Risk factors determine your home insurance premium. Insurers analyze risks to figure out how likely it is that you – and others in the same circumstances – will make a claim.

10 Factors That Typically Affect Your Premium

  1. Replacement cost. The size, composition and contents of your property affect the cost of your insurance the most. The larger your home and the more contents you have, the more they cost to replace. In addition to the square footage, insurers consider the quality of construction used to build your property, which can vary greatly.
  2. Where you live. Insurers track the number, type and cost of claims by neighbourhood. By referencing past experiences, they understand your neighbourhood's unique circumstances and how likely it is that you may make a claim. 
  3. Proximity to water. Insurers look at how far your home is from a fire hydrant or fire station. If you live in an urban area, this is generally not a concern. If your country property is far from water, it will influence the cost of your home insurance. The sooner a fire can be put out, the lower the cost of restoring your home.
  4. Your personal claims history may have an impact on your premium. Past claims are often an insurers' best predictor of future claims activity.
  5. Electricity. Insurers consider a number of factors such as type of wiring and the way electricity comes into your house. They are on the lookout for:
    1. Knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring (especially if it has deteriorated or become damaged) that can increase the chance of fire. Insurers may:
      1. Ask for a guarantee that a home does not have this kind of wiring
      2. Give you time to remove it
      3. Inspect the condition of the wiring to ensure it's safe
    2. Breakers that pose less risk than fuses
    3. A minimum of 100-amp service. A lower amp can lead to overloading and fire.
  6. Pipes. Galvanized or lead piping usually means your plumbing is older, which makes it more likely to crack or leak. Insurers generally prefer homes with upgraded copper or plastic plumbing.
  7. Wood stoves. These are a common source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not properly installed and maintained. Insurers may want to inspect them. Before buying or renting a home with a wood-burning stove, or installing one, consult your insurer.
  8. Age of roof. Insurers generally prefer your roof to be updated within the last 20 years. Some policies will pay only depreciated values, for example 25% of the replacement cost, for damaged roofs that are near the end of their designated service life.
  9. Other uses. Advise your insurer if you've built or plan to build a rental apartment, start operating a business or make any other significant alterations to the structure or the way you use your house.
  10. Other factors. Insurers want to know if you have security and/or fire alarms, and if they are monitored by an outside service. Advise your insurer if you have a swimming pool or other structures such as pool houses.

Do You Want Basic or Full Coverage?

Once the above factors are considered, you can choose the types of coverage you'd like. Your decisions will influence your premium. An insurance representative can help you evaluate your coverage options.