Home Insurance in Canada

October 6, 2020 | Editorial Team

Home Insurance

Your home is a significant investment. You will want to make sure you protect your home and property. Although having home insurance isnot a legal requirement in Canada, it is still a good idea. Also, if you need to take out a mortgage, many lendersrequire it toknow their investment is protected.

In any case, insurance for the home is a good idea because damage or theft could happen. Things such as severe thunderstorms causing water damage or even fire are often out of your control. If you don’t have home insurance to protect your home and property, you will have to pay for any damage.

Similarly, if someone accidentally gets injured on your property or in your home, you could be held liable. Home insurance typically has personal liability coverage, to give you peace of mind.

In Canada, there arethree main types of home insurance policies. You can choose from basic coverage, also known as named perils. Basic coverage is as it sounds: basic. It will only cover the perils you choose, such as covering only fire or only theft. Perils insurance is the cheapest option.

The next home insurance policy available is broad coverage. This home insurance policy will cover more named perils than basic coverage, but still not all of them.

Finally, the most popular type of home insurance policy is comprehensive coverage. It is comprehensive as it covers your home and property from most risks. Risks such as sewer backup, overland water, identity theft, or earthquakes are not covered. But, you can take out optional, additional coverage for those, and named perils.

Condo Insurance

Condos have become increasingly popular in Canada, especially in big cities like Toronto. This is because they can hold more people for the property space they take up. When you own a condo, you own the unit you live in. This means that if you get condo insurance, it covers your unit. The rest of the building should be insured by the condo corporation. Residents typically have to pay a condo fee that will partially go towards the insurance.

Comprehensive condo coveragein Canada tends to cover whatever personal property you have in your unit. This could include furniture, electronics, and even clothing. It also typically has personal liability coverage in case you damage someone else’s unit or other property within the condo. It will also cover you if you accidentally harm someone in your unit. In some cases, Condo insurance will cover living expenses if you need to temporarily move out due to a covered peril.

Like home insurance, there are some perils not automatically covered with condo insurance. This includes sewer backup, overland water damage, and identity theft. There is, however, additional coverage available if you want to add it to your policy.

Condo insurance is not legally required in Canada. As you own only the unit within the building, most condo buildings require owners to have it. Similarly, mortgage lenders also require it.

Tenant Insurance

If you don’t own a home or condo, you won’t need home insurance. Instead, if you are renting, you will need tenant insurance. Your landlord will likely have their own to protect the home and/ or property you are renting. But, theirs will not cover your personal belongings or anyone being injured in your home.

Their insurance company will cover the things in the home and property we discussed earlier, such as the physical structure or pipes. Similarly, it should cover things such as storm or earthquake damage.

Although getting tenant insurance is not legally required, it is a good idea. It will protect your personal belongings both when they are in your home or with you while you’re on vacation, for example. It will also cover any living expenses needed if you can’t live in your home due to any damage or repairs being done. It may also include coverage for anyone being accidentally injured in your home or property.

Just like with home insurance, companies offer three main types of tenant insurance. This includes comprehensive coverage, broad coverage, and basic coverage. As your landlord will likely have full-coverage home insurance, basic tenant coverage should be enough for you.

When looking for tenant insurance, make sure it covers the three main things. Personal liability, your possessions, and your potential living expenses if you need to leave your home. Also, ensure the insurance company doesn’t have extremely high deductibles. Otherwise, you may spend more money paying the deductible than you would just paying the replacement cost.

Do you Need a Home Insurance Broker?

Shopping around for home insurance in Canada can be stressful as there are so many policies available. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, it can be even harder. This is where hiring a broker could come in handy!

A broker works with a variety of companies to ensure that you get the best quote possible that fits the needs of both you and your home.

A broker will sit down with you to first discuss what your needs are. For example, do you need additional coverage? Is your property or home really big, so you want comprehensive insurance to protect everything? Do you just want the basic option to meet your landlord or mortgage lender’s needs? Whatever the reason you need home insurance, a broker can help you find the perfect insurance, home policy.

Working with a broker is also beneficial in the long run because they will help you file a claim in the future if you need it.

Applying for home insurance seems like a relatively easy process. But, working with a broker will ensure you get the best coverage possible at the best price. It will take the stress and pressure off of your hands, and all you need to worry about is moving into your new, insured home!

