Tornadoes and severe windstorms: What you need to know and how to prepare

During the spring and summer months, many Canadians may experience a tornado or other severe windstorm. These storms have the potential to cause significant damage to your home, automobile, or business. It’s important to be prepared to minimize the potential damage, know what to do in case of an emergency and know what help is available if your home, automobile, or business is damaged.

Some steps you can take to prepare for a tornado or severe windstorm:

  • Prepare an emergency plan for your family and ensure everyone in your family knows the plan. This should include where family members and pets should take shelter during a tornado or windstorm. It is recommended that you take shelter in a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor of your house with no windows.

  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit. This kit should include water, non-perishable food, radio, flashlight, first aid kit and more. See a full list of items recommended by the Red Cross here.

  • Protect your home by securing items outdoors that could become dangerous debris during a tornado or windstorm. You can also perform improvements to your home such as reinforced garage doors and impact-resistant windows can help prevent damage.

  • Keep yourself updated on the weather and watch for tornado danger signs such as dark, greenish skies or clouds of debris. Listen to radio or TV for the latest weather updates in your area.

Know what your insurance covers

It’s important to always read your insurance policies, so you know what coverage you have before you need it. Many disputes arise because consumers believe their insurance policy covers something, when it does not.

If you’re unsure if your insurance policy covers damage related to tornadoes and windstorms, you can contact your insurer to have them confirm.

What to do if you suffered damage from a tornado or windstorm

Start a claim by contacting your insurance company. Make sure you include as much detail as possible about the damage.

If your insurance company is a GIO member, you can find out how to submit a claim or contact them in our member directory.

What to do if you are unhappy the results of your claim

If you’re unhappy with the results of your insurance claim or have questions about the process, GIO is here to help. We offer free, independent and impartial help with your home, auto and business insurance disputes. Find out how to submit a complaint.  

Additional resources to help you prepare:

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