Insurance Refused For Many Homes Near The Wildfires

Buying a home in West Kelowna, B.C. today could be infuriating after contacting insurance companies and not being able to get coverage for your property.

a plane flying in the air with smoke coming out of it: With wildfires expected to occur more frequently, experts say builders and buyers could face even more difficulty finding insurance in the future.

Potential homebuyers and home buildings in areas near wildfires are struggling to find insurance because insurers won't issue new coverage for properties or construction sites that are within a certain distance from an active blaze. Sometimes that certain distance could be 25 kilometers, or 75 kilometers or even 100 kilometers.

The remains of a classic car is seen on a property destroyed by the White Rock Lake wildfire in Monte Lake, east of Kamloops, B.C., on Saturday, August 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.

The reasoning why insurance is being withheld is unforseen risk.

Buyers who are dealing with accepted offers and can't find coverage for their new home can face a breach of contract if their mortgage company refuses to finance them - and mortgage companies insist on the properties being insured.

Realtors are being forced to include special clauses in purchase agreements that allow buyers to extend the closing date in the event of an act of nature that prevents them from getting insurance.

BC transportation wildfire photo

Getting insurance for homes at risk is not a new phenomenon. As the climate is changing, we are seeing hotter, drier conditions lasting longer, and the wildfire risk is going to increase moving forward.

Today, there really isn't much that can be done for the buyers and builders currently stuck in limbo - except to wait until the wildfire situation improves - which usually happens in early fall.

At Keith Vines and Associates, we offer good old fashion service, working with our home buyers and sellers in a relaxed, friendly manner, applying every available tool available to achieve the best possible outcome. Please take a moment to sign up for Keith’s Grapevine – a periodic eletter full of interesting market news, advice and tidbits


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