Insurance will not cover the damage to a home in Silverdale, after it was hit by a landslide during the rainstorm last month, the owners say.
In fact, homeowner’s insurance in Canada does not cover landslides, and, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, landslide insurance is not something that can even be purchased.
Ruth and Dean Janes, co-owners of English Tarts on 1st Avenue in Mission, called the news “devastating.” Their two-storey home just off of Silverhill Avenue was struck by the landslide on Dec. 1 after a road collapsed.
“It’s a devastating experience, especially at Christmas,” said Ruth. She said the area wasn’t known for mudslides, it was “something you wouldn’t even think of.”
Dean said there was nothing in the geotechnical reports in the home’s original building application that mentioned the possibility of landslides.
It’s taken two weeks for the insurance company to tell them they won’t be covered, and now their only option is to get in the long line of people waiting for provincial disaster assistance.
The provincial plan was announced just under a month ago, and will cover 80 per cent of the costs (up to $300,000) for properties damaged in the storm.
Fixing the road that collapsed will also fall on the four homeowners that were cut off by the landslide, Dean said. The original property was once 20 acres, but was subdivided to four and now each property has a share in that responsibility.
All are still under evacuation order as of Dec. 19.
They won’t be able to tell if the home can be repaired until a structural engineer can do an inspection, and that can’t happen until a geotechnical engineer finishes a report on the condition of the road and hillside, Dean said.
The situation will only get worse while the house is open to damage from the elements, Dean said, noting the garage is full of dirt and debris and the front of the house has been stabbed by several of the trees that collapsed.
“We’re at the mercy of others as to when things are made safe so we can actually gain safe entry,” Dean said. “We’re still really upset, obviously it’s a big loss for us. It’s difficult to come to grips with.”
A GoFundMe set up by the Mission Downtown Business Association has reached nearly $18,000 since it was created on Dec. 4.