Condo insurance in Canada explained (2020)

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on 2020-11-12

Condominiums have multiplied in the biggest cities of Canada since the 1960s. Symbol of the modernization of the country, the condos opened a new era of co-living between the citizens. If condos could be owned by one only individual or family, it has been more usual nowadays that condos are ruled by a corporation of owners – which implies rights but also duties. What is condo insurance about?

We tell it all, so that you can choose the best condo homeowners insurance for your property. This is condo insurance coverage explained just for you.

What is condo insurance?

Condo insurance is also called condominium insurance. Indeed, it is intended for homeowners who own a building under the co-ownership regime. This condo homeowners insurance mainly aims to insure four things:

  • Your personal contents that are within your unit
  • Improvements made to your unit
  • The payment of your share for the condo’s corporation insurance and deductibles
  • Your personal liability.

Condo insurance always goes together with a complementary insurance that must be taken by the condominium corporation, in order to cover the common areas of the building and the corporation’s liability (see section below).

What does condo insurance cover?

Condo insurance is intended to protect your personal contents and the improvements made to your unit into the condominium. It also covers your personal liability. The main circumstances under which a condo homeowners insurance can be claimed are:

  • Natural disasters (fire, floods, storm)
  • Thefts and burglaries
  • Electrical damage
  • Water damage (rupture of a faulty pipe or piping for example)
  • Damage of all kinds.

In addition, there are many possible options among the condo insurance quotes offered by insurers, which make it possible to deal with a large number of situations in which the contract holder may suffer a loss (ex: in the event of a soil, fuel oil damage, etc.).

This coverage provided by condo insurance is supplemented by the condo’s corporation insurance.

The condo’s corporation insurance

The condo’s corporation, sometimes referred to as an “association of co-owners”, is the governance body bringing together all the co-owners of the same condo. It is mandatory for condo’s corporations to take out an insurance covering all the usual risks associated with the condo. Here are the items covered by a standard condo’s corporation insurance:

  • The structure of the building, including the common areas (entrance halls, lobbies, corridors, stairs, elevators and roof)
  • Parts of the condo’s structure included into the co-owners’ apartments (walls forming part of the structure, floors and windows)
  • The fittings of the apartments as originally delivered, excluding any improvements made since then (example: original floors, original furnishings, bathtub, etc.)
  • The goods which fall under the condo’s corporation property (concierge’s lobby, room for bicycles, furniture of the common areas, etc.)
  • The condo’s corporation civil liability (in case of a harmful decision taken for example)
  • The directors’ and officers’ liability.

Who should pay what? Condo insurance coverage explained

It is important to have condo insurance coverage explained to understand who should pay what. Indeed, condo insurance and condo’s corporation insurance complement each other, and form a comprehensive condo insurance together. While condo’s corporation insurance is a legal requirement, there is no obligation for co-owners to purchase condo homeowners insurance for their own apartment unit – although some condominium’s corporations sometimes require it in their internal regulations.

When a disaster occurs, a question often comes up: between the condo’s corporation and the co-owner(s), who should pay what? The table below summarizes what falls under the co-owner’s insurance and what falls under the condo’s corporation insurance.

Insured articlesCo-owners’ insuranceCorporation’s insurance
Contents within the apartment unitsYes
Improvements to the apartment unitsYes
Co-owners’ liabilityYes
Condo’s corporation liabilityYes
Building structure and common areasYes
Part of the condo included in the apartment unitsYes
Fittings of the apartment units as originally deliveredYes
The insurance repartition between co-owners and the condo’s corporation

There is a mechanism in condominiums called “distribution” between the corporation and the co-owners. It imposes co-owners to pay a monthly share, which is used to cover insurance deductibles in the event of a claim made by the corporation or the repair of any damage occurring to the common areas under his responsibility. Thus, in the end, each co-owner contribues to the corporation’s insurance.

How much is condo homeowners insurance?

The average cost of condo insurance varies a lot depending on the level of coverage selected. In the case of co-owner insurance, the average cost will vary in particular depending on:

  • The value of the contents you claim to have in your apartment unit (especially if you own valuable property such as jewelry, works of art, etc.)
  • The value of the improvements you will have made on the original fittings (example: you have renovated the kitchen, or you have installed a high-value parquet)
  • The level of civil liability required in your condo (if applicable)
ExampleEstimated price
Immeuble of 1980 with less than 12 appartements in the center of Calgary Montréal$ 34,1 / month
Immeuble of 2000 with more than 13 appartements in the center of Toronto$ 26,4 / month
Quotes made on October, 27 (2020), for a graduated man born in 1986, with no claims record

However, the average cost of condo insurance covers change a lot from one province to another. Here are some indications.

Average cost of a condo insurance in Toronto and Ontario

Condo insurance is to be found in Toronto at an average good cost. Based on numbers provided by Square One company, an average condo insurance in Toronto is to be paid $ 26/month. Condo insurance in Toronto is very popular, for it is the biggest city of Canada and is therefore composed of many condominiums. However, the average cost of condo insurance in Ontario would rather be around $78 / month, as said on the Insure Eye website.

