Ontario Home Insurance
Are you in the market for a home or already have one you want to insure? You’ve come to the right place! Home insurance can be a confusing topic. There are many different types of coverage and many different companies that offer them. Exploring your home insurance options is, unfortunately, a necessary evil. But, we’re here to help!
Income.ca has put together a guide to home insurance in Ontario. We are here to help explain your options so you can find the best home insurance possible. So, if you want to learn more about home insurance to protect you, your home and your property, keep reading!
The Importance of Home Insurance
There is no doubt that owning a home is expensive. It will likely be the biggest purchase you make in your life. With that in mind, wouldn’t you want to protect it?
Home insurance will reimburse the money you spend on fixing it if damaged. Similarly, it cannot replace your treasured items if they are stolen or damaged. But, it can cover their replacement cost. Home insurance removes the financial burden that comes with damage to your home and property.
As home insurance is not legally required in Canada, some homeowners believe they don’t need it. But, most banks and mortgage lenders require you to have home insurance. If you don’t, you and your home are seen as a liability. If they lent you the money and something happened to your home, they would lose their investment.
Ultimately, you never know when an accident could occur. Anything from storms to vandals to thieves could damage your home or steal your property at any time. If you don’t have home insurance, you will be stuck paying for the replacement cost of your items and the damage to your home and property yourself.
What Does Home Insurance Cover For You?
What your home insurance will cover depends on what type of policy you take out. There are three types of home insurance policies. The first policy type is basic coverage. As the name suggests, you will receive a basic level of coverage for your house, the contents in it, and liability coverage.
As it is important to protect your home, broad coverage may be a better option. This type of policy has all-risk insurance coverage for your home. Your home’s contents will have named perils coverage (such as water damage or fire).
The last type of home insurance policy available is comprehensive home insurance. This policy will provide all-risk insurance coverage to both your home and its contents.
Home insurance, in general, will typically protect the following four things. The degree to which your policy covers you will vary between insurance companies and policy types.
- Building & Detached Structures. Home insurance will cover the physical building of your home and its detached structures. If you own a house with a garage and shed, your home insurance will cover all three buildings.
- Personal Property. Your home insurance will also cover your home’s contents, also known as your personal property. This includes everything from appliances, electronics, clothing, jewellery, dishes, etc. Your policy will cover the replacement cost of these items.
- Additional Living Expenses. If you have to leave your home, say because of a fire, your home insurance will provide coverage for your living expenses.
- Personal Liability. Most insurance companies will not only provide coverage for your home, but you as well. If someone is hurt in your home or on your property, personal liability will protect you from a lawsuit.
When you are considering taking out new insurance for the home, be sure your insurance company offers coverage for the above four things at the very least.
Contributing Factors and How Home Insurance is Calculated
Different insurance companies tend to offer you different rates. But, they will all typically take into consideration the same factors when creating a quote for you. Here are ten factors that contribute to how your home insurance is calculated in Ontario.
- Where you live. This is one of the first things an insurance company will look at. If you live in an area with a high crime rate, for example, your quote will be higher.
- Type of heating system. Many homes tend to be heated by oil furnaces. These are seen as a greater fire-risk, so a home with an oil furnace versus an electric one will receive a higher quote.
- Type of wiring. The same goes for your home’s wiring system. Older homes were built with what is called knob and tube wiring. New homes won’t have this type of wiring, as it is seen as a safety hazard. So if your home has knob and tube wiring, your quote will be higher.
- Pipes. Again, the same can be said of your pipes. Older pipes are seen as a greater risk for floods or freezing in the winter. If your home is older and has not had a plumbing upgrade, your quote will be higher.
- Age of roof. Your roof is one of the first things that will protect your home against the elements. If your roof is old or damaged, it cannot do its job properly. This means that your home has a better chance of being damaged, so your insurance quote will be higher.
- Your credit score. If you have a lower credit score, expect to pay a higher premium.
- Your claims history. Insurance companies will be able to access your old home insurance policy. If you made many claims, your new insurance company thinks you are likely to do the same with them. Thus, your home insurance quote will be higher.
- Proximity to fire hydrant and fire station. The closer you are to a hydrant or fire station, the lower your home insurance quote will be.
