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Home Insurance In Canada

The significance of having home insurance in Canada should not be underestimated. This is especially true given the rise in weather-related claims.

Although home insurance is not a legal requirement, most insurance companies require it when you get a mortgage. Several home insurance providers in Canada, with Aviva and Square One offering competitive rates. Inform yourself about the ins and outs of home insurance. Understanding the various aspects of home insurance can benefit you in the future.

Besides severe weather surging across the country, flooding and sewer backup are becoming more frequent. This requires homeowners and renters to be fully prepared for the unexpected.

Getting home insurance in Canada will save you lots of time and heartache in the future. That said, there are a few things you should know about getting your property insured.

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Home Insurance Providers in Canada

Once your contract to buy a home is approved, you can search for an insurance provider. Below are some providers of home insurance in Canada.

Square One Insurance

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Square One Insurance

Getting the highest level of protection currently available in Canada is paramount. That’s where Square One comes in. They provide home insurance in Canada to homeowners, tenants, and condo owners.

With their digital service, you can easily get a quote and buy a policy. Also, you can submit a claim online without the hassle of queues.

Square One is as flexible as they come. You can fully customize your insurance policy by selecting the type of coverage, limits, and deductibles for your situation. As a result, you only pay for what you need.

Besides their flexible policies, Square One doesn’t use fixed-term contracts. Premiums can be paid monthly or annually at your discretion.

Square One also provides several valuable benefits. All policies comprise free coverage for fires, windstorms, and break-ins. Furthermore, Square One will cover the cost of rebuilding your home to meet the most recent code or bylaw changes.

According to their website, they pay out 90% of submitted claims. They have a 24/7 emergency claims line with a guaranteed 2-hour response time.

Square One insurance policies for renters begin at $12 per month. The minimum you’ll pay as a homeowner is $40 per month.

APOLLO Insurance

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APOLLO Insurance

Online coverage providers like APOLLO make getting home insurance in Canada much easier. You can get a quote online and have a policy in hand in about five minutes.

Their coverage protects condo owners, homeowners, and tenants. All policies are customizable. Therefore, you only pay for what you need and nothing more.

The coverage limit for homeowners insurance is up to $1.2 million. Furthermore, an APOLLO insurance policy will cover up to one rental unit per home.

Damage caused by the fire department during an emergency entry has coverage of up to $20,000. Personal liability coverage is available for up to $3 million.

British Columbia residents can get earthquake insurance from APOLLO. Also, whether you rent a condo or live in it as the owner, you can get condo insurance. To qualify for insurance, the building must be a Registered Condominium Corporation.

Aviva

As a leading provider of home insurance in Canada, Aviva caters to homeowners, tenants, condo owners, and cottage owners. With their comprehensive insurance policy, you can get protection against fire damage, vandalism, explosions, and theft.

Aviva’s personal liability protection can cover you up to $2 million. However, this is with a more costly policy. A cheaper policy provides a policyholder personal liability coverage of up to $1 million.

Unlike most insurance companies, Aviva’s policies automatically include earthquake insurance. This means you won’t have to purchase additional protection if you live in a province prone to earthquakes. Protection is granted without restrictions in all risk zones.

You can get a quote online. If you decide to purchase an Aviva insurance policy, there are two ways to go about it. Buy directly from Aviva. Or purchase a policy from an approved insurance brokerage.

If you combine your existing Aviva insurance policy with their home insurance policy, you can get a discount. This will save you hundreds of dollars. A claim-free history can also qualify you for a discount on Aviva home insurance in Canada.

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Lowest Rates

When looking for home insurance in Canada, the best thing to do is shop around. However, that can take lots of time and energy.

That’s where Lowest Rates comes in. Lowest Rates is a comparison website that acts as an intermediary between you, the insurance seeker, and licensed brokers.

Instead of spending hours looking for the right provider of home insurance in Canada, Lowest Rates provides a simple solution. They consider 75 insurance providers to find appropriate quotes for your situation.

This process can take as little as three minutes. As a result, you can compare different rates online without visiting several insurers.

Lowest Rates provides unbiased recommendations. This ensures you get quotes that fit your needs. There’s no limit on how many quotes you can get with Lowest Rates.

The process is relatively simple. You’ll need to fill out a form with your personal details. They’ll complete any information about your property you’re unsure about, including the square footage and age.

Afterwards, you’ll get your results. You can then compare the offerings of different providers of home insurance in Canada. Once you choose a quote, a broker reaches out to complete the deal. They lock in your rate and set up your home insurance policy.

