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Broad form home insurance in Canada

Broad form home insurance is one of several policy kinds offered by insurers to Canadian homeowners. In terms of coverage and cost, broad form sits between two other widely offered policy types – mainly named perils and comprehensive. (Yes, the no-frills option exists as well, but its coverage is so limited that it’s viable in specific circumstances only).

The balance between price and coverage makes broad form one of the easiest home insurance policies to recommend. Like the comprehensive policy, it protects your dwelling against all perils – aside from a handful of exclusions – and like the named perils policy, it protects your belongings against named perils only. This means that your dwelling is fully protected, while your possessions are only partially protected – and it may not be entirely clear which perils count and which ones don’t.

As a result, when filing a claim, the burden of proving that your items were damaged by a covered peril will fall squarely on you, the policyholder. Your dwelling, however, is unlikely to face any disputes from the insurer thanks to a much smaller list of exclusions (all of which should be listed on the policy). This lack of coverage when it comes to personal items is broad form policy’s biggest drawback.

What does broad form home insurance cover?

Your broad form home insurance policy will cover the following:

Liability coverage

Broad form home insurance covers the following liability categories:

Commonly covered perils by the broad form insurance policy

Broad form home insurance policy will protect your dwelling and belongings against the following perils:

How is a broad form policy different from other types?

Broad form policy falls between named perils and comprehensive policies in terms of coverage and price (and as mentioned above, the no-frills policy belongs in its own category).

The big thing to be mindful of here is the difference between the way broad form home insurance covers your dwelling versus your possessions. While your dwelling is protected from all known perils – barring several listed exclusions – your belongings are protected from named perils only. This means that your dwelling is protected against more calamities than your possessions. It is therefore possible for a peril to damage both your dwelling and possessions, yet for you to only receive coverage to for the dwelling.

There’s also the burden of proof. In the case of your dwelling, you don’t need to work hard to prove that the damage came from a covered peril. Conversely, in the case of your belongings, you’d need to sufficiently prove that the peril in question is indeed covered.

With that in mind, here’s how the broad form home insurance policy compares to the others (including no-frills):

 Broad formNamed perilsComprehensiveNo-frills
Main dwellingProtects against all perils (aside from certain exclusions)Protects against named perils onlyProtects against all perils (aside from certain exclusions)Protects mainly against fire
ContentsProtects against named perils onlyProtects against named perils onlyProtects against all perils (aside from certain exclusions)No protection
Personal liabilityIncludedIncludedIncludedNot included
Voluntary medical paymentsIncludedIncludedIncludedNot included
Additional living expensesIncludedIncludedIncludedNot included

What is not covered under a broad form home insurance policy?

Broad form home insurance policy may not protect your property from the following perils:

  1. Overland flooding: Water damage from an external source such as an overflowing river, stream or thawing snow may not be included on your broad form home insurance. Or perhaps, only your dwelling may get the necessary protection. Be mindful of this when purchasing your policy.

  2. Sewer back-up: This is another type of water damage that your property may not be protected from under a broad form home insurance policy. This typically occurs due to a backed-up toilet, drain or sewage pipe. This peril may seem like it’s covered under water damage, but it’s unlikely that it is. Confirm with your insurer to be sure.

  3. Earthquake: Earthquake coverage often needs to be purchased as an add-on. It’s a must if you live in an earthquake-prone area. Note that if your home were to catch fire because of an earthquake, you could be compensated for that by having fire coverage (included in all policies).

  4. Additional living expenses: If a peril that isn’t covered by your policy forces you to vacate your home, then additional expenses such as accommodations, groceries and travel may not be covered either.

  5. Valuable possessions: Under a broad home insurance policy, your personal possessions are not as protected as your dwelling. This is doubly true for expensive items such as artwork or jewelry – which may not be covered at all due to their high value. Typically, an insurance policy will cover the cost of your items if they are valued at 60% to 80% of the cost of your dwelling. Be sure to do proper item inventory before committing to a policy.

  6. Mold, pest infestations and general maintenance: Mold as well as infestations by termites, cockroaches, mice and similar pests are unlikely to be covered by any home insurance policy that you purchase. That’s because infestations and mold are preventable through proper maintenance. Insurance’s main job is to protect you from unforeseen, often sudden events, such as fires, storms and floods – events that cannot be prevented.

  7. Deliberate damage or injury: This should go without saying, but if you were to damage your home or hurt yourself or someone else on your property on purpose, then you would not receive any coverage. As mentioned earlier, insurance is for unforeseen events only. Deliberate damage or injury is anything but.

Is broad form home insurance coverage right for you?

Broad form home insurance policy is a decent compromise, if you’re looking to save on premiums. Your most important asset – the home itself – will be fully covered under it, so you won’t have to worry about that, at least.

That said, weigh your risks carefully. For instance, it’s entirely possible for something like a storm to flood parts of your home damaging your floors, drywall and stairs alongside items such as your furniture, clothes and electronics. Under a broad form home insurance policy, your floors, drywall and stairs will likely get the money needed to pay for their repairs or replacement. Your clothes, furniture and electronics, however, may not get any money at all if this type of water damage is not listed on the policy (for personal possessions).

This means that you’d have to repