Canada

Orléans blast victim hopes insurance will help speed up clean-up efforts

Jean-Sebastien Beauchamp says he's grateful to be able to go home a day after an explosion rocked his Orléans neighborhood.  (Buntola Nou/CBC - photo credit)

Jean-Sebastien Beauchamp says he’s grateful to be able to go home a day after an explosion rocked his Orléans neighborhood. (Buntola Nou/CBC – photo credit)

One of the first things Jean-Sebastien Beauchamp did when he returned to his Orléans home damaged by Monday’s explosion was to call his insurance company.

Beauchamp doesn’t know when his house will be repaired and how much it will cost.

“The damage … was mostly to the rear and side windows,” he said, adding that the roof was also affected, including the wood and fascias.

The gas leak and explosion on Monday morning at around 6:20am destroyed four homes and damaged many others in Minto’s Avalon Vista settlement

Six people were taken to hospital, including two workers who were pulled from the rubble, and it’s “a small miracle” more people weren’t seriously injured, according to the local councilor.

About 30 families are still unable to return home, according to Minto on Tuesday, and they will not be able to return to their homes until investigators complete their work on the cause of the blast.

Beauchamp said he’s lucky to be able to return home but now has to wait for his insurance company to come and assess the repairs.

“You should come in a few days,” he said.

Repairs may take longer than usual

Damage caused by an explosion is “usually covered by all insurance policies,” said Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“It’s not like water, it’s not like sewage backup or flooding where you are [had] to have bought additional cover for it. Explosions are part of most insurance policies today, whether business or personal,” said Thomas.

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

The bureau, which is the industry group for most insurance companies in Canada, said people should photograph damage to their homes if it’s safe to do so.

expenses, such as A trip to the lumberyard to board up a window, for example, should also be documented and submitted.

“It doesn’t usually take long — within a couple of days — to get feedback from your insurance company,” Thomas said, but supply chain and labor shortages could mean repairs are taking longer than usual.

No change in prices expected

Thomas also urged homeowners to provide receipts for alternative accommodations, such as a hotel, needed due to house damage, as insurance companies can reimburse the cost.

Thomas said homes that are still under construction would likely be the responsibility of the builder.

She also doesn’t think insurance rates will change because what happened was unique.

“It’s not like it’s the kind of loss that’s likely to come back and come back and come back,” she said.

CLOCK | The first videos from the scene:

In an emailed statement, a spokesman for the Desjardins Group said damage to vehicles from the blast may be covered depending on the person’s auto insurance, just like fire or water damage.

They agreed that homeowners who are unable to return home due to insurable damage may be entitled to a refund.

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