- Proximity to a body of water. With so many beautiful lakes in Ontario, you may be near a body of water. Unfortunately, this means your home insurance quote will be higher. Homes closer to bodies of water are seen as a greater risk from the elements.
- Cost to rebuild your home. Many insurance companies will calculate or give you a tool to calculate the cost to rebuild your home if it gets damaged. If the price is high, your insurance quote will be increased as well.
Things to Consider Before Taking Out a Home Insurance Policy
There are many things to consider before taking out a home insurance policy. Many companies offer home insurance coverage, so you should always shop around before agreeing to a policy. One company may provide you with comprehensive coverage for the same price as basic coverage at another company. Asking for quotes from multiple companies is an excellent way to determine which one is the best option.
When shopping around, ensure you look at what your home insurance coverage would be. If you have a lot of valuable jewellery, you will need coverage that protects that.
Look into updating your house as much as you can beforehand. If you fix any minor damage such as cracks or leaks, or significant damage such as the need for a new roof, your insurance home quote will be much lower.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does All-Risk Coverage Cover Earthquakes?
Most insurance providers do not cover earthquakes, even if they say the coverage is all-risk. Insurance for perils that are not included (such as earthquakes) is available as an add-on to your policy in most cases.
How Can I Get a Lower Premium?
The best way to receive a lower premium is to keep your house safe and as updated as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to install a security system. You should also update fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Keeping your house updated means you ensure there is minimal damage, such as cracks or leaks. Or more significant upgrades such as a new roof, new plumbing, or new electrical.
Opting for a higher deductible will also get you a lower monthly premium. Just keep in mind that if something happens to your house or property, you will need to pay that high deductible to be reimbursed.
What Type of Coverage do I Need?
As there are three different types of coverage (basic, broad, and comprehensive), you may be wondering which is the best option for you. There’s no general answer that fits everyone; that is why there are different options. To figure out what is the best option for you, take a look at your assets. If you have a lot to protect inside your house, you will want insurance that thoroughly protects your property.
Take a look into what your neighbourhood is known for as well. If the crime rate is high in your neighbourhood, you’ll want to ensure you have coverage for theft and vandalism.
Ultimately, the type of insurance you need will depend on your and your house. But, comprehensive insurance is always the right choice because you’ll be as covered as much as possible.
What Information Do I Need to Provide to Get a Quote?
As shopping around for the best insurance provider is always a good idea, you will need to contact a few companies to get a personalized quote. When trying to obtain a quote, you will need the following information.
- The address of your house.
- The style of your house (i.e. whether it’s two-stories, a bungalow, detached, etc.).
- The year the house was built.
- The size of your house.
- The type of heating and electrical system in your house.
- The type of roof your house has and how old it is.
- An inventory of your valuables and their approximate worth.
- Any past insurance claims you have made.
If this is a new house, you likely won’t have all of this information off the top of your head. Getting in touch with your real estate agent or the previous owners should solve that problem.
Do I Need Home Insurance in an Apartment?
Many apartment owners or renters wonder if they still need home insurance. The quick answer is no. But, it would be best if you considered tenant insurance instead. This is because the property owner will cover the physical apartment or condo building. But, your belongings will not be covered. Tenant insurance will thus cover your belongings and typically cover your liability as well.
Does Home Insurance Cover Businesses?
If you work from home and have clients over, or run a business such as a daycare out of your house, you may be wondering if you are covered. Unfortunately, you will not be covered for any business-related damage costs. You will instead need home-based business insurance to receive coverage.
Can My Insurance Premium be Raised?
The unfortunate answer is yes; your premium can be raised over the years. Your premium may increase due to several reasons. Inflation is the biggest one. Building costs may have increased as well. Or, the number of insurance claims may have increased. To counteract all of this, your provider may raise your premium over the years.
The Bottom Line
While home insurance may be expensive, the peace of mind you get is worth it. You never know when an accident could occur. A storm could severely damage your home at any time, and you may not have money lying around to fix it. If you have insurance, it will help you cover the costs of damage or loss to your home and property. Coverage for personal liability will also likely be included to protect you from lawsuits.
Overall, the price you pay for the insurance of home and property is worth it.