Average cost of a condo insurance in BC and Vancouver

The average cost of condo insurance in BC (for homeowners) is around $85 / month. This is an average $11 / month more than the national average condo insurance cost. However, the media reported in June 2020 an average 40% growth on the BC condo insurance costs. Whatever it is, condo insurance in Vancouver is famous to be one of the most expensive in Canada.

Average cost of a condo insurance in Calgary and Alberta

Following the same sources as taken above, the average cost of condo insurance in Calgary in 2020 is 34$ / month, so slightly more than the Toronto condo insurance cost. As concerns the average condo insurance cost in Alberta, it is around $84 / month, just a little bit under the BC condo insurance price.

What is the best condo insurance?

Finding the best condo insurance quote doesn’t have to be easy. Depending on whether you are looking for the cheapest condo homeowners insurance, the most comprehensive condo insurance or the most flexible terms and conditions, there may be many criteria. However, here is a recap of the best condominium insurance deals available on the market.

TD condo insurance

In Canada, TD is one of the main insurance providers of condo insurance. Indeed, TD condo insurance is specially adapted to condo needs. Here is what is included in the complete condo insurance plans at TD:

  • All-Risk coverage for your belongings in your unit
  • Coverage for the improvements made in your unit
  • Personal Liability coverage
  • Additional Living Expenses Coverage
  • Loss Assessment is coverage

The TD condo insurance plans are among the most comprehensive in Canada, and are affordable at competitive average costs.

RBC condo insurance

The most comprehensive RBC condo insurance plans are offered at very good average costs in all Canada. Here are the main risks covered by the RBC condo insurance plans:

  • Your personal belongings
  • Your unit upgrades
  • Coverage for your living expenses
  • Personal Liability & Shortfalls

As for the TD condo insurance, the RBC condo insurance plans may include more options depending on level of coverage wished by the apartment’s owner.

BCAA condo insurance

BCAA condo insurance quotes usually offer a complete set of covered risks for the co-owners of a condo, such as:

  • Fire & smoke
  • Crime & vandalism
  • Personal liability
  • Water damage
  • Building improvements
  • Strata coverages
  • Additional Living Expenses
  • Unit Additional Protection

If you want to upgrade your BCAA condo insurance plan, you can also select more options for a more comprehensive cover.

How to get a condo insurance quote online?

Before taking out a condo insurance policy, you will probably want to get various condo insurance quotes online. You can access a comparison of condo homeowners insurance quotes online directly on the websites of the various insurers in Canada. However, the best way to compare condo insurance quotes online is still to use a comparator like the ones offered by Hello Safe. While shopping, you will find the cheap condo insurance quote that suits your needs.

What is not included into condo insurance quotes?

When comparing condo insurance quotes, be aware that they do not cover all the situations that could affect your apartment unit or your personal contents – even in the case of a comprehensive insurance. In fact, condo insurance plans do not cover the following situations:

  • The defect and normal wear and tear of your home
  • Some water damage, such as sewer infiltration for example (it is nevertheless possible to add them as an option)
  • Buildings built over a century ago (in some cases)
  • When your claim record is too long (some insurers asks, for example, the number of claims made over the past 7 years as concerns home insurance).

5 tips to get cheap condo insurance quotes

The cost of a condo insurance can represent a major monthly expense in the life of a Canadian household. That’s why it’s important to put some good ideas into practice to find the best condo homeowners insurance quote at the best cost. Here are 5 tips to lower the average cost of your condo insurance plan:

  1. Make your home secure

The idea is to make your home more secure and less risky. In general, if you install a sophisticated lock mechanism, or several locks on your door, your insurer should lower the average cost of your condo insurance.

  1. Increase your condo insurance deductibles

Insurance companies may ask you for the level of deductible you are prepared to pay in the event of damage occurring. To be clear, the higher you choose a deductible level, the lower your condo insurance average cost will be. You can therefore increase your deductible level to obtain a lower condo insurance premium.

  1. Bundle your condo home insurance with auto insurance

In Canada, the majority of insurers offer discounts when you bundle auto and home insurance. Take advantage of it finding the best bundled quotes.

  1. Don’t be overinsured

While you have to find the right level of coverage for your property and contents, you must avoid falling into the excess of wanting to insure everything. Keep in mind that the more claims you make, the more likely you are to pay deductibles, while your insurance record deteriorates. Be reasonable.

  1. Shop around condo insurance quotes

Taking the time to shop around for different online condo insurance quotes is essential to getting condo insurance at the best cost. Indeed, premiums vary from one insurer to another, sometimes in significant proportions. Using a condo insurance quote comparator like the one offered by HelloSafe is therefore good practice to reduce the amount of your premium, and to find the best cost for condo insurance.

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