Posted by Tim Stobbs on July 5, 2013
So the other day I was watching what was happening in Calgary in stunned shock, when I heard a news report about the fact that most people didn’t have insurance coverage against a flood (they may only had sewer backup coverage, so if in comes in the front door or windows they are up a creek…or river). I thought that seemed fairly silly, so I looked at my own insurance renewal forms to check my coverage.
I was a wee bit stunned to see towards the bottom of the fine print: there is no coverage for seepage or flood. WTF?!?! To put this into context I live within 300 meters of a small creek. Ugh, perhaps it is time to do a little investigation into my coverage (I do have sewer backup coverage).
Well after a wee bit of research I understand why most people don’t have flood insurance…it is hard to create a business model where the insurance product would make sense. For example, in fire insurance the reality is the majority of people want that insurance and only a very small number of homes burn up each year. So it is fairly easy for people to pool their risk via an insurance policy and not pay too much. Flood insurance is a bit different as the only people who would buy it would be those at risk by living on a flood plain. So your pool of people to spread the risk out by would decrease dramatically so to afford to pay out coverage you would need really high premiums to make it work. Of course high premiums makes it unattractive to sell so your coverage pool gets even smaller. So one big flood could bankrupt the insurance company.
So what happens when you have a large flood like Calgary…do people just lose their houses? Well not entirely, often the provincial and federal governments step in offering some degree of compensation to help with the rebuilding. Will it cover everything…not likely. In the end, water front views are nice, but you also have to consider the risk of where you live in terms of disasters. A friend of mine lives in Calgary and the garage of his building was flooded, but he lucked out it didn’t get to the first flood where his condo was.
In my case, I’m not too worried. My house is on a bit of a local high point and the creek near me is actually part of the flood control system. So rainfall is collected in a few nearby man made lakes and then slowly released into the creek via a dam. I’ve seen that creek with local flooding issues and while it gets a bit high it is still a very long way from getting into my house.
Do you know your insurance coverage for flood or sewer backup? Anyone got any insurance horror stories where they learned what you policy doesn’t cover the hard way?
Posted by Tim Stobbs on March 27, 2013
Well if you have been wondering why you haven’t heard much from me lately…I’ve been busy trying to prevent my house from getting flooded. Flood?!? In Regina?!?
Here is the latest flood forecast for SK, notice the big red dot in the south that says ‘very high.’ In the center of that area is Regina. So in reality it won’t take much to cause a flood here after all we did break a record for snowfall this year with over six feet of the white stuff (snow, not the other white stuff). So right now there is a whole lot of people trying to move snow away from our house foundations and praying for a slow melt and little rain for the next month or so.
Moving snow and chipping ice of my roof trying to prevent ice dams has largely where I’ve been spending my free time for the last week or so. Why the sudden rush? It’s been driven by the forecast, with Easter is just around the corner so is the first longer period of positive high temperatures for daytime highs. Yes, I’ve spent most of March in freezing temperatures, and yes it sucked (moving on before I rant).
As you can imagine with six feet of snow I have some impressive banks of snow around my house that I’m trying to move away from the foundation is well interesting. After all the snow piles everywhere in my yard are huge, so moving the snow really means breaking up the ice layers in the snow then shoveling the snow into areas which should drain better. It’s also like a geology lesson on our storms during the last winter as the snow has four or five layers to it with different density and hardness. Ironically the easy stuff to shovel is at the bottom.
But don’t you have insurance in the event your basement does flood? Well yes, but just because I have insurance for my house in case it burns to the ground doesn’t mean I want to set my house on fire to actually use it! I rather put in some time now in prevention than deal with a bigger mess down the road. After all, to remind me of this fact our neighbour had a burst pipe this winter and came back from vacation with 10 inches of water in their basement. Ick, what a mess.
So have you ever had to use your insurance for a big clean up? What was the cause and would you did you do to prevent it?
Posted by Tim Stobbs on December 6, 2012
I currently have dental insurance through my work and while it does seem to save a lot of money I was curious how much did it really save me. So I kept track of our dental costs through 2012 and here is the summary of the work done:
- Four checkups and cleanings (two kids, two adults)
- Three adult fillings
- Four kid fillings
- Coating on four teeth to prevent future cavities for kids
Total cost invoiced by the dentist: $1952. Yikes that’s a lot of money!
The premiums on my dental plan cost me $37.99/pay period or $911.76 per year. Ugh, that’s a lot of cash off my paycheques, but my co-pay on all that dental work was only $414. So in total we paid $1325, so we saved about $627 or 32% of the cost.
What is really interesting is the checkups and cleanings were $748 of the cost invoiced by the dentist. So if you ever have those years were all you have done is the cleanings, then I’m actually paying more in premiums than the savings I’m getting from the insurance. To make it break even on a yearly basis you need to have at least one filling fixed per year in your family. After that I’m actually getting some savings out of the insurance. Of course if you dental plan covers major expenses as well there is that additional benefit which can save you even more.
In summary, yes dental insurance can be worth it if you get routine work done on a fairly consistent basis (at least in this example), but if you have really good teeth and almost never get any work done…well you are likely in a losing situation.
So are you planning to have dental insurance in your retirement? Or are you going to just accept the costs the come up?