Member profile: Worry-free home insurance claims

‘‘I could see the waves of hail all over the street,” recalls AMA member Laurie Kelly, describing the severe storm that swept through her Calgary neighbourhood last August. She wasn’t at home at the time, which was lucky; otherwise she might not have noticed, upon pulling in and parking, that the roof over her garage was leaking. A telltale water stain, about six inches in diameter, had already formed on a piece of cardboard.

Kelly called AMA Insurance right away and was told a contractor would come out to inspect her roof, but that it might take some time, since hundreds of homes had been affected. That week alone, AMA received 400 hail claims.

Kelly had never made a home insurance claim, nor had any problems with weather damage, in the 12 years she’d lived in her house. “I was a little bit worried about what was going to happen,” she says. But the contractor who inspected her roof answered her questions and let her know what to expect.

“He said that he was going to be on my roof for 30 to 35 minutes and that he was going to check everything and take pictures of the damage.” Afterward, he went through the photos with her. “There was some damage that was covered and some that wasn’t a result of the hail,” says Kelly. He showed her what normal wear and tear – caused by sun oxidation, snow, rain and other elements – looked like, and explained that a roof, like a vehicle, depreciates over time. Of course, it’s still important to keep your roof in a good state of repair, clearing leaves and snow regularly, and inspecting it from time to time for wear. Before you undertake major home repairs or renovations, AMA recommends speaking to an insurance representative to make sure you’re covered for any materials added during construction, as well as construction-related fire and liability, which protects you if anything should go wrong during the repair process. And don’t forget to have your home reassessed once the work is complete, in case its value has changed (you may need to up your coverage).

Kelly’s claim cheque arrived in the mail two days after she signed her paperwork, and as expected, it reflected the roof’s depreciated value, which was about 30 per cent less than its full replacement cost. All in all, Kelly says her experience with the claim process was positive – and that’s the reason she intends to keep her home and auto insurance with AMA.

Story by Janet Gyenes
Photo by Noah Fallis

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