What Affects the Cost of my Home Insurance?

If you have received a few home insurance quotes from a variety of companies, you may notice a slight discrepancy between them. Many companies tend to use the same information to create your home insurance quotes. But, each company will also offer a different type of coverage.

So, you may be wondering what exactly affects the cost of your policy. The main thing is what type of home insurance coverage you choose. But, there are other things insurance companies take into consideration to create your home insurance quote.

The main thing insurance companies will consider is your postal code. If your home is located in a dangerous area or an area that is known for natural disasters, for example, your home insurance quotes will have a high value.

The next thing they will consider is the state of your home and property. Is it older? Does it need a lot of construction work done? If yes, your quotes will have a high value.

Do you need additional coverage for your home insurance policies? For example, do you want extra coverage for the replacement cost of your high-value property? Do you want the most comprehensive home insurance policies available to cover all perils? If yes, you will have to pay for higher coverage.

Are you a first-time owner with no insurance history? Or have you made big claims on one of your home insurance policies before? If yes to either, your home insurance quotes will be higher.

Essentially, if a home insurance company thinks you or your home is a liability or you want additional coverage, you will be charged a higher rate.

House insurance broker near me

Ontario

As Canada’s most populated province, you can bet that Ontario has plenty of home insurance policies available. In fact, there are over 40 insurance companies In Ontario alone. Here are the ten best home insurance companies in Ontario:

  • Intact Financial Corporation.
  • TD Insurance, General Insurance.
  • Aviva Canada, Inc.
  • Wawanesa Mutual Insurance.
  • Desjardins General Insurance.
  • GroupRSA Canada Group.
  • AIG Insurance Co Of Canada.
  • Co-operators General Insurance Co.
  • Lloyd’s Underwriter.
  • Economical Insurance.


While all ten of these companies offer great home insurance, choosing the best one for you will depend on what kind of coverage you need. To give you a better idea of the home insurance available in Ontario, let’s look at Intact Financial Corporation.

Intact Financial Corporation is a Toronto-based company that has been around since 1809. They have every type of insurance policy you could think of, but their home insurance specifically is quite comprehensive. They offer home, condo, and tenant insurance. All will protect your home, outdoor structures, property, your contents, and yourself.

Quebec

Quebec, Canada’s French-speaking province, has its own set of reliable companies for home insurance. The top four companies for home insurance coverage in Quebec are:

  • Belairdirect.
  • Promutuel.
  • La Capitale.
  • Desjardins General Insurance.


Quebec’s regulations for home insurance are relatively the same in that it is not legally required to have it, but there are some differences. Damage from certain things such as freezing conditions or excessive snowfall is more likely in Quebec. This means your coverage may be higher there to accommodate this.

Similarly, as the price of your coverage is based on the quality of your home, your policy may be more expensive in Quebec. This is because Quebec, especially Montreal, is known for its Victorian and Gothic architecture. While it’s beautiful and well-sought after, that kind of property costs more to maintain. So, your policy will cost more to offset the potential cost of damage to your home from simple wear and tear.

To circle back to the cold water, especially in Northern Quebec, make sure your policy has coverage for winter damage. This is because many pipes freeze, burst, then can flood your home. Or something like trees can freeze, fall on your property or home and cause extensive damage. Depending on the type of coverage you buy, your policy should cover this, mostly unavoidable, damage in Quebec.

Nova Scotia

Moving to the East Coast of Canada, here are some of the best companies for home insurance in Nova Scotia:

  • Intact Home Insurance.
  • Belair Direct Home Insurance.
  • Allstate Home Insurance.
  • Johnson Home Insurance.
  • Cooperators Home Insurance.


As Nova Scotia is a Maritime province surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, it gets quite severe weather. The type of weather we’re talking about here is hurricanes and flooding. Nova Scotia actually has a hurricane season that lasts for almost half the year. Starting in June and ending in November. If you have never been in a hurricane, you at least likely know the damage they can cause.

Nova Scotia also gets a lot of precipitation, both from the hurricanes and extreme winter storms. This can sometimes lead to flash flooding. Flooding can not only severely damage your home, but your property as well.

