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Home insurance options becoming more comprehensive during wildfire season

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Thousands of people were forced to flee their homes near Fort McMurray earlier this month due to an out-of-control wildfire, leaving questions if people would have a home to return to.

And while many had prepared by packing their bags and important documents, there's more to consider, especially insurance.

Rob de Pruis, the national director of consumer and business relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says while standard home and tenant policies cover damage from fires, including smoke damage, it often goes beyond what's inside homes, including coverage for accommodations during a mass evacuation.

"This standard coverage remains readily available for throughout Canada, even if you live in some of the high-risk wildfire zones," de Pruis told CTV News Edmonton on Thursday.

de Pruis says policies are locked in and shouldn't change a if a wildfire occurred. He also said insurance prices are based on risk, meaning people who live in fire zones such as Fort McMurray could pay higher premiums.

Insurance companies are highly competitive, offering different products to stand out.

Intact Insurance has launched a pilot project in Alberta and British Columbia that adds physical protection to homes during wildfire season at no additional cost.

Under the pilot project, crews go to homes and do protective work from cleaning gutters to installing sprinklers.

It's a modern solution for a danger that's becoming more common.

"Climate change causes challenges in a lot of different ways and spaces, and this is one place where you can do something about it," David Torgerson of Wildfire Defense Systems, which is partnering with Intact for the project to deliver the preventative measures. 

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