How Home Insurance Coverage Works
Home or property insurance is a policy that protects your house and your possessions against unforeseen circumstances, such as fire, water damage, theft, or damage to the inside and outside your property. It may also cover your additional living expenses if you need to vacate your house and live elsewhere while your home is being repaired.
Best Home Insurance Providers in Canada
Not all home insurance is the same. Shop around and compare quotes before you commit to a home insurance provider. Here are some of the best home insurance companies in Canada:
Home Insurance Provider
Compare home insurance quotes from 50+ insurance companies and get discounts when you bundle your home and car insurance with them.
Quick and easy comparison shopping for the best home insurance rates from more than 30 insurers online.
A trusted, Canadian-owned institution for over 70-years.
Allstate Home Insurance
Option to personalize your home insurance.
TD Home Insurance
Offers additional enhanced home coverage and optional add-ons.
Save up to 20% when you also insure your car with Desjardins, or 20% on your home insurance if you are claims-free.
Kanetix is not an insurance provider, but it’s an excellent resource for Canadians looking for the best home insurance policy at a great price. Using their online platform, you can compare home insurance quotes from 50+ insurance companies in less than 5 minutes. Then, choose the best option for you and connect online with a provider to secure the lowest rate. You can also save more on your premium by bundling your home insurance with car insurance with Kanetix.
Although InsuranceHotline.com is not an insurance provider, you can use their online platform to quickly and easily shop for the best home insurance rates from more than 30 insurers online. n just five minutes, you can save an average of $300 on your home insurance. All you have to do is fill out an online quote form and their unbiased search technology will scan the network of some of Canada’s most trusted insurance providers to find the best rate available today. It only takes five minutes and you can save on average $300 on your home insurance. Once the paperwork is done, you can then connect with a licenced broker to purchase a policy from trusted insurance providers that best suits your needs. It’s that easy.
Established in 1945, The Co-Operators has been a trusted, Canadian-owned institution for over 70-years. Home insurance quotes can be done online or in-person, and they offer comprehensive home insurance, as well as optional coverage and claims can be made through their iPhone app. Their coverage goes above and beyond most policies by also covering everything from unauthorized debit or credit card use, identity fraud recovery expenses, and coverage of your personal property while you are moving. Plus, if you need more coverage, you can purchase optional insurance on top of that.
Allstate Home Insurance
If you’re looking for the flexibility to customize your insurance package, Allstate may be your best bet. Depending on your needs, Allstate lets you personalize your home insurance, and there is a wealth of different packages available, from basic coverage to elite to their VIP package. Their “myLocker” feature allows you to organize your home contents by category or room.
TD Home Insurance
If you have specific needs, TD Home Insurance offers additional enhanced home coverage and optional add-ons such as personal valuables and identity theft. That means you can get coverage for parents living in nursing homes, extra coverage to pay for eco-friendly repairs following a covered loss, and coverage for high-value items like jewellery, wine, and art. If you bundle your home and car insurance, you’ll get access to free advice from their network of home contractors.
Desjardins offers “all-risk insurance” and you can save up to 20% when you also insure your car with them and/or if you are claims-free. Additional discounts apply if you install an alarm system, if your home is LEED-certified, or if you’ve installed water damage protection system. The Desjardins Insurance mobile app is also pretty handy – you can manage your insurance policies remotely and file claims anytime, anywhere using your smartphone. It will also send real-time alerts if water or freeze is detected in your home.
Types of Coverage
Insurance isn’t one-size-fits-all and the best home insurance company for you depends on your needs and lifestyle. Typically, there are five different categories available in Canada:
Basic or standard insurance also goes by the moniker “named perils.” It covers the risks to your home and contents that are specifically named. Basic home insurance and is usually more affordable as you as the homeowner carry the financial risk of paying for some of your losses. This might be a good option if you’re looking to keep premium costs to a minimum or you’re prepared to pay for some losses out of your own pocket.
As the name suggests, comprehensive (or “all-perils”) home insurance covers all risks to your house and contents, except for any exclusions listed in the policy – so it’s important to read your policy! A good choice for homeowners who want peace of mind.
If basic coverage is cheese pizza and comprehensive is a meat-lovers, then broad coverage would be pepperoni. It generally protects your home from all risks (except for named exclusions in your policy), as well as named perils coverage on your contents. With this type of coverage, any damage to your home caused by a peril not listed in your policy may not be covered. However, it’s a good choice if you’re looking to save a little money on home insurance.