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Types of Home Insurance Policies

There are various types of home insurance policies. The main categories are:

  • Comprehensive
  • Broad
  • Standard

When Canadians consider getting home insurance in Canada, they often lean towards a comprehensive policy. The reason is that a comprehensive home insurance policy provides the most coverage and protection.

However, instead of going with the flow, consider the level of protection and comfort you want. If you can foot the bill for some expenses, you may opt for a cheaper policy. But if you aren’t too worried about something disastrous happening to your home, the same goes.

Should you be concerned that something could happen to your home, it may be wise to get a comprehensive policy. Also, if you have an older home, the chances of an adverse event occurring are much higher. Therefore, comprehensive insurance is essential.

Remember to read the policy carefully before signing when getting home insurance in Canada. Make sure you understand what it does and doesn’t cover. If there’s anything unclear, ask your insurance agent or broker for more information.

Comprehensive Policy

Also known as an all-frills policy, this policy provides maximum coverage to your home and its contents. It covers the main dwelling, external structures, and your possessions from damage or loss from all risks, except those expressly excluded.

Considering you receive the full extent of coverage, this policy costs more than a broad or standard policy. However, the cost is often justifiable given the coverage you receive.

Broad Policy

This policy combines the features of a comprehensive policy with those of a standard policy. It includes coverage for your home from damage or loss caused by all perils except your specific exclusions. And, it only covers the contents you specifically name in the policy.

Standard Policy

A standard policy is the most cost-effective option. It provides basic coverage. Your possession will only receive protection from those risks you specifically name in the policy.

For instance, if you choose flooding as a peril, your home will only receive coverage for floods within your property. However, if there’s a fire, your insurer will not cover any damages or losses.

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What’s Covered in a Home Insurance Policy?

Home insurance policies comprise an insurer’s standard inclusions and add-ons included by the policyholder. Standard coverage comprises property damage and personal liability. If there are specific risks your policy doesn’t cover, such as earthquakes, you can purchase an add-on.

These are two types of standard home insurance coverage:

  1. Property Damage Coverage

This protects you from:

  • damage or loss to your home or personal possessions and your car
  • loss or damage to detached structures (swimming pool, sundeck, shed, or pool house)
  • damage, theft, or loss to your personal property

Personal property is covered to an extent. While clothing, furniture, and electronics receive complete protection, expensive jewelry, rare art, and heirlooms often don’t.

Your insurance policy will stipulate a maximum amount of coverage for expensive valuables. If you want coverage beyond these limits, you must purchase an add-on.

Besides protecting your home and its contents, you’re also covered for additional living expenses. Therefore, if an insured event damages your home and it’s uninhabitable during the repairs, this coverage will come into effect. It covers lodging and food.

  • Liability Coverage

Liability coverage protects you from legal repercussions resulting from:

  • Third-party injuries caused by yourself or your property
  • Damage to someone else’s property

Your insurer covers medical expenses for any third parties injured in your home or on your property. In addition, they cover lost wages, death benefits, and legal costs.

Liability coverage may also protect you from legal liability while you and your family are away from the insured property. For instance, if you cause damage in a hotel lobby, your insurer may reimburse the owner.

Home Insurance Coverage Based on Property Type

Not all properties have the same home insurance coverage. If you own a house, the coverage you receive will differ from that of your beach house. Consider these scenarios and the coverage each property receives:

a.    You own a house

Homeowners insurance is available for you. It covers your property and personal liability. Not only do you receive protection as the policyholder, but your spouse/partner and your dependent children as well.

Your policy may cover:

  • damage or loss to your property
  • theft of personal property from your car
  • damage or injury of visitors to your home or property
  • unintentional damage to someone else’s property
  • damage, theft, or loss of your belongings
b.    You own a vacation home

A vacation home can be covered under the same policy as your primary dwelling. However, coverage is often more limited.

c.     You own a mobile home

A basic, named perils policy can cover a mobile home. If you get mobile home insurance, you may get liability coverage.

d.    You own a condo

Besides contents and liability coverage, condo owners may receive specific coverage for:

  • internal damage to your unit
  • damage to improvements made to your unit by you or previous owners
  • additional living expenses, provided you can’t live in your condo because of an insured loss
  • damage to other units or the condo’s common areas, given it’s caused by an accident in your condo
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e.    You rent

Renters get what’s known as tenant’s insurance. If an insured loss occurs, your insurance will cover the cost of replacing your belongings and rebuilding your life.

On a “named perils” or “all risks” basis, personal liability and contents coverage are also included in a tenant’s insurance policy. You may be covered for:

  • belongings were stolen from your car
  • unintentional damage caused to the apartment building or home you’re renting
  • additional living expenses, if you can’t live in your apartment because of an insured loss

What isn’t covered in a home insurance policy?