So, when looking for coverage in Nova Scotia, make sure your policy covers extreme weather conditions. Including, but not limited to, hurricanes and flooding. Coverage for these perils may cost more in your policy. But, it’s an invaluable addition as you never know when a hurricane, flood, or other extreme weather could hit.

New Brunswick

The next Maritime province on our list is New Brunswick. Here are some of the best/ well-known companies that sell home insurance in New Brunswick.

  • TD Insurance.
  • The Co-operators.
  • Aviva Insurance.
  • Intact Insurance.
  • Allstate.


Similar to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick has extreme weather conditions as well. New Brunswick gets a lot of windstorms, overland flooding, and sewer backup from the flooding. New Brunswick also has an increased chance of hurricane damage.

So, when looking for a policy in New Brunswick, you need to make sure the company covers extreme weather conditions such as these. Or that you can purchase it as an add-on.

Due to the necessary extreme weather condition coverage, your premium could be high in New Brunswick. If you show that you reinforced your property, you could potentially lower the cost of your premium. You can do this by reinforcing against ice, snow, sewer backups, and overland flooding. Alternatively, you could opt for a higher deductible in the hopes that you won’t need to use it.

Manitoba

Moving back to central Canada, here are some of the most well-known companies that sell home insurance in Manitoba.

  • The Co-operators.
  • Great-West Life Assurance Company (founded in Winnipeg in 1891).
  • Intact Insurance.
  • Wawanesa Insurance.
  • Johnson Insurance.


Although Manitoba is so close to Ontario, it has quite a few more risk factors. One of the major ones in summer is forest fires. Manitoba has tons of beautiful forests, but with the heat, they are a risk. If your home is near a forest, it is also at risk, and wind can help fire travel easily across the province.

Manitoba is also at risk for tornadoes. On average, Manitoba will have 7 to 10 tornadoes a year, typically focused on the south of Manitoba. Due to the risk of tornadoes, there is also a risk of flooding. Manitoba’s overland flooding affects basements, farmland, foundations, sewage systems.

When shopping for home insurance in Manitoba, it is important that you are covered for forest fires, tornadoes, and flooding.

British Columbia

Onto the west coast now, here are the most well-known companies that sell insurance in British Columbia.

  • TD Insurance.
  • Intact Insurance.
  • The Co-operators.
  • Belairdirect.
  • BCAA.


Of all the provinces in Canada, BC has the highest risk of earthquakes. They’re not common, but cities such as Victoria and Vancouver have a higher risk than most Canadian cities. Earthquakes can be devastating and can completely destroy homes. Earthquake coverage is not common in policies. So, when buying a policy in BC, you should ensure you get additional coverage for earthquake damage.

Like Manitoba, BC has a high risk of forest fires. The severity of the risk is also rising every year, especially in cities such as Kelowna, Penticton, and on Vancouver Island. Ensure your policy covers natural disasters such as forest fires. Potentially even living expenses if you need to evacuate your home.

As policies that cover earthquakes will likely be expensive, you can take measures to get a lower premium. Protect your home against earthquakes as best as you can, and companies will be more likely to lower your premium. You can do this by securing big pieces of furniture or items such as your water heater. Also, ensure items attached to the wall, such as shelves, are secure. But, really, who does that?

Prince Edward Island

The last Maritime province on our list is Prince Edward Island. Here are some of the most well-known companies that sell home insurance in Prince Edward Island.

  • CAA.
  • The Co-operators.
  • PC Insurance.
  • Sonnet.
  • Belairdirect.


As Prince Edward Island is an island, it is especially exposed to the elements, meaning your home on the island would be as well. There is often flooding in Prince Edward Island as the sea level is rising each year. Similarly, Canada is known for being cold, and Prince Edward Island is no different.

Winter in Prince Edward Island is cold, and as water is constantly coming in from the sea, there is often ice on the roads and sidewalks. It is important to note, then, that if someone falls on your property from the ice or snow, you are liable. A good policy, however, will cover you if someone does fall.

The winter will also bring frozen pipes, which could then burst and flood your home if not taken care of properly. All of Prince Edward Island is at risk of these types of weather conditions. So, your policy must cover these conditions in Prince Edward Island. Otherwise, you could be left paying out of pocket for damage to your home or potential injuries to pedestrians.

