Northeast Calgary residents clean up after weekend storm; some fear insurance troubles

Residents came out to discuss their issues with Rachel Notley, including Baljinder Malhi (right). ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

For many Saddleridge residents, it’s the second time in four years they’re tapping insurance companies to help pick up the tab for storm damage.

Hundreds of homes and cars were severely damaged after an intense storm Saturday night battered northeast Calgary with rain and hail. Mayor Naheed Nenshi believed the storm might be one of the top 5 insurable disasters to hit Canada.

Alberta’s Official Opposition leader, Rachel Notley, visited the area Tuesday and citizens came out to discuss what happened with their property how they would handle the damages.

Baljinder Malhi lives in the area and her home was devastated by the storm.

“The roof is gone because it got too much hail damage on it. All three sidings are damaged,” she said.

Along with their house, one of their cars was hit.

“There was too much damage, too much stress going on,” Malhi said.

Malhi’s family also had hail damage to their house in 2016.

“It was a newly built house in 2015. It happened four years ago here and now a second time. Who knows about tomorrow,” she said.

They’ve switched insurance since then. They had to replace the siding and the roof in 2016 and face a similar fate this time around.  

“I don’t know how they’re gonna do it, but I called them yesterday hopefully they will cover everything,” Malhi said.

Damage due to the hail on a house in the neighbourhood. ANOSHA KHAN / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

They expect the insurance will cover the damages and fix their house, as they had hail insurance coverage.

Some residents don’t share the insurance optimism

Other residents are not so optimistic when it comes to insurance, especially when it comes to vehicles.

Many said that insurance companies increase the deductible as the renewal is due. One resident said that the insurance company will say the cost is increasing by five thousand dollars and then they have to pay 30 per cent extra.

“It’s happening after four years. Maybe next year it happens, the insurance will not cover that amount,” he said.

“All the insurance companies are doing the same, you don’t have any option like you can’t go to another company. You have to pay the same amount.”

Hail left dents all over cars and extensively damaged windshields. ANOSHA KHAN / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Another issue brought up was the mention of cab drivers, who are already out of work due to COVID-19. Insurance doesn’t cover hail to the damages of their vehicle.

Notley calls on province to help

Notley said she’s overwhelmed by the depth of the threats and the extent of the damage.

She said the issue of insuring Albertans is something that the government has to work through in detail with the insurance industry.

“We know that that not everybody has insurance, and not everybody has full insurance on your vehicle, and people need their vehicles,” she said.

Notley called on the province to provide aid to residents affected by the weekend storm.

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