, time or giving you simple peace of mind.

What Are the Benefits of an Insurance Broker?

Here are some of the many benefits of an insurance broker.


1. Saves Time

An insurance broker does all the work for you, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time shopping around for insurance. Instead, you simply provide your broker with information about your needs, and they shop the markets on your behalf.


2. Saves Money

Insurance brokers work with many different partners to find the best deals on the insurance that works for you. They take all your needs into account and make recommendations that are in your best interest. They have relationships with many insurance partners and can negotiate competitive rates and discounts, saving you money in the long run.

3. Expert Knowledge and Advice

An insurance broker provides you with the support and expertise you need to find coverage that suits your needs. They work with various products and services to find the coverage that best suits you. In addition, they can draw from an extensive knowledge base and experience to advise you on the best options. 

Insurance Brokers provide expert and unbiased advice. A wealth of knowledge about coverage and market rates combined with expert risk assessment ensures your possessions and business are adequately protected. Whether you are looking into auto insurance rates, tenant insurance, or home insurance rates, your insurance broker can help you every step of the way.

You can utilize their expertise to quickly identify your options and rely on their unbiased advice to help you make the best-informed decision for your situation.


4. Working For Your Best Interests

Since insurance brokers do not work with one particular company, they have nothing to gain from recommending a specific product. The insurance company also pays them a standard commission. Thus, there is no financial incentive to choose one insurer over another.

Insurance brokers have your best interests in mind. You can count on them to find you the best rate possible, which can give you the peace of mind you need. You can rest assured knowing that if you ever need to file a claim, one of our brokers will be there by your side to guide you every step of the way. They act as an advisor on insurance-related matters. They will shop the market for the best coverage and rates for you. Since fulfilling your needs is their only priority, they will provide independent, unbiased advice on the right coverage for your situation.

5. Privileged access and rates

Insurance Brokers have access to a wide selection of the best insurance companies in the country. These insurance companies are only accessible by Insurance Brokers. They do not deal with the public directly or with Direct Writers. Brokers enjoy long-standing relationships with these insurance companies. Still, they do not have an affiliation with any specific insurer, enabling brokers to provide you with a broader range of options at competitive rates.


6. Transparency

Insurance brokers must give full disclosure about their compensation and its effect on your insurance premium.  They are also required to declare any financial links with specific companies that may be a conflict of interest, enabling you to make the best-informed decision.


7. Risk and Advocacy Experience

Extensive experience dealing with different clients and claim situations equips insurance brokers with a broader perspective on how to reduce your risk. Also, in the event of a claim, you can count on your broker to act as your advocate with the insurance company and handle your claim fairly and promptly.

Speak to MBS Insurance in Edmonton about your Coverage

Reach out to MBS Insurance today to determine your home, auto, and commercial coverage options. Over the past 45 years, our experienced team of insurance brokers in Edmonton has earned the trust and loyalty of our clients by delivering superior products and services. We understand your needs and provide you with the best protection and rates.

There are many benefits of an insurance broker. We can help you understand the intricacies of your insurance plan while saving you money at the same time. We are a trusted insurance provider in Edmonton and provide personal and commercial insurance policies to people living in Alberta. We offer the best rates on recreational, auto, property, commercial, and group insurance policies. 

Contact us online for a free quote or by phone at 780-436-7880.

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This article was originally published on October 7, 2016, and updated for 2021.