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Types of homeowner’s insurance in Canada

There are three main types of home insurance policies:

Basic or Named Perils Home Insurance

Basic form home insurance or Named Perils is the most limiting of coverage compared to all other forms of home insurance.  The perils to which the home insurance policy responds to are specifically stated. Insurance coverage only responds if loss or damage occurs due to a named peril.  Typically, the broad form covers things such as fire, smoke, lightning vandalism, malicious acts, falling objects, impact by aircraft or land vehicle, windstorm, hail, theft or attempted theft, and also some types of water damage.

Broad Form Homeowner’s Insurance

Broad form home insurance represents a broadening of home insurance coverage compared to the named perils or basic type policy.  The broad home owner’s policy is somewhat of a middle ground between basic and comprehensive home insurance.

Comprehensive or All Perils Home Insurance

The Comprehensive home insurance policy, also known as All-Risk home insurance, is the most expansive in insurance coverage.  The scope of coverage is determined by the exclusions in the policy. Therefore, if the peril is not excluded, insurance coverage should be in force.

Choosing the right home insurance policy requires the help of an insurance professional.

What does home insurance cover?

Home insurance policies are meant to cover and protect buildings, contents, and liability exposures of the private property owner. 

Home insurance also includes rider endorsements (insurance floaters) to protect items of high value, such as jewelry or fine art, broadening the scope of insurance coverage.

Coverage on a homeowner’s insurance policy can be divided into two parts:

The first section addresses the following:

  • Dwelling Building
  • Detached Private Structures
  • Personal Property / Contents
  • Additional Living Expenses

The second section addresses the following:

  • Personal Liability
  • Voluntary Medical Payments
  • Voluntary Payment for Damages to Property
  • Voluntary Compensation for Residence Employees

Home Insurance Extensions of Coverage typically includes:

  • Debris removal
  • Property Removed
  • Moving to another Home
  • Fire Dept. Charges
  • Change of Temperature to Frozen Food
  • Lock Replacement
  • Tear out
  • Arson Conviction Reward
  • Identity Theft
  • Inflation Protection

Home Insurance Canada FAQs:

Frequently asked questions about Canadian home insurance

How do I find the best home insurance company in Canada?

Finding the best home insurance company in Canada is a subjective exercise.  The home insurance market in Canada is fiercely competitive and your interpretation of “best” can derive from:

  • Customer service from the Insurance Broker or Agent, or proper claims handling
  • Price – obviously this is a huge factor because no one wants to pay more for property insurance if they don’t have to.
  • Reputation – For others price is not as important as customer service or the reputation of the insurance company.
  • Insurance bundling – may be the convenience and discount savings from bundling your home and auto insurance is a favourable option.

Speak to a home insurance broker to find out what insurance company and coverage are best suited for you.

What type of water damage is covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy?

Water damage protection is paramount when it comes to home insurance.  Water can cause a multitude of damages to your home, including mold, delamination, wood rot, corrosion, and destroy your home, contents, or both. Not having the right water damage protection could be financially catastrophic!

Under the umbrella of water protection coverage, Insurance companies market and package their water protection coverages in different ways. It’s important to know the differences in how insurance companies word their home insurance policies and water protection endorsements so that you know what you’re buying.

Ground Water Coverage

Groundwater coverage is an optional layer of protection that responds when groundwater enters your home accidentally through the foundation, basement walls, and floors.

Water and Sewer Lines

Some home insurance companies offer “water and sewer line” coverage for damages, leaks, ruptures, and breakage of your connected sewer line. Ask your Independent Insurance Broker for more details on this coverage.

Sewer Back-Up

Sewer backup, home insurance coverage have been around for some time. Sewer backup protects you from the water back up from your sewer system, private septic tank, or through the malfunction of a sump pump system.

Overland Water Flooding

Originally, Flood insurance was a term used by home insurance companies to describe flood water as originating from a body of saltwater.  Flooding from bodies of fresh water, such as rivers or lakes is considered Overland or inland flooding.