Home insurance doesn’t cover particular situations. This includes:

  • intentional damage to someone else’s property
  • properties left vacant for a specific period (often 30 days)
  • damage from lack of maintenance
  • equipment damaged while in your home, if used for your business
  • damage from pests
  • business equipment or tools that are stolen or damaged while in a vehicle or outside of your home
  • client injuries

The Cost of Home Insurance in Canada

Home insurance premiums are lower for rental properties than for owned properties. This is because rentals have limited coverage.

Insurance only covers personal property and liability for renters. However, coverage applies to the dwelling, personal property, and liability for homeowners.

Canada’s home insurance premiums have been steadily rising over the past few years. A surge in weather-related claims and rebuilding costs are among the reasons.

A recent analysis by financial comparison website RATESDOTCA uncovered the drastic fluctuations in house premiums in the past decade. The analysis found that the average home insurance premium rose over three times the inflation rate.

The average premium in Ontario was $782 in 2011, but it stood at $1,284 in 2021. That amounts to a dramatic growth of 64%. As for Alberta, average home insurance rates rose 140%, from $741 in 2011 to $1,779 in 2021.

The cost of home insurance in Canada is the most expensive in British Columbia. We explore why in the next section.

Common Risks Per Province

  • British Columbia: Earthquakes pose the most significant risk in BC, mainly since Victoria and Vancouver lie on the edge of two tectonic plates. Earthquake insurance is, therefore, more expensive in this province. Rebuilding costs are also higher because of the seismic building code requirements.
  • Quebec: Montreal and Quebec City have several older houses. The outdated electrical systems and plumbing pose a high risk of claims, making insurance more costly.
  • Alberta: Forest fires and flooding are the two most significant factors impacting home insurance
  • Ontario: Flooding is a significant risk factor.
  • Prince Edward Island: Rising sea levels, high winds, and powerful storms have the greatest impact on home insurance.
  • Nova Scotia: The most significant risks residents face are hurricanes and flooding, especially in Dartmouth and Halifax.
  • New Brunswick: High windstorms and inland flooding pose the greatest risk.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: Flooding, hurricane damage, and wind damage have the highest effect on home insurance.
  • Saskatchewan: Because of the extreme weather in this province, pipe damage is the most significant risk.
  • Manitoba: While earthquakes and flooding are unlikely, areas near Winnipeg have suffered damage when the Red River overflows.
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Personalizing Your Insurance Policy

Given these risks, consider including an add-on to your insurance policy if the risk is not already covered. It’ll save you hundreds of dollars when the unexpected occurs. Depending on your province and the insurance company, you can add the following coverage to your policy:

  • Flooding: covers you for floods that cause extensive damage to your home.
  • Sewer backup: protects you when a primary sewer backs up and overflows onto your property.
  • Mass evacuation: covers you if you’re forced to leave your home because of a significant threat or danger.
  • Storm surges: provides coverage for properties in areas prone to earthquakes and high-speed windstorms.
  • Overland water: if a stream, river, or other body of water overflows onto your property and causes damage, this insurance add-on will cover you.

Other Factors That Influence Your Premium

Insurance companies consider several factors to determine their price for home insurance. These considerations are in addition to the dangers specific to each province.

For instance, insurers look at your property’s proximity to a fire station and the crime rate in your neighbourhood. They analyze these risks to estimate the likelihood of a policyholder filing a claim. Also, how much it will cost. These are some factors affecting the cost of home insurance in Canada:

1.   Named Belongings Covered and Limits

The amount of coverage needed for your belongings will influence your premium. A comprehensive policy will cost more than a named perils policy as well. Also, if you include additional coverage to your policy for specific risks, your premium will be higher.

2.   Your Deductible

A deductible is an amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurer covers any damages or losses. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. The reason is that you’re willing to take on more risk and not put the total weight on the insurance company.

3.   Property Value, Age, and Location

High-value properties have higher premiums. This is because rebuilding and repairing costs are higher.

As for the property’s age, older homes have higher premiums than newer homes. They may have features that are costly to replace. Also, some of the construction materials may be outdated and pose a high risk of claims.

Where a property is located can also influence your premium. Neighbourhoods with a high crime rate have higher premiums. Those closer to fire hydrants and fire stations have lower premiums.

4.   Home Security and Safety Features

A property with a safety or security system in place may have a lower insurance premium. This is because they reduce the risk of damage or loss to your property. A fire alarm or security system can quickly alert local authorities when there’s danger.

