uw logo

Select your language

hands protecting house
Home insurance, commonly known as homeowner's insurance, is a type of policy covering a private residence. If you are thinking about purchasing a new home, you will need to understand precisely how it works. Understanding your policy will, without a doubt, avoid making mistakes when choosing what is the best right coverage for you. We help you get the best home or property protection deal.


Are you paying rent to your landlord, or you are the landlord?




Listen to our Podcast  Here about choosing the best home insurance companies.

Overview of What is inside the policy

What would you expect from home insurance?
Most large insurance companies in the Canadian market offer a great combination of the features and coverage types on their policy package:
  • Having Liability coverage on the premises.
  • The physical buildings include a shed and wings.
  • Contents including furniture and personal belonging.
  • Important features such as loss of use (additional living expenses).
  • Or loss of other personal possessions away from home.
  • Additional available policy discounts.

Almost all insurers provide financial relief against disasters on standard homeowners insurance coverage. 

What protections are generally included in home insurance?
The policy is a multiple-line policy that includes the property, features, and personal liability coverage. It comes as a total premium; the insured only pays a single premium for all declared on the policy.

  • The policy will cover Liability, any damage to property caused by the owner, family members, household pets to other's property or injury to them unintentionally.
  • The cost of a policy or premium often depends on replacing the entire house, commonly known as replacement cost, additional endorsements, and riders attached to the contract.
  • The policy is a form of agreement between the insurer and the property owner that lives there (known as the insured). This contract indemnifies and returns the insured to the financial state before the loss.
What is Liability under your standard homeowner's coverage?
You might wonder why you need liability coverage for your house. Why does your policy include Liability under the policy? Liability coverage offers you protection against lawsuits and fines when either you, your family, or the pets hurt or cause damage to someone else or another property. For instance, when a visitor falls down the stairs breaks his hip in your house due to snow, garbage or toys left unintentionally. Under the circumstances, you are likely to be found responsible for their injuries. The insurer can pay their medical bills or any other incurred damage. This coverage could also include the legal fees you will incur when dealing with these types of claims. 

What's included in the Building Coverage of the home insurance policy?
The building coverage protects both the primary and detached structures. It may include garages, sheds, and back houses on the property up to a limit. Always ensure the property is covered sufficiently with replacement costs. However, some companies may not cover structures such as boundary walls, fences, gates, paths, drives, or swimming pools. Therefore, it is vital to check the specific policy wording. The companies have their coverage criteria from several quotes available for home coverage.
What is the Exterior Building Coverage of the homeowners' policy?
If you have comprehensive homeowners insurance coverage, it is more than likely that the insurer may offer protection for most structures that form part of your residence. It might include storage sheds, garages, porches, and gazebo areas. You will only need to check with your policy to verify if it has exclusion on them. Since policies vary among providers, it will be wise to consult your risk specialist if you do not have a comprehensive option. Some "Broad" or "Standard" options on a policy may offer to cover these structures. Still, it may have several exceptions, so check them out.
What is included in the Contents Coverage of the homeowners' policy?
Contents insurance of standard home policy covers personal belongings, such as furniture, clothes, electronics, etc. Most coverages will limit the amount of money paid out for each category of items. Each policy may vary in the amount of coverage provided. Check for a limit on each personal belonging. For example, the total amount on policy content may not cover you fully on your jewelry if the limit is under the class. Should you have more on jewelry, stamp collection, art and crystalware, you may want to schedule them separately by purchasing separate "schedule item" or "floater."
What are exclusions under homeowners' policy?
Like most policies, you will find a list of exclusions. The area falls under claims that would decline, including floods, earthquakes, war, and a nuclear explosion from any source. These exclusions, amongst other standard exclusions (like termites), will lower your premium. In exceptional cases such as floods or earthquakes, insured can purchase additional insurance options separately before the incident. Homeowner's premium cost varies to reflect the replacement cost, usually applying an inflation factor or a cost index. You will find Liability bundled with building, contents, and other extension coverage from a standard Canadian insurer package.
When someone told me I have a million liability, I can get a million from insurance when my house is on fire?
Not a chance, please note that the liability section only covers accidents happening to the third party. Such as covering people visiting you or damaging caused to others' property but not yours or your household property. The property section of your homeowner's policy will protect your property, not under Liability. There has been a misconception that the insured see millions of dollars on the liability section and assume they have coverage up to a million on whatever they owned. Such perception is wrong. To verify what is included in a policy's liability section, you can learn more from the options and limits available. Don't forget to look at your policy wording under-declaration section, or you can consult a risk specialist. 

Avoid Decline In Claim, Understanding what's excluded.

What are the Common Exclusions found in a homeowners policy?
Almost all Homeowners' policies will have exclusions on the coverage to keep the premium low and avoid abusive claims.

