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How we find you the best home insurance quotes in Alberta

Safeguarding your home with insurance is important, but choosing the right insurer and the right policy can be confusing. That’s where LowestRates.ca comes in. We search the market to find you the best deals on home insurance. Comparing the market is important — different companies can offer you different rates because they model risk differently and their coverage offerings can vary greatly. The quote you get with one company is not always indicative of what another company might be able to offer you.

When you take the time to shop around, you’ll see whether you’re overpaying and whether other companies are willing to give you a better rate. We’ll automatically connect you with the broker that’s offering you the best rate.

What affects home insurance rates in Alberta?

The criteria that insurance companies consider is basically the same across the country — meaning, the guidelines for homeowners in Alberta are the same in any other province or territory.

A number of factors are used to determine the cost of home insurance. The major thing that insurance adjusters look at is how much it would cost to replace your home, contents included. Insurers only cover the cost to replace the structure and contents of your home — your benefit is not based in any way on the current market value of your home.

Where you live has a big impact on your premium. Insurance is pooled risk, so neighbourhood demographics, as well as its claim history, matter. However, your personal claims history carries more weight.

The topography of your neighbourhood is another factor, too. If you live near a lake or river, your adjuster will definitely take that into account, since there's an increased risk of flooding. Living close to a fire hydrant, as most urban dwellers do, can have a positive impact on your premium.

Of course, insurance companies calculate risk differently and that can result in different rates. That’s why it’s important to shop around.

Risk factors in Alberta

Alberta is a large, geographically diverse province that’s susceptible to extreme weather events year-round. Municipal governments have outlined some of the following perils as ones that Alberta homeowners should be especially mindful of.

Flooding

Flooding is a major concern in Alberta. There’s a lot of development on the banks of the Bow and Elbow rivers, both of which flow through Calgary, so even residents of urban neighbourhoods need to be on alert.

There are three types of floods that Albertans may be exposed to:

Overland flooding

Overland flooding occurs when water overflows from creeks, streams, rivers or lakes. It can creep into backyards or garages, or basements, or spread into the streets. In Alberta, this happens during the spring thaw, when frozen catch basins, storm drains, and piled snow begin to thaw and melt, accelerated by spring rains.

Regions at highest risk: Most of southern Alberta. Communities that have been hard hit recently include the City of Calgary, the Municipal District of Taber, Lethbridge County, Vulcan County, Willow Creek, and Forty Creek County.

Basement seepage

Basement seepage happens when the level of the underground water table under a home rises. Water seeps through the soil and eventually into the foundation of your home through cracks or holes or joints.

Regions at highest risk: All of Alberta — all homes are technically at risk for basement seepage.

Sewage backup 

Sewage systems can be overloaded when overland flooding occurs. It can force sewage back through the sewer line and into your basement.

Regions at highest risk: All of Alberta — anyone’s basement is at risk for sewage backup.

Forest fires

Increased development and urban sprawl has meant that local governments in Alberta have had to suppress naturally-occurring wildfires. This means that there’s an overabundance of old vegetation, a huge fire risk. Development paired with a changing climate means that large-scale forest fires are fast becoming a normal occurrence every summer in Alberta.

Regions at highest risk: Communities within the Boreal forest region of Alberta — which covers 58% of the entire province — are highest at risk for forest fires. Population centres include Fort McMurray and Fort Vermillion.

Extreme cold

Alberta winters are frigid and frozen water lines and pipes are a common occurrence. Thawing pipes can burst, creating a flood risk.

Regions at highest risk: Arctic air masses deliver sub-zero temperatures to every corner of Alberta. Temperatures can dip to -46C to the south and -54C in the north.

What kind of coverage do you need in Alberta?

There are four types of coverage:

Comprehensive - The highest level of coverage you can purchase. It insures the building and its contents against all risks, except for ones that are specifically excluded.

Broad - Offers coverage for building and some of its contents.

Basic - Only provides coverage for some perils.

No Frills - Offers basic coverage for properties that are hard to insure (e.g., homes that have numerous structural issues).

Forest fires are covered by home insurance policies, and that also covers some expenses you might incur if you’re ever forced to evacuate your home. You may need to purchase additional insurance coverage, called an endorsementfor overland flooding. Endorsements for flooding were once difficult to purchase, but insurers are beginning to offer it.

Other considerations unique to Alberta

In Alberta, home insurance providers are allowed to take your credit score into consideration when determining your premium. Insurance companies maintain that insurance risk is correlated to credit scores. Consumers must give their consent to brokers or agents to look at their credit scores, so revealing your credit score isn’t actually mandatory. If you have a high credit score (generally considered to be 650 or over), an insurer may offer you a substantial discount on your insurance. The reverse is true for people with low credit scores — it may jack up your rate. There’s also the chance that insurers will hike your rate if you choose not to disclose. Not all insurers look at credit scores, although the practice is becoming increasingly common.

Who regulates the home insurance industry in Alberta?

Watchdogs at both the provincial and federal levels oversee the insurance industry in Alberta.

On the federal level, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions monitors the solvency and financial soundness of property and casualty insurers in the province. The Alberta Superintendent of Insurance is in charge of supervising the conduct, products, and underwriting practices of insurance providers operating in the province.

What can you do to save on home insurance in Alberta?

There are a few ways homeowners can reduce the cost of their home insurance premium:

  • Allow insurers to run a credit check: In Alberta, your broker may offer you a lower rate if you have a high score.
  • Bundle your home insurance with your auto insurance policy: Insurers offer additional discounts for people who have more than one insurance policy with them.
  • Compare quotes: Shopping around online is a risk-free way to find a competitive rate.
  • Pay annually: Insurance is slightly cheaper when you forgo monthly payments in favour of one lump sum payment annually.
  • Raise your deductible: If you offer to shoulder a larger share of the cost of a claim, your premium will naturally be cheaper.
  • Adjust your coverage: Not everyone needs comprehensive insurance policy. Explore your options with a broker or agent to see what’s best for you.
  • Catalog everything you own: Knowing exactly how much it would cost to replace your home’s contents will ensure you don’t overpay to insure them.

What companies offer the best home insurance in Alberta?

That’s largely subjective — everyone’s needs are different. Here’s a list of some of the home insurance companies operating in Alberta:

  • TD Insurance
  • Alberta Motor Association
  • belairdirect
  • Intact Insurance
  • The Co-operators
  • Aviva

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