Saskatchewan

Many of the provinces we’ve discussed so far have had quite similar options for companies. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, has some specific to the province. Here are the most well-known companies that offer home insurance in Saskatchewan.

  • SGI Canada.
  • Wawanesa Insurance.
  • The Co-operators.
  • CAA Saskatchewan.
  • Aviva Insurance.


Saskatchewan has one of the most variable weather types in Canada. Summers are too hot, and winters are too cold. It is so hot in summer, in fact, that Saskatchewan if often at risk for drought. Similarly, it is so cold in winter that pipes will often freeze and then burst, causing flooding and water damage.

Flooding can not only happen from burst pipes but from runoff from mountains or plains during the summer and spring. Or, lakes or river flooding in the summer. So, flooding is a problem in Saskatchewan.

Not only is flooding a problem in Saskatchewan, but tornadoes are as well. Prairie land is the ideal condition for thunderstorms and tornadoes to start. Saskatchewan is full of prairie land. Saskatchewan actually has the highest number of tornadoes a year in Canada, averaging about 18 a year. Cities that are heavily populated, such as Saskatoon and Regina, have a higher risk.

So, if you’re looking for an insurance policy in Saskatchewan, ensure that it covers both tornadoes and flooding in addition to the basics.

Alberta

If you are looking for home insurance in Alberta, here are some of the most well-known companies in the province.

  • TD Insurance.
  • Alberta Motor Association.
  • Belairdirect.
  • Intact Insurance.
  • The Co-operators.
  • Aviva.


Like many of the provinces we’ve discussed so far, flooding is a major concern in Alberta as well. Alberta has many creeks, lakes, streams, and rivers. When they freeze in winter, then thaw in spring, these bodies of water tend to flood.

As flooding is a big issue, so is basement seepage. Water from the floods will seep into the soil and into the foundation of your home. All of Alberta is at risk of this, as well as sewage backup. Sewage systems in Alberta can also become overloaded when flooding. This means sewage has nowhere to go, and it will go back into your home through the sewer line.

Alberta also has tons of forests throughout Alberta and hot temperatures during the summer. This leads to a risk for forest fires, which can cause serious damage to your home.

Normal policies don’t tend to cover sewage backup, forest fires, and flooding. So, when looking for home insurance in Alberta, paying more to be covered for these conditions is important.

Newfoundland

Ending our list is the most easterly province, Newfoundland. Here are some of the most well-known companies that offer insurance in Newfoundland.

  • TD Insurance.
  • RBC Insurance.
  • Intact Insurance.
  • Aviva Canada.
  • The Co-operators.
  • Johnson Insurance.


As Newfoundland is a coastal province, there are many extreme weather conditions you need to take into consideration. The main one that most Canadians likely know is that Newfoundland is cold. But it is really cold. Cold enough to damage roofs and walls of your home as ice will form on them, then water will seep inside.

Similarly, when the snow melts, the land will sometimes flood and seep into homes. Or severe storms can also cause flooding.

As if that wasn’t enough, Newfoundland also occasionally has earthquakes. This can cause a lot of damage to your home, especially if it is not earthquake-proofed.

Lastly, Newfoundland also has tons of trees and has a hot summer. This leads to more than 150 wildfires every year. So, your home could also be at risk of burning down, even if you are not surrounded by trees as the fire will travel.

Insurance in Newfoundland should cover all of these extreme weather conditions. More often than not, you will need to pay for additional coverage.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that home insurance, condo insurance, and tenant insurance are not legally required in Canada. But they are important. You never know what kind of damage your home or property could undergo. Perils such as storms, natural disasters, and theft are largely out of your hands. If you don’t have home insurance, the replacement cost of any items stolen or any damage you need to fix will have to come from your pocket.

So, having home insurance will help give you peace of mind. Depending on what home insurance type (comprehensive, broad, or basic) you go with, you should be covered for most damage and perils.

Paying for home insurance policies every month when you don’t seem to be using the coverage may seem wasteful at first. But, you never know when you will need that damage, liability, or theft coverage. You don’t want to be stuck with the replacement cost of anything that could have simply been covered.

If you want any further information about other types of insurance in Canada, Income.ca has you covered! Visit our homepage to explore more articles about bank accounts, credit cards, or insurance products in Canada. We want to help make Canadians more financially literate, and hopefully, this guide was a good first step for you!