  • The most common exclusions are
  • Depreciation or wear-and-tear maintenance. (see homeowners insurance ratings)
  • The faulty craft of builders or contractors Mechanical or electrical breakdown
  • Amount over the limits of the policy
  • Vacant, empty property or tenant is living in it.
What are the Covered Perils in home insurance?
Most buildings and content coverage offer "named perils" and "open perils" types. A "named perils" policy provides coverage for a loss specifically listed on the policy. If it's not listed, it's not covered under the homeowners' coverage. The "Named Peril" will protect to a lesser extent, and the insured may find that many claims that are not under the described risk will be declined.
What is Named Peril in a homeowner policy wording?
There are various types of content coverage on home policy. The Named Peril is a type that describes how these coverages protect against perils in a loss claim. It covers only the list of risks found in the policy. This type of policy mainly protects vacant or unoccupied buildings. Depending on the policy, the wording may cover the following perils. (It is a good idea always to check your insurance policy and ask questions to clarify):
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Aircraft or vehicle collision
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • All basic-form perils Burglary, break-in damage
  • Falling objects (e.g. tree limbs)
  • Weight of ice and snow
  • Freezing of plumbing
  • Accidental water damage
  • Artificially generated electricity

Insurance payout will be paid only when the insured proves that losses are due to the above; otherwise, it will be declined.

.
What is All-Peril or All-Risk in home insurance?
"All Perils" policy is broader because it will cover losses on everything except exclusions on the policy. It is another particular form of coverage and is the most inclusive. The difference with "named peril" policies is that most insurers will protect losses unless expressly excluded. Insured will be covered on a peril, not on the exclusion lists. Unfortunately, if something happens to your place of residence and the incidents are listed on the exclusions list such as below, it will not provide coverage. Exclusions list of policy coverage:
  • bylaw or Ordinance of law
  • Neglect
  • Movement of earth or Earthquake
  • Flood
  • Power failure
  • War
  • Nuclear hazard
  • Intentional acts

So, in short,

  1. "Named Peril" will cover only on the list
  2. "All Peril" will not be covered if it is on the list (of exclusion)

Think of it as, All-Peril covers everything except those listed, but named-peril covers only listed, not anything more.

What options are available in the Home insurance package?
Most property insurance packages offer liability protection and personal contents, as you might have already learned. Moreover, most companies like to differentiate their package offers with Comprehensive, Broad, or Standard. The major differences are the building and content, except for additional living, claim-free protection, cyber, add-on features, etc.
  • Comprehensive coverage of the policy.
  • Comprehensive homeowner insurance will cover every risk (All-peril) unless the policy declaration states it as exclusion or not covered under your policy. It has complete All-peril coverage for both your property and contents in case of unexpected incidents.
  • Standard
  • As the name suggests, a "standard" type home policy offers a very basic coverage. Policy under this option will only cover damages caused by the risks listed on the contract, also known as perils, declared under your policy. The intention of such a policy is mainly to cover fire and theft most of the time.
  • Broad,
  • The broad coverage sits in between comprehensive and standard when it comes to the level of coverage. Like Comprehensive policy, broad coverage will cover your buildings against all risks unless some are stated as excluded under your contract. Like Standard policy, Broad coverage will only cover your contents from situations directly listed under your contract.
.
What is the comparison between Comprehensive, Broad and Standard home insurance?
Still, confused about coverage type? Take a look at the comparison matrix:


