What home insurance is Canada’s best?

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Home insurance is one of the most important types of insurance you can have. It offers you peace of mind that your most valuable assets are protected, not only your house or condo but often the possessions inside of them too. 

How would you handle a natural disaster, a fire or a burst pipe? Following a disaster, your home insurance could pay to repair your home or rental property and put you up in different housing until it is ready. 

This guide explains how home insurance works in Canada. Learn what is covered, why you want it and who offers the best insurance plans.

What is home insurance? 

Home and property insurance refers to a category of insurance products that protect both one’s home and the possessions within it. It can cover both personal property and personal liability. Versions of home insurance include homeowners insurance, condo insurance and tenant’s insurance.

This versatile insurance is inexpensive and protects what is likely your largest asset. 

What are the different types of home insurance? 

In Canada, the terms “home insurance” and “home and property insurance” refer to several different types of insurance. These include homeowners insurance, tenant insurance and condo insurance. In essence, all three cover one’s residence. As the nature of these residences is different, so is what they cover.

Type of home insurancePersonal liabilityPossessions coveredTheft coveredDamage to the interiorDamage to the exterior
Homeowners insuranceyesyesyesyesyes
Tenants insuranceyesyesyesyesno
Condo insuranceyesyesyesyesno
Commonly coverages by home insurance type
  • Homeowners insurance protects the physical structure of your home and detached private structures on your property like garages, decks, driveways and sheds. 
  • Tenants insurance, also known as renters insurance, does not cover the entire property. As renters are only responsible for certain types of damage to a rented dwelling, this insurance covers those and possessions. Typically an owner will have a separate policy on the property. 
  • Condo insurance covers the inside of a condominium unit, the belongings within it and damage to common areas originating from your unit (such as a water leak or fire). As a condominium has joint property, the condominium corporation will have its own insurance policy for commonly-owned areas and the exterior of the building.

Note that there are additional types of property insurance that are not covered in this article. These include seasonal insurance, home-based business insurance and rental insurance (for the owners of rental properties). If you are using your property as something other than a living unit for yourself, check with your insurer if that activity is covered. Home businesses, short-term rentals and vacation homes have unique insurance needs.

Is home insurance mandatory in Canada? 

Neither homeowners nor tenants are required by Canada’s federal or provincial governments to purchase insurance.

It is not always so simple, though. If you purchase a home or condo with a mortgage, the mortgage lender may require you to purchase homeowners or condo insurance. It protects their investment and yours. Additionally, some condominium corporations may require their residents to hold individual condo insurance policies. 

Even when it is not required, we strongly recommend home insurance. It is an inexpensive way to cover your most valuable assets. 

What is covered by home insurance? 

Home insurance encompasses two types of coverage, personal property and personal liability. 

  • Personal property refers to the structure of the residence and its contents. 
  • Liability protects a policyholder from injury to other people or damage to their property. 

Most basic policies will cover only the risks to your home and contents named in the policy. These policies may also be referred to as a standard or a named perils policy. 

Broad policies cover most risks to one’s home, but only named contents. 

Comprehensive policies cover most risks to one’s home and most contents.

Note that all of these policies may have exclusions that are not covered. This could be something like flooding or an earthquake if you live in areas prone to these disasters. In these cases, you can often purchase separate coverage against these risks. 

Did you know that home insurance’s liability coverage protects you monetarily from incidents that happen on your property? You can be sued if someone injures themselves on your property or your tree falls on your neighbours’ garage. If this happened to you, your home insurance’s liability coverage would protect you.

What is not covered by home insurance? 

As always, coverage depends on the type of insurance policy you have, your location and the activity that the property is used for. Consider your risk tolerance and needs before purchasing any home insurance.

Common exclusions from standard home insurance policies include:

  • Intentional, fraudulent and criminal losses
  • Flooding (if located in a coastal area or flood-prone area)
  • Sewer backup
  • Landslides
  • Earthquakes
  • War and terrorism
  • Failure to reasonably protect your home
  • Vermin and insect damage
  • Gradual deterioration 

Separate coverage or options are available for many of these risks. 

Unless something is explicitly named in your policy, ask your insurer if you want to protect against a specific kind of risk or cover a valuable object.

What are the best home insurance companies in Canada? 

Which insurance provider and policy is best for you depends on where you live and your risk tolerance.

Popular insurers include:

How much does home insurance cost?

One leading online insurance company shares their average annual cost for home insurance across Canada nationwide. Competitors offer similar rates.

Type of insuranceAnnual premium
Homeowners insurance$1,171
Condo insurance$470
Tenants insurance$355
Average annual cost per insurance type by a leading online insurer

Here are some real quotes our team obtained for properties in Montreal:

Type of insuranceProperty detailsMonthly premium
Homeowners insuranceA paid-off 100m2 property with garage from 1980$91.92
Condo insuranceA condo from 1980$50.83
Tenants insuranceA rental unit in a condo building$40.00
Comparision in monthly prices for homeowners, condo and tenants insurance

The above quotes correspond with the national averages shared in the first chart. Numerous factors influence the price of home insurance. The type of property insured, your province, city and neighbourhood are all considered when calculating your premium.

Everyone’s property and risks are different. 

Factors that can affect the cost of home insurance:

  • Value of property
  • Age of property
  • Location of property
  • Age and condition of the electrical system
  • Age and condition of plumbing
  • Named personal belongings covered
  • Presence of security system
  • Completed renovations
  • Pools

Use our free and anonymous comparison tool to find the best rate for you. 

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Compare rates.

Personalized quotes in seconds

How much home insurance do I need? 

Your home insurance plan should be enough to pay the replacement value for the residence and provide $1,000,000 to $2,000,000 in personal liability coverage.