Flooding of any kind is usually excluded from a homeowner’s insurance policy; however, flood insurance can be purchased as an endorsement attached to your existing policy to add that coverage.  Keep in mind that some perils are excluded regardless of whether flood insurance is purchased or not. Check with your insurance provider or representative to fully understand what is and what is not covered with flood insurance.

Overland flood insurance covers water damage resulting from rising river or freshwater bodies of water and excess rainfall.

Flood insurance or “overland flood insurance “can be added to your home, tenant, or condo insurance policy as an endorsement.  Overland flood insurance protects you from financial loss to your home and contents due to flooding.  Overland flooding is defined as floodwater from an outside source or body of water onto dry land.

The term flood insurance usually refers to commercial risks whereas Overland Water insurance is normally for personal lines insurance.

Flooding is a common exclusion among habitational insurance policies leaving a need for the insurance, market to respond with a product that will fill in that gap of coverage.

What’s the difference between guaranteed replacement cost and replacement cost?

The difference between guaranteed replacement cost vs replacement cost is that, if required, the former will pay more than the limit of insurance you purchased to rebuild or replace your home.

What does replacement cost mean on homeowner’s insurance?

Replacement cost on homeowner’s insurance means that a covered loss or claim will be paid out on a basis that does not deduct for deprecation. Replacement cost is designed so that you do not have to spend more money to get a similar new item. Replacement cost in homeowners insurance is superior to Actual Cash Value insurance.

Which is better, replacement cost or actual cash value (ACV)?

Replacement cost is a better claim settlement proposition than actual cash value as depreciation is not factored in, while actual cash value does deduct for depreciation.

Why is replacement cost coverage more than the market value?

Technically replacement cost can be more OR less than the market value of your dwelling. The market value of your home is separate from the replacement cost. Market value is what your dwelling would cost in the real estate market, which is subject to the ebb and flow of the real estate market. The prices of homes or condos increase or decrease depending on what one is willing to pay or sell in the real estate market. Market value also includes the land or lot on which the dwelling is built, where replacement value does not.

Replacement cost is the actual cost to construct your dwelling of similar, like kind and quality. This would include all the building materials and labour to rebuild or repair your dwelling to its pre-loss condition.

Replacement cost does not factor depreciation in the claim settlement compared to actual cash value, or ACV basis for claim settlement.

What is a “Single Limit” in home insurance?

A single limit clause, sometimes also called “combined single limit” in-home insurance means that an aggregate limit of insurance is available from individual coverages to make up shortages in coverages from other areas in the policy. Here’s an example: let’s say you purchased a home insurance policy with a 400,000 limit on the dwelling, 200,000 in personal property, and 40,000 in additional living expenses. If your home suddenly burns to the ground and your insurance company calculates that the cost to replace your home is roughly 450,000, almost 50,000 more than the limit of insurance you purchased. With a single limit clause, you can use money from other coverages and apply it to where it’s needed. Think of it as an aggregate limit, and a benefit to you as it allows greater flexibility in how your home insurance can respond. Not all home insurance policies have a single limit endorsement, so it’s important to ask your insurance representative about this coverage and how you can add it to your home insurance policy.

What is liability coverage in home insurance?

Liability coverage on home insurance is protection from any damages or injuries you may cause to an innocent third party. Liability coverage covers your negligence arising from your premises (ie. slip and fall on your driveway or porch) that results from your actions or inaction.

Do I really need homeowner’s insurance?

Home insurance is not mandatory like car insurance; therefore the choice is normally yours to purchase habitational insurance. Although home insurance isn’t a requirement it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have it! Homeownership is one of the biggest investments someone can make, so leaving it exposed to perils without fallback to indemnification isn’t sound financial advice.
Mortgage and lien holders who hold a financial interest in the dwelling usually require that you have home insurance with specific requirements so that their financial interest is protected, as well.