Options Building Content

Comprehensive   

All-Peril

All-Peril

Broad

All-Peril 

Named-Peril

Standard

Named-Peril   

Named-Peril   

photo of someones home

Lower Your Home Insurance Rate

How do I get cheaper home insurance quotes?
  • Please do your Homework. There is no restriction that you must stick to a specific company for their home coverage. Therefore, look at three or more different insurers and compare their prices. A broker can help as they shop around on your behalf for the best rate.
  • Raise your deductibles A higher deductible means you are paying little premiums. Before going this route, ensure your house is not at risk of frequent damages, as this will lead you to lots of claims.
  • Combine your personal car, aviation or boat and other products for a more significant discount, as long as both policies are in the same name when buying your policy during each term. It will work even if you are renting. A tenant policy is often considered home insurance and eligible for a discount.
  • Improve your credit score and allow access to the information insurer requested.
  • Seek a special group discount if you work for a particular association or corporate.
What does Deductible Mean to homeowners insurance costs?
A deductible is the amount of money you must pay to carry out a claim. It is usually a set amount, but it can also just be a percentage of your policy's overall amount of coverage. A deductible ensures that you and the company share responsibility for the risk on your property. Most personal Liability does not carry a deductible as it compensates 3rd parties.
How would a Deductible impact homeowners insurance costs?
Suppose the damages caused to your property are less than your Deductible. The insurer will not play a role in paying for losses. It will only be your responsibility to pay the amount because you agreed to be responsible for it in exchange for a lower premium. Whether to file a claim in such a case depends entirely on you. But keep in mind that the company will only pay their part after paying for your Deductible when you make a claim. So you might ask yourself whether it is worth claiming when the damage only goes a couple extra hundred dollars on top of your Deductible. After all, a claim is a claim. That might increase your home insurance rates in the end for years.
Would homeowners insurance costs decrease with a higher deductible?
When you have a low deductible, you will pay less out of pocket when accidents occur. However, this also means you will have to pay more premiums to balance out the coverage. On the other hand, having a larger deductible means a lower premium, but what you pay upon an accident will be more significant. So even though you might want to choose a higher deductible, you should also consider your economic situation if an accident does happen. You will need to pay for that very high Deductible all at once before the claim does its part. If you don't have the money at the time, then you will find yourself in trouble.
Would invest in my home decrease the premium?
It depends. The amount of money you pay varies from company to company. But there is nothing important as knowing to protect all your valuables in a disaster. So, you need to invest in your house more to ensure you are getting better deals. The age and construction of your home play a huge role in getting you better premium deals from the insurer. The types of materials you use in construction, such as brick, security systems, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems, all have a different rating to the company. Furthermore, having an outdoor spa, a hot tub, or a swimming pool increases your premium since you will need liability coverage.
What are the Risk factors that result in higher premiums or, worst, the inability to get home insurance?
The insurer will consider several risk factors before determining the amount of money you pay and home insurance discounts available for your policy. Here are the tips. The higher the risk, the higher the rates. For example
  • The location of the house. The Premium rating will consider whether you live in a dangerous neighbourhood or in a zone prone to floods, or likely to get forest fires. Note that you need a separate flood coverage policy for water damage.
  • Condition and age of the house. The value and age of the property. The older the property or the more unstable its shape, the more prone it will damage.
  • Proximity to a fire station. Or other elements that might ensure house security, like a hydrant. Leaving near these will result in a lesser risk in case of accidents.
  • Your claiming history. You will be a higher risk to the insurer if you have an extensive claiming record.
  • Recreational structures in your house. Having pools, trampolines, and playgrounds might present a higher risk and need a particular plan. You may have to ask for several insurance quotes online. Not every insurer is willing to take on a high-risk policy.
  • Make sure you combine your risk. If you have a rental condo, personal car insurance, commercial auto and business, try combining to the same insurer.
  • You may get a discount across the board for a better premium. Plenty of insurers exist countrywide, so it is necessary to let different companies assess risks before finalizing. Ask a broker for a comparison service from the market. They may have a plan such as a loyalty program for their customer.

Claim Process

Important: Always safety first.
After a loss, the insured must take steps to mitigate the loss. All policies require the policyholder to notify the insurer within a reasonable time. A claims adjuster is assigned to investigate the claim. The insured may need to provide information such as ownership, receipt, etc. Filing a claim will increase rates, and multiple claims can result in non-renewal or cancellation. Most insurers will share the claim data in an industry database. After an intense rainstorm blew off half of your house roof, let's say. You will want to file for a claim after ensuring your safety and preventing further damage (maybe by picking up the blown shingles). Here are some steps and basic homeowners insurance questions to ask yourself before the claim
1. Call Your Broker or insurer.
Provide your broker or insurer with the information regarding the extent of the damage. You will want to provide a list and documentation highlighting the losses that result from the rainstorm, photos and sometimes, your policy number.
2. An Adjuster will investigate and assess your claim.
Your insurer will send a professional known as an adjuster to investigate the incident. The adjuster will then determine the extent of the damages caused by the storm and open a claim based on your homeowners' policy.
3. Review your claim
The adjuster will then review your policy to determine if all damages caused by rainstorms are covered. They will inform you of the deductibles applicable to this case. The adjuster will sometimes provide you with a list of possible contractors you might consider repairing.
4. Payment
The company will pay you for the repair or construction once the contractor completes it. Always ask for a receipt from the contractor as the insurer will need evidence or repair done to continue with the insurer. In some situations, the payout may be made from the adjuster to the contractor directly. Still, it will depend on your insurer's arrangements.

Before Accident or claim reminder
Don't forget to download the inventory list Here to keep track of what content you have

Conclusion

Check your policy for wording and talk to your broker. Also, don't forget to download the inventory list Here to keep track of what content you have. Home insurance is essential as it will provide you financial protection when accidents occur, destroying your home and property. It is your responsibility to protect your belongings, and we are here to help you.