Is home insurance mandatory in Ontario?
No. However it is the policy that ensures single largest investment for most Ontario residents. Also without Home insurance it is difficult (almost Impossible) to secure a mortgage.
How much insurance do I need for my home?
It depends on the type of Home Insurance you need – Home owners, Condo or Tenants. If you need tenants or condo insurance then we recommend you go thru your unit/apartment and do an inventory. Include all clothes, utensils, furniture, electronics etc. You need to insure your contents accordingly. If you own a house most insurance companies will provide a blanket coverage equivalent to 70-80% of the rebuild value of the home or higher. There are special limits for some items like cash, jewellery, coin collection etc. You need to speak to a broker about how much insurance you need.
What affects my Home Insurance Premiums?
There are few factors that affect your home insurance premiums
- Age of the Home – Older homes typically cost more to insure
- Your neighbourhood – if you live in a post code where there is a history of claims, crime, your insurance will be higher.
- Source of Heat – If your home is heated with electric base boards or natural gas furnaces your insurance premiums will be cheaper as compared to Oil tank, wood/pellet burning stove. Oil tank can lead to environmental damage and woodstove can cause fire.
- Distance from Hydrant- if the home is within 300 meters or 1000 feet of a hydrant your insurance premiums will be cheaper. It is much easy to contain fire when you have a hydrant within that range.
- Replacement cost – the big one. Insurance companies use a replacement cost evaluator to determine the replacement value of your home. The higher the cost the higher the premiums.
- Age of Roof, Plumbing, Electrical wiring affect the rates. Newer the updates cheaper the insurance.
- Occupancy – Primary dwelling is cheaper than rented house or student rental or vacant property.
- Having a swimming pool may increase the rates.
How do I make a claim?
If you have situation of the claim or loss, try and minimize the damage if you can. Call your insurance broker and seek advice. Tell your broker to file the claim on your behalf. Alternatively you can call your insurance company to file a claim. Makes sure you note down the series of events that led to the loss and take pictures. It is much easier and quicker to process the claim if you have proper information. In order to repair the damage insurance companies will advise you to work with a contractor of their choice but you can choose your own contractor.
How can I reduce my home insurance premium?
Some tips to reduce the premiums:-
- You can install a home security system which is centrally monitored.
- You can install sewer back up valve and sump pump to minimise water damage
- Combine your home and auto insurance with same company
- Choose a higher deductible
- Pay upfront. Some companies will give a discount. If not you can save 3% service fee with most insurance companies
- If the mortgage is paid off, inform your insurance company. You may get a mortgage free discount
Where can I buy Home Insurance?
Your best insurance is with an Insurance Broker. You can call us at 289 274 4807 to get a home insurance quote. Alternatively you can call any direct writer or any insurance agent. We recommend you reach out to a local provider as the agent or broker understands the local area better than a call center.
My landlord has insurance; do I need tenant or renters insurance?
It is not mandatory yet but many Landlords are putting a clause that requires you to have tenant insurance before you move in. Landlord’s insurance only insures the building/structure of the property. Any damage to your personal property due to insured peril is not covered by the Landlord’s insurance. Also any personal liability issue is not covered by the Landlord insurance policy. You also get additional living expense which pays for your family accommodation if your apartment is uninhabitable due to a loss caused by insured peril.
My building is insured: do I need condo insurance?
No you don’t need condo insurance but it is important you insure your condo. It covers your contents, liability and pays for any unit improvements and betterments in the event of an insured loss. Additionally you also get additional living expense which pays for your family accommodation if your condo is uninhabitable due to a loss caused by insured peril. Some mortgage companies do require you to have condo insurance.
Why is my Home insurance premium so High?
There could be many reasons. As mentioned earlier there are factors that determine your insurance premiums. Some of the reasons are:
- You live in a post code with many claims
- You have had a history of claims
- Your home is not up to code
- You could have a home based business
- You are renting your basement
- Property is too old.
- There is no hydrant within 300 meters
- Your auto is insured with another provider
- The Material of the home – log homes are more expensive as logs burn quicker than bricks
Is flooding covered through Home Insurance?
It depends on the definition of flood as per the insurance company. Most companies will cover overland flooding and sewer back up caused by sewers, septic tank, sump pump etc. A deductible applies. It is important to have the discussion with your insurance broker on what type of flood and water coverages are available.
If my cottage is rented once in a while, do I need to tell the insurance company?
Yes. On all home / property insurance policies there is a question about business or commercial use. If you rent it out 1 day a year, you are making money from it and hence it is considered business use by insurance companies. It is important to notify your insurance provider about the cottage being rented out. It is better to pay a little more and insure your cottage properly rather than not get paid at all incase of claim.
How Can I pay for my Home Insurance Policy?
It depends on your insurance company. Most companies accept credit cards for annual payments and pre authorised checking for monthly instalments. Some companies have a bi-annual, 3 pay, 4 pay, and monthly credit card as options too. It is important to know that if you choose a payment plan there is a service fee associated with it. For most monthly pay option the service fee is 3% for home insurance policies in Ontario.