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Claims

Are you a client impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires?

Your safety and security matter most. We hope these tips for residents returning home and the answers to frequently asked insurance questions below will help take away some of your worry.

View our tips for Fort McMurray residents returning home.
Where can I get help, start my claim, and ask questions?

We have staff ready to help in the following locations (please be aware these locations may change):

Fort McMurray

Temporary locations:

  • 9816 Hardin Street (across from Peter Pond Mall)
  • Monday to Friday 9 am – 6 pm
    Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
    Closed Sunday
    Closed Monday

Edmonton

  • Edmonton Claims Office
  • 14310 111 Avenue NW, Edmonton
  • Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Calgary

  • Calgary Claims Office
  • 5550 1st Street SW, Calgary
  • Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm

You can also contact our Claims Response Centres:

Do I need to open a claim right away?
No. We won’t deny claims for being opened later.
What am I covered for?
Different home insurance policies have different coverages. If you contact us, we can tell you what you’re covered for, specifically.
What if I don’t have my insurance papers or policy number with me?
Don’t worry. We can help you. Call our claims centre and we’ll get that information for you.
Should I be keeping receipts for anything?
Yes. Keep all your receipts for expenses like food and lodging, so you can be reimbursed.
How long do I have to wait to get my claims reimbursed?
Once we have the information to establish the amount payable, our goal is to issue the cheque as quickly as possible, usually within 24 hours.
How long will the handling of my claim take?
The Fort McMurray wildfire affected thousands of people and it will take time to rebuild the city. We are committed to helping our clients through the claims process, and it will take some time to help all our clients. Initially, homes with more damage, homes that are uninhabitable and homes that are total losses will be given priority. If you have exterior and/or interior damage and are able to live in your home, you may obtain an estimate from a contractor of your choice or you can contact us for our preferred contractor list. For all claims, you have the right to select the contractor or vendor of your choice to repair or replace. Once you have obtained an estimate, please give us a call at 1‑877‑393‑7188 and email a copy of the estimate with your claim number to Fort_McMurray_Fire@cooperators.ca and we will discuss next steps as soon as possible. In some cases, we will not need to attend your home to establish the damage and cost of repairs.
Will I be covered for my living expenses because I had to evacuate my home?

We understand the importance of continuing to provide for your family’s immediate needs. Your home insurance policy covers you for out-of-pocket lodging, meal and mileage expenses, subject to a two-week limit, while you are unable to return home, regardless of whether it was damaged.

This is called your “prohibited use” coverage.

To help you meet your family’s ongoing needs, we extended this coverage from two to four weeks from the date of the evacuation. We have extended it once again, from June 1 to June 15. You will be reimbursed for these eligible costs during this period up to a maximum of $750 per adult and $250 per dependent under the age of 21.

You are encouraged to contact us at 1‑800‑810‑2847 for additional details.

If you previously received emergency funds from The Co-operators, please bring your receipts to allow us to determine the additional amounts that may be payable.

Will this catastrophe impact my rates?
Claims from this fire will not impact your premium, and you will not lose your claims-free discount, as we recognize this is a devastating event for our clients and the entire community. Trends over time, and catastrophes of this magnitude, will be considered when we review insurance rates in the future.
I had to abandon, or evacuate without, my vehicle. Will you cover the cost of my rental car?

Yes, in most circumstances. If you have a home insurance policy with us, we will cover the cost of your rental vehicle as part of your additional living expenses while away from your home. If you don’t have a home insurance policy with us, but you do have an auto insurance policy with “loss of use” coverage, we will cover the cost of a rental car up to your “loss of use” policy limit while your vehicle is inaccessible.

When purchased on an auto insurance policy, coverage for alternative transportation is normally limited to $500 or $1,000. To help meet your family’s needs, we are providing up to $500 more to cover additional transportation expenses between June 1 and June 15.

How will my auto insurance claim be handled?

With re-entry to Fort McMurray beginning on June 1, we are dispatching a team of Auto Claims Representatives and Appraisers to help assess our clients’ auto losses in the city.

If your vehicle sustained significant fire damage

We have identified households where vehicles have likely been destroyed. Our Appraisers will be visiting each neighbourhood after it becomes accessible to confirm which vehicles have been destroyed in the fire. Once damage to your vehicle(s) has been confirmed, your Appraiser will contact you to discuss settlement. We expect to be able to identify the bulk of the vehicles destroyed in the fire within 7 days of having access to the city.

If your vehicle sustained some damage, but appears repairable

We are setting up a Drive-In Appraisal Centre at Summit Motors. We will be booking appointments to inspect vehicles and prepare repair estimates. Please contact the Claims Response Centre by phone or by email at edmonton_appraisers@cooperators.ca to schedule an appointment. If you contact us by email, please include your name, telephone number and claim or policy number.

Once an estimate is complete, you may have the repairs completed at the body shop of your choice. We will happily supply you with a list of our Enhanced Service Program partner shops.