Finding the best policy for you is not always easy. It is a balance between the value of your insured property, your risk tolerance and your budget. Your belongings matter too. If you are a university student you may prefer to save money because you do not have many valuables in your apartment. On the other hand, someone who is a little older with a large house full of valuable electronics, art, or jewelry would get peace of mind from more coverage. 

As explained above, there are three main forms of policies available: basic, broad and comprehensive. For covering your belongings you may want a comprehensive plan. 

Basic home insurance will often reimburse common valuables like:

  • Bicycles
  • Electronics: TV, laptop, smartphones, game consoles
  • Furniture: chairs, tables
  • Clothing: jackets, shoes

High-value and unusual items probably need to be named on your policy, so ask your insurer about your art, antiques, grandmother’s diamond ring or collection of vintage vinyl records.

When choosing a policy, consider your ability to replace the property or belongings. If you cannot afford to repurchase or to lose something, you should insure it.

Does where you live affect your home insurance price? 

Location is a major factor driving home insurance prices. What your policy costs you changes depending on your province and city.

The frequency of the following can play a role:

  • High crime
  • Flooding
  • Windstorms
  • Wildfire
  • Hail and ice
  • Earthquakes

Natural disasters in British Columbia and Alberta have fueled insurance rates increases, while Quebec enjoys some o the lowest rates in rates. According to an August 2021 CBC article, the average annual costs of claims from severe weather have quadrupled in a decade.

How can I get a home insurance quote online? 

Before purchasing any policy, we recommend shopping around. Coverage and prices can be very different from one insurer to another. Try our comparison tool to get started today. 

Shop the best home insurance!
Compare rates.

Personalized quotes in seconds

Many insurers will give you a quote through their website in exchange for sharing your address, name and contact information. 

How long does it take to get home insurance? 

You can usually get a home insurance quote online or over the phone in a few minutes and finalize the policy in a day. 

This can, however, stretch out longer for some properties. Occasionally, the insurance underwriter needs to verify details because the property is unusual or specific belongings need coverage. 

How to make a claim on my home insurance? 

Here are the steps to follow when making a claim:

  1. File a policy report if the lose stems from a criminal act like a home bugglery.
  2. Call your insurance representative as soon as you can. 
  3. Provide a complete and detailed list of what is damaged or stolen. 
  4. A claims adjuster will then contact you. They will investigate what happened, request documentation and help you with follow-up steps. 
  5. Fill out a proof of loss form listing damages or losses and estimated values. Photos and receipts are important. 
  6. Depending on your coverage and the nature of your claim, your items may be repaired, replaced, or reimbursed. 

When you make a claim, wait to speak with your insurance representative before starting repairs on your house or condo. Ask if you can hire a contractor of your choice or if they will provide one for you. If you hire a contractor without prior approval, it could cause issues with your claim.

How much does home insurance go up after a claim? 

The amount your premium increases after a claim depends on your claims history and the nature of the claim. 

Insurers see policyholders who file a claim as more likely to file future claims. Accordingly, they may increase premiums following a claim. 

It is not always worth making a small claim. Even if premiums do not increase following a small claim, it may make you ineligible for a no-claims discount.

How can I cancel my home insurance? 

To cancel when your policy expires, notify the insurer or your insurance agent as soon as possible after receiving your renewal notice. If you are cancelling before the renewal period, be prepared to pay penalties.

Your insurance provider will ask for a written copy of your intent to cancel your home insurance by way of a signed and dated letter. Speak with your insurance agent or visit their website to see if they have specific procedures. Be prepared to pay penalties if you are cancelling your policy before your term is up.

We do not recommend cancelling your insurance policy without first having another lined up. Gaps in coverage leave you unprotected.

Should I bundle home and car insurance? 

Insurance bundling is when you purchase multiple types of coverage from one insurance company, like home and auto insurance. Insurers often offer a discount if you purchase both plans from them. It may save you up to 15-20% versus getting home and auto insurance policies from separate companies.

How can I save on my home insurance? 

Everyone likes to save money. Here are some tips for saving on your policy:

  • Bundle home and auto insurance
  • Pay your premiums up front for the whole year
  • Increase your deductible
  • Bring plumbing and electrical systems up to code
  • Install a security system
  • Install smart water shut-off valves
  • Ask your insurer what, if any, discounts may be available. Group or corporate discounts can save you money.
  • Maintain a good credit score

The quickest way would be to bundle your home and auto insurance. Other tips include ensuring electrical wires and plumbing are up-to-date and installing a security system, smoke alarms, leak detectors and smart water shut-offs. 

See our other guides on home insurance:

2 comments on "What home insurance is Canada’s best?"
Alastair smith, on 2021-01-07

I live in NS. I was informed by CAA insurance that I need to replace my oil tank or my insurance will be cancelled. I have received quotes from several other Companies who will insure my house with the present oil tank, My oil tank according to manufacturers label is good for another five years, been professionally installed, inside and serviced every year. I contacted NS insurance Government ombudsman and was informed that she feels that they are being unreasonable but unfortunally can not do anything as there is no legislation regarding insurance companies standards in NS. I have a heat pump and planning to get of oil altogether when .y equipment needs to be replaced but presently I have close to a full tank of oil and do not want to be pressured to purchase another oil tank that is not part of my future heating plans.
Is there anything I can do?

Reply
Our expert
Angélique, on 2021-01-08

Hello Alastair,

You should maybe think to change your home insurance, it seems that your home insurance is not being reasonable. You should ask a quote to other home insurance companies such as TD home insurance or SSQ home insurance that are good home insurance companies.

Have a good day,

Best,

HelloSafe Team

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