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It’s more than just a roof over your head, it’s your home. It’s where everything that matters, is found. It’s also likely your biggest investment which is why home insurance is essential for homeowners. A home insurance policy safeguards not only the house itself and your personal effects, but it also protects you and your family personally with liability coverage.
What is home insurance?
In a word, a homeowner’s insurance policy is protection. Home insurance offers financial protection should an incident like fire or theft require repair or replacement of your home or your belongings. Home insurance covers the physical structure of your house and your possessions. It also provides coverage for your personal liability should you be held legally responsible for injuries or property damage that you unintentionally cause.
Do I need home insurance? Are homeowners required to have home insurance in Canada?
If you have a mortgage, then yes, it’s likely required by your lender. Once you’re mortgage-free, however, technically you could decide not to have it, but forgoing home insurance is definitely not recommended. There’s too much at risk, financially, to skip out on home insurance. Think of the expenses involved—and the hit to your overall finances—if there’s a fire that causes considerable damage to all, or parts, of your home; a tree snaps during a storm and lands on your roof; or, you’re sued because someone slipped on the path leading to your door after a snowfall. It’s a gamble not worth taking because the outcome could affect your financial wellbeing for life.
A homeowner’s insurance policy is typically comprised of four main elements that offers financial protection when bad things happen. A home insurance policy will generally provide:
- Coverage for your dwelling, the
- Coverage for your contents,
basically all the stuff you and your family own
- Coverage for additional living
expenses, in the event you need to evacuate your home or are unable to live in
it due to an insured event (like fire)
- Coverage against lawsuits, should
you (or a family member living in your home) accidentally cause someone’s
injury or damages their property and they sue you
What’s not covered by your home insurance policy will vary by insurer, but in general, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover the costs associated with:
- Maintenance to the home
- Damages caused by insects or
- Damages that have been
- Damages that could have been
avoided if precautions had been taken
- Damages resulting from an
earthquake, overland flooding or sewer back-up (unless additional coverage is
Additionally, if you want to ensure that your home-based business insurance is insured you’ll need to purchase additional coverage as this is also not automatically included as part of a typical home insurance policy.
There are basically three types of home insurance policies that a homeowner can purchase:
- A named perils home insurance
policy will only cover you for damages that are caused by events specifically
listed in your policy’s wording. If the cause of the damage is not itemized as
an insurable loss, then you don’t have coverage. This type of home insurance
policy is also sometimes referred to as a basic policy.
- An all-risk home insurance policy
covers you for damage caused by any event, except those excluded and detailed
in your policy’s wording. This type of home insurance policy is also sometimes
referred to as a comprehensive policy.
- The third type of home insurance
policy is a combination of both the named perils version and all-risk. It’s a
policy that provides coverage for all-risks on the home itself (unless
excluded) and named perils on your possessions.
When you purchase home insurance, the liability and contents coverage portion protects you, your spouse or partner, as well as any minor children living with you. It also covers older children who may be attending school outside of the city, but whose primary residence is your home. However, it does not cover tenants or boarders. If you have tenants or boarders, you’ll need to let your home insurer know as they represent a slightly different risk and will need to be account for; additionally, it’s best any tenants or renters you share your home with have their own tenant’s insurance policy as their possessions are not included under your policy.
There’s a lot that goes into determining your home insurance rate, and the following are just a few of the more common factors that affect your home insurance premium.
- Your neighbourhood: If your home
is located in a neighbourhood that's prone to sewer back-ups, theft or
vandalism, for example, your home insurance rate will reflect the increased
likelihood that you may need to submit a claim.
- Your home: Details about your home
like, its age, size, replacement value, proximity to fire hydrants, how it was
constructed (e.g. with fire resistant materials), whether or not there’s a
pool, security alarm or fireplace, as well as the way it’s heated and wired
will all affect your premium.
- You: As the homeowner, you are
also a factor in what you pay for your coverage. For example, if you smoke,
have a history of insurance claims, have tenants, or run a home-based business,
you may find that your premiums are higher.
There are a few home insurance myths that lead people astray when it comes to what does affect their home insurance premiums, and the following are a few of the most common.
- Gas appliances: Gas appliances,
like stoves and dryers, are generally treated no differently from a home
insurance standpoint than electric appliances.
- One child or 10: Whether you've
got one child or 10, the number of children you have will not affect your home
- The size of your mortgage: How
much you owe on your mortgage is also not a factor. It doesn't matter if you
owe $50,000 or $500,000 your home insurance rate will be the same. However, if
you're mortgage-free you could qualify for a discount that could be as much as
15 per cent. On the flipside, if you have multiple mortgages on the same
property, this could increase what you pay for coverage.
- The market value of your home: The
market value of your home is not a factor when it comes to your premium. A home
is insured, not for its market value, but the cost to rebuild it should
Is a homeowner’s insurance policy expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. Compare home insurance quotes today to save.
For the peace of mind and protection you’re purchasing, home insurance is a steal. Even so, there’s no reason for you to overpay for the coverage you need. To spend less on your home insurance coverage, shop for a better price at Kanetix.ca. We search Canada’s top home insurance providers to make sure you get your lowest rate. Compare home insurance quotes today in minutes and find out how much you could be saving!
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