Trees Desperate for Water Cost Ottawa Resident Home Insurance

By: Cliff Ritter on October 18, 2012

There have been various cases across Canada this year highlighting the change in weather patterns and how they affect insurance policies for homeowners.  Violent and unexpected storms across Ontario and Quebec then later in Alberta left a trail of damage in neighbourhoods across the country as insurance providers warned of changes in coverage that would exclude many of these damages.  For one man out of Ottawa the damage from nature isn’t a concern from the clouds in the sky but the roots in the ground.

As Canada was hit with a drought that left most of the country bone dry for most of the summer, trees desperate for moisture couldn’t rely on rain to keep themselves from drying up.  For Cory Porter’s house in an Ottawa neighbourhood the roots of trees on his property turned to the moisture in the foundation of his house to get their replenishing water.  This caused estimated $20,000 to $30,000 damage to his foundation that the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) refuses to help out.

Porter returned home from an August vacation when he uncovered the damage to his home and immediately reported it to his insurance provider The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company.  Once an inspector came to the house Porter made it clear he was planning to have it fixed as soon as he could.

“Then boom, out of nowhere, they cancel our policy. We’re in shock and disbelief.

The IBC refuses to get involved saying that insurance providers have the right to cancel policies whenever they choose, for whatever legitimate reason may seem fit.  Pete Karageorgos an insurance consumer relations manager in Toronto says insurance is like a contract and that any changes to the safety of a home the providers are not aware of allows them to void the service.

As a result insurance will not cover the repairs to the damage and Porter and others in his situation are being left with contracts that may not be worth the paper they are written on.  However one of the trees that caused the damage belongs to the city of Ottawa which could give Porter legal grounds to demand compensation, a stance that city councilor Diane Deans believes is a legitimate one.