Home insurance covers your property and your belongings. However, it doesn’t cover you against liability. Personal liability insurance covers legal issues relating to our home. It could be an accident where someone slips on ice on your driveway, or a fire spreads to your neighbour’s property.
This type of policy is designed for houses with special challenges (e.g. there is some structural defect with the house, and it doesn’t meet the standards set by insurers). If you own have a fixer-upper, for example, you can protect it with a no-frills policy until it’s repaired, then apply for more comprehensive coverage. No frills provides the least amount of coverage and is sometimes called a “basic fire policy.”
What Does Home Insurance Cover?
What your insurer will cover partly depends on the type of coverage you opt for. While there’s no hard and fast rule, home insurance companies typically cover the following:
- Damage or loss of your home and other structures on your property
- Damage, loss or theft of your personal belongings
- Injury or property damage to others who visit your property
- Accidental damage you cause to someone else’s property
- Personal property stolen from a vehicle
It’s important you read your policy carefully, so you understand what is—and isn’t—covered. For instance, home insurance doesn’t cover damage that is a result of lack of maintenance, such as damage due to freezing pipes, or normal wear and tear. It also won’t cover you for unexpected events such as earthquakes; however, you can buy additional insurance for instances like these.
Similarly, not all valuables may be covered under your insurance policy. If you have expensive electronics, high-end camera equipment or inherited your grandmother’s diamond brooch, you may need to pay a bit more to have these items properly insured. Don’t assume they’re automatically covered, especially if a single item is worth over $3,000.
Something else to factor in is whether you plan to have guests in your home. For many of us, paying down the mortgage by Airbnb-ing your space is no big deal. And while additional renters insurance is available, it’s important you understand what your protection covers. For example, home-sharing insurance through TD Insurance assumes you’ll be staying in the home at the same time as your guests. Therefore, unsupervised visitors are considered an unexpected risk and you’ll be expected to accept liability.
However, Aviva Canada now offers home-sharing insurance that will cover you if you rent through a home rental network such as Airbnb or HomeAway. Square One Insurance also offers Airbnb home insurance for about $40 per month. Be sure to check you’re properly insured before you hand the keys to your apartment over to complete strangers. After all, who knows if that respectable sounding couple has a freaky weekend planned?
Home Insurance Factors Which Determine Your Premiums
A variety of risk factors determine what your home insurance premium will cost. Some of the factors your insurance company will consider are:
The larger your home, the more it costs to replace it. In addition to the size and composition of your house, insurance companies may consider the quality of the building materials used and the age of the property. Similarly, the more personal valuables you have and the greater their value, the more it’ll cost to replace them.
Location, Location, Location
Where you live can make a difference to your home insurance premiums. Insurers can track claims based on your postal code to determine how likely it’ll be you’ll need to make a claim. Areas with higher accounts of crime or break-ins will translate into higher premiums.
Tied into this is your home’s proximity to a fire hydrant or fire station. The closer you are, the better the chances of saving your house, and the cheaper your premiums should be.
Upgrades to Your Property
Inform your insurer if you’re planning a major reno, such as a new kitchen or finishing an unfinished basement. While these upgrades should increase the value of your home, they can also increase the amount of money you pay on your insurance.
The type of electric writing you have in your home may increase the chances of fire. Aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring is a risk factor, while if the flow of electricity into your house lower than 100-amps could lead to overloading and spark a fire. Wood stoves are another potential fire risk, as well as a source of carbon monoxide poisoning, if not properly installed and maintained. Your insurer may wish to inspect any wood-burning stove you have in your property.
Lead or galvanized piping is usually a sign your plumbing is older, making it more susceptible to cracks and leaks and increasing the risk of water damage claims. A home with plastic plumbing or upgraded copper is preferable to insurers.
Another factor is whether you require extra coverage on hour home insurance. If you want to insure your rare vinyl collection or need sewer back-up protection, that additional coverage will be reflected in your premiums. Running an Airbnb or a home business could also impact your insurance bill.
Credit and Claims History
In many Canadian provinces, an insurance company may charge higher premiums based on your credit score. And if you’ve made personal claims in the past, this may impact your premium. After all, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.
Last Word: Why Get Home Insurance?
Unlike car insurance, home insurance isn’t mandated by law. However, your home may be your biggest source of equity and for that reason alone it’s worth protecting. In addition, most mortgage lenders will require proof of home insurance before they’ll lend you money to purchase your home. But ultimately, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing your policy is there to cover you for the unexpected – like a tree falls crashes onto your roof. Granted, that seems unlikely. But who wants to tempt fate?