Wildfires in BC FAQ

1. Can you bind insurance as soon as the deal is unconditional, if there is not a fire at the time and will they honor that even if there is a fire in the vicinity at completion?

Yes, a new policy can be effected before the sale is completed as long as an insurers has all the required info. However, insurers will not effect home insurance for someone if they do not own the home. Coverage cannot be in place before the sale is completed, when the money changes hands. Although, coverage can be effected ahead of that date provided that the conveyancer has requested the binder (if there is a mortgage). Usually binder requests come from the conveyancer a day or two before closing. That request can come in a week before closing. Therefore, a strategy is to push for the binder request as soon as possible, but this can be challenging in a hot market when conveyancers are busy.

2. Are there any insurers out there that will provide insurance if a home is within a 50 radius of a wildfire?

Most insurers have the 50km guideline. There are a limited few that will consider insuring a home if it is over 25km away, which can depend on the status of the fire. A fire of note (out of control), which is shown as red on the BC Wildfire Dashboard, will have to be over 50 km. These few insurers will consider over 25km, on a case by case basis, for fires listed as “being held” (shown as yellow). If the fire is “under control”, shown as green, an insurer may bind the risk even if within 25/50km.

3. Any additional information/materials or anything you can share on this?

It is recommended to get all subjects removed as soon as possible and have the conveyancer send the binder request as early as possible. Once those pieces are confirmed, barring any other underwriting issues, coverage can be effected.