Buying Home Insurance

​​​​​​​​As a homeowner, you need to insure your house for replacement costs so that in the event of serious damage or destruction you have adequate coverage. Be sure to keep your home insurance current by reporting material changes or upgrades.

Home Insurance 101

Property insurance is a critical risk management tool to protect your home or condominium for replacement costs in the event of serious damage or destruction. Home ownership is one of the largest financial investment decisions Canadians make. Your home may be your biggest source of equity. No matter how well built, your home is vulnerable to flood, fire, vandalism and other types of damage and destruction. Having adequate coverage is crucial. Be sure to keep your home insurance current by reporting material changes or upgrades.

Depending on where you live in Canada, it's also important to consider the risks for your area. While fire is traditionally thought of as a main peril and is covered under most home insurance policies, you may be at an increased risk for overland flooding or even earthquake depending on where you live. Coverage for flood and earthquake is an optional product that can be added to your existing home policy.

However, in some communities, the risks associated with flood or earthquake are so high that it may be difficult to find optional insurance coverage. The friendly and expert staff at Insurance Bureau of Canada are here to help. Any homeowner that is having difficulty finding insurance for their home is encouraged to call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-227-5422.

Your Insurance Representative

Insurance brokers work with a number of companies, while agents represent a single insurer. These insurance professionals can help you determine applicable coverage, premiums and discounts as well as your personal property insurance requirements. Learn how to buy insurance.

If your home is not properly insured, you may not have enough insurance to replace it or your contents in the event of serious damage. Most homeowner’s policies cover contents up to a specified percentage of the total insured value of the home. Learn how home insurance premiums are calculated.

What Is Covered

Coverage can vary from one insurer to the next, so it’s important to select a policy that suits your specific needs. Home insurance covers the dwelling, contents and personal liability of you (the policyholder), your spouse or partner, and your children. The policy also covers:

  • Dependants under the age of 18

  • Dependants who are students enrolled and actually attending a school, college or university and living in the household or temporarily living away from the insured principal residence

If you share your home with a friend or relative, or rent out part of your residence, you must notify your insurance representative.

Home insurance also includes coverage for additional living expenses in the event that you are temporarily unable to live in your home due to an insured loss in certain circumstances.

Contractual Obligations

Unlike auto insurance, home insurance is not mandatory by law. However, most banks or mortgage holders will insist that you purchase home insurance – and show proof that you have home insurance – before they'll lend you money to buy a home. They will ask to be named as the mortgage holder on your policy.

It's your responsibility to report any changes to your property. Contact your insurance professional before you :

Keeping your insurance company informed with an accurate and up-to-date description of your home and contents can help speed up the claims settlement process after a loss.

4 Tips for Insuring Your Home and Contents

If you can't afford to replace absolutely everything you own after an unforeseen event, you need home insurance. Consider these tips.

  1. Insure for rebuilding costs.
  2. With severe weather on the rise, confirm accurate replacement value.
  3. Review your home inventory each year when you renew your policy.
  4. For high-value jewellery or fine art, consider a separate endorsement.

Even a partial loss – such as from a break-in, theft of multiple possessions and related damage – can potentially cause financial hardship. Home insurance protects you from having to pay all at once to replace what was lost at what is often an emotionally difficult time.