I was in a collision with another vehicle when evacuating Fort McMurray. Will I be covered? And will it increase my insurance rate?
If you carry collision coverage you will be covered for the loss or damage to your vehicle and we will not increase your auto insurance premiums because of it. Your safety and security is what matters most. We understand you were under immense stress while evacuating your homes and driving in a hazardous and difficult situation.
Are you suspending monthly payments and automatic bank withdrawals?
No. We are not suspending the monthly payments or automatic withdrawals for clients in the Fort McMurray area. However, if you need to defer payment to a future date, we’d be happy to work with you on a plan that suits your situation. Please contact a representative at the contact information above.
I did not have enough money in my account to cover my insurance payment.
We’ll waive NSF charge(s) for any client impacted by the wildfires, within and outside of the immediate area. We’re not able to reimburse bank fees, so please contact your bank branch directly about waiving the bank fees.
I’m concerned about my policy renewal as my renewal date is coming up or past while I’ve been evacuated.
If your renewal date is on or after May 2, 2016, we’ve extended the timeframe to accept renewal payments from you. If you need your policy documents, please ask one of the representatives at the contact info above.
My home is near a restricted area. How can I find out if there are potential health issues affecting my dwelling?
Alberta Health Services has announced that public health inspectors will be performing inspections on specific homes and offering recommendations on remediation if it is required.
Can I see images of my neighbourhood?
The Alberta government has released an app showing satellite images of Fort McMurray. The app can be downloaded here.
My Group Benefits are with The Co-operators. Are there resources or support for my family and me?
We encourage you to use the resources available to you through your plan, such as the three-hour post-traumatic intervention session. Counsellors are on alert and available to conduct sessions in person or by telephone at 1‑855‑914‑3473.
I’ve heard that when we are ready to re-enter Fort McMurray I will need to have my claims adjuster with me. Is that correct?
No. You are not required to have your claims adjuster with you in order to return to your home. Please proceed according to the government directed re-entry plan. Watch for updates from the government, and refer to the Re-entry Information Booklet for helpful information.
Is my business covered by insurance for lost income because I was ordered to evacuate?
Coverage is available in most forms from the start of the evacuation order and remains in place for a maximum of 30 days or until the order is lifted - whichever time period is shortest.
Will my Loss of Income coverage pay for staff salaries during the period we are evacuated?
Officers, executives or permanent staff are included in your Loss of Income coverage. If you have Ordinary Payroll coverage, it will cover others such as non-permanent staff. This coverage would be in place for a maximum 30 days or until the order is lifted – whichever time period is shortest.
Other than insurance, is there other financial support available to help rebuild my business?
The Red Cross and Economic Developers Alberta will provide financial support for certain businesses affected by the fire. To be considered for financial support, you must register with the municipality’s Business Hotline by calling 1‑855‑769‑2249. Business owners can get answers to their questions, updates and be directed to local sources of information by calling this number.
Other than insurance, is there any other financial support available to cover the cost of accommodations while I’m out of my home?
The provincial government has created the Wildfire Evacuee Transitional Accommodation Benefit to help with costs associated with temporary accommodations in Alberta for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed and who don’t have insurance or sufficient coverage to pay for temporary housing needs. You must apply in person at an Alberta Works Centre by August 2nd to receive the benefit. For more information, please visit alberta.ca.
I’ve been told that I have Additional Living Expense coverage on my policy up to a certain dollar amount. What exactly qualifies to be paid under the Additional Living Expense coverage?

Additional Living Expense coverage is for expenses that are over and above your usual daily living costs. For example, if you have a mortgage payment but are unable to stay in your home and need to rent a hotel room, the cost of the hotel room would be covered under Additional Living Expense, but the cost of your mortgage payment would not because it is part of your usual daily living costs. Other examples that would be considered for payment under Additional Living Expenses include:

  • Staying with friends or family
  • Mileage if your distance to work is now farther because you are living in a different location and cannot inhabit your dwelling
  • If you aren’t able to prepare meals because the location you are staying at does not have a kitchen or kitchenette, we will cover up to 75 per cent of restaurant costs under Additional Living Expense
  • The cost to do laundry if you do not have access to laundry machines

Examples of costs that are not covered under Additional Living Expense include:

  • Costs related to leisure activities (e.g. movies)
  • Ongoing costs at your primary residence such as internet, electricity, gas, cable, etc. as they are considered usual daily living costs.
  • Groceries, alcohol, paying for dinner for friends
  • Haircuts, massages, etc.

There are limits to the amount payable under your Additional Living Expense coverage, so please discuss your specific policy limits with one of our claims representatives.

I have been advised by the government that it is currently not safe to return to our home, and access has been restricted. Does my insurance cover the cost of my additional living expenses while the government restricts access to my home?

Yes, the Additional Living Expense under your tenant, condo or homeowners policy will provide coverage (up to your policy limits) if your dwelling has restricted access or is unfit for occupancy, as declared by the municipal government. The Additional Living Expense portion of your policy will help cover your costs associated with additional lodging and meal expenses. Additional Living Expense coverage is for expenses that are over and above your usual daily living costs. For example, if you have a mortgage payment but are unable to stay in your home and need to rent a hotel room, the cost of the hotel room would be covered under Additional Living Expense, but the cost of your mortgage payment would not because it is part of your usual daily living costs. Other examples that would be considered for payment under Additional Living Expense include:

  • Staying with friends or family
  • Mileage if your distance to work is now farther because you are living in a different location and cannot inhabit your dwelling
  • If you aren’t able to prepare meals because the location you are staying at does not have a kitchen or a kitchenette, we will cover up to 75 per cent of restaurant costs under Additional Living Expense
  • The cost to do laundry if you do not have access to laundry machines

Examples of costs that are not covered under Additional Living Expense include:

  • Costs related to leisure activities (e.g. movies)
  • Ongoing costs at your primary residence such as internet, electricity, gas, cable, etc. as they are considered usual daily living costs
  • Groceries, alcohol, paying for dinner for friends
  • Haircuts, massages, etc.

Please contact us to discuss the specific limits of Additional Living Expenses under your policy.

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