Doors with deadbolts and windows with burglar bars also positively influence insurance premiums. However, not all insurers reward you for these features.

5.   Completed Renovations

Improvements you make to your home can positively or negatively impact your insurance premium. If you replace outdated plumbing and electrical systems, you may get a lower premium.

However, if you renovate your home to include costly additions, your premium may be higher. This is because an insurer will have to add more coverage to your policy for the improvements.

6.   Claims History

When an insured event causes damage or loss to your property, you will file a claim with an insurer. They will cover a specific cost to rebuild your home or repair damages.

All the claims you make are kept on record. Your premiums may be higher if an insurer notices that you have a history of frequent claims. The reason is that an insurance company may be concerned that you will file multiple claims in a short period. This would be costly for them.

The trick here isn’t only to file fewer claims and make sure you only do so in extreme cases. If your property sustains damage you can easily repair, don’t rush to your insurer. However, if a windstorm damages your roof and there’s interior water damage, file a claim.

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Why Older Homes are Expensive to Insure

Some features and materials used in the construction of older homes require costly coverage. These are some aspects causing coverage issues for old-fashioned homes:

Galvanized Steel Plumbing

Homes built before 1950 commonly have galvanized steel pipes installed. These pipes have an average life expectancy of 40 to 50 years.

When they get older, they rust and corrode from the inside out. This causes issues with water pressure and water flow. The risk of leaks and ruptures increases. And the likelihood of water damage.

Before you get coverage, your insurer may require you to replace the property’s outdated plumbing with copper or plastic piping.

60-amp Electrical Service

The dangers posed by 60-amp electrical service are another primary concern for insurers. Overuse and overheating could cause electrical fires and subsequent claims.

An upgrade to 100 amps may be required before getting coverage for your property. Alternatively, you may have to install a switching device.

Knob and Tube Wiring

This wiring comprises parallel hot (black) and neutral (white) wires that are separated by knobs (or insulators) and ceramic tubes. It’s a hazard because it’s susceptible to wearing and exposure. Also, they can cause electrical fires, and there’s no ground wire.

Knob and tube wiring may need to be replaced with approved permanent wiring before an insurer provides coverage. However, it may not always be necessary. Make sure to check with your insurance agent or broker about your specific situation.

Aluminium Wiring

Safety hazards can appear if aluminum wiring is not installed correctly. An insurance company may not provide or renew your coverage until your aluminum wiring is connected correctly. It’s always best to check what your insurer requires.

Wood-burning Stoves

When poorly installed or misused, wood-burning stoves are a massive fire hazard. You may have to get an inspection from a certified WETT technician. In addition, you may need a certification from Warnock Hersey, Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC), or the Canadian Standard Association (CSA).

Old Roofs

Roofs that have gone past the typical 20-year life span pose a risk of leaks and interior water damage. You may need to replace your roof before an insurance company provides coverage.

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How to Take Inventory of Your Home

When considering getting home insurance in Canada, you must ensure sufficient coverage. The best way to know how much coverage you’ll need is by taking inventory of your personal property.

It’ll also help when filing a claim. You will get the exact compensation for your damaged personal property from your insurer.

The last thing you want is for an insurer to underpay your losses because you guessed the value of your items. Taking inventory of your property in advance will also eliminate added stress and anxiety during a difficult time.

When taking stock of your home and its contents, consider these tips:

  • Get an inventory list from your insurer. If they don’t have one, you can get an inventory list from the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website.
  • Assess all the contents in your home from room to room. Don’t forget about your attic, basement, garage, and off-premises storage units. Taking video footage or photographs of all your valuable possessions is a great way to take stock.
  • Instead of pricing small items individually, group those similar, then estimate the value. For instance, 10 vinyl records at $40 each = $400.
  • Store receipts, bills, warranties, and instruction manuals for high-value items. These will serve as proof of ownership.
  • Keep your records and home inventory list in a safe place. Digital records should be stored in a secure online storage account or an external hard drive. Hard copies should be kept in a bank safety deposit box or an off-site secure storage box.
  • Review and update your inventory list every year. The best time to prepare or update your home inventory list, according to the IBC’s website, is during spring cleaning. And before a move. You should update the list when you make new purchases as well.

Ways to Lower Your Insurance Premium

Given the high cost of home insurance in Canada, it’s only natural to find ways to lower your premium. Although a cheap home insurance rate can save you money in the interim, it may lead to higher costs in the future.

As in, you may have a higher deductible. Also, you might have to pay more out of your own pocket for expenses because you have less coverage. These are some tips to reduce the cost of home insurance in Canada:

  1. Shop around and compare quotes for the best deal.
  2. Avoid over-insuring your home by including the land’s market value in the insured value.
  3. Combine your car and home insurance policies to get a discount from your insurance company.
  4. Change your payment frequency from monthly to annually.
  5. Review your coverage every year to make sure it matches your home’s present value.
  6. Increase your deductible.
  7. Quit smoking to get a lower rate because your insurer will see you’re less likely to have a house fire.
  8. Ask your insurance provider if you qualify for any discounts.
  9. Add features and upgrades to your home that will reduce the risk of fire, theft, and water damage.
  10. Do not cancel your home insurance policy before the end of its term.

Protecting Your Property From Climate Change-related Risks

When shopping for home insurance in Canada, keep climate change risks in mind. According to the managing editor of RATESDOTCA, there are several ways homeowners can reduce weather-related claims. These are some tips:

  • Ensure you have flooding coverage. Most insurers require a separate purchase.
  • Don’t plant coniferous trees on your property. These catch on fire easily, so opt for deciduous trees instead.
  • Clean your gutters and pipes regularly.
  • Consider installing a backwater valve or sump pump in your home’s basement. Letting your insurer know about this addition can earn you a discount.
  • Turn downspouts away from the home. Have them face the street instead.
  • Clip weak or dead tree branches. These may cause debris damage if there are strong winds.
  • Install smart water detectors. They’ll detect when water seeps through your property. This will reduce the risk of flood damage and could award you a discount from an insurer.
  • Use impact-resistant roofing materials, especially if your home is in a hail zone.
  • Reduce vegetation around your property to reduce the risk of a wildfire damaging your home.
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Tips to Avoid Losing Coverage

Once you get home insurance in Canada, you must ensure that you remain covered at all times. Your policy lists conditions you must fulfill to maintain coverage.

If you don’t meet the conditions, your coverage is in jeopardy. In this case, your insurer may refuse to pay a claim, or they’ll render your home insurance policy void.

According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario website, certain activities can negatively affect your coverage. The following activities increase an insurers’ risk and may result in coverage loss.

Poor Maintenance of Your Home

If you don’t care for your house, your insurer may not cover the resulting damages. Your insurer will deem these damages because of your own negligence. And, in these cases, you will be liable to foot the bill for repairs.

Therefore, you must handle repairs to your home as they crop up to avoid any nasty surprises. For instance, f you need to replace missing items, like roof tiles, do so as soon as possible to avoid resultant damages.

Creating or Running a Home Business

Home insurance won’t cover losses that result from your business activities. Also, it won’t protect your business’s losses, such as stolen stock. Inform your insurance company about your business activities, regardless of whether it’s a small venture, and get business coverage.

Renovations

Making additions or upgrades to your home and adding a swimming pool or square footage changes your property’s value and risk. Ensure your insurer is informed about all the renovations you make to your home. This will ensure you have sufficient coverage.

Extended Absences From Your house

You may lose your coverage if you leave your property without someone checking on it regularly or without a house sitter. Therefore, don’t leave your property unwatched.

Make sure someone keeps an eye on things while you’re gone for an extended period. Also, if you’re leaving in the winter, drain your pipes to prevent them from bursting while you’re gone.

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Home Insurance in Canada Conclusion

When looking into home insurance in Canada, one of the best ways to get a good deal is to shop around. Not every insurance company has the same rates or coverage limits. You might research insurers like Square One, Aviva, APOLLO Insurance, and Lowest Rates.

Choose an insurance policy based on your needs. While more coverage is better, it can be costly. And although less coverage is cheaper, it can leave you without adequate protection.

The best way to know how much coverage you need is to take inventory of your home. After assessing your property and its contents, look into ways to lower your premium. You might add a new security system or take preventative measures for climate change-related risks.

Getting home insurance in Canada is one of the best decisions you’ll make. Remember to be honest when answering questions and thoroughly review your policy documents before signing.

Looking for home insurance in Canada? Read about the top insurance providers in the country & learn all you need to know about home insurance.

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FAQs about Home Insurance in Canada

What is homeowner's insurance?

Homeowner’s insurance is a policy that provides coverage for a home, townhouse, condo, or apartment that you own. Coverage can be customized to include things like theft, fire, flood, earthquakes, and more.

What is renter's insurance?

Renter’s insurance is a policy that cover’s your rented home, apartment, townhouse, or condo. Renter’s insurance policies can be customized to include your furniture and belongings in addition to the home you rent.

Do I need renter's insurance?

Most landlords require a renter’s insurance policy to be in place when you move in. So generally, renter’s insurance is something you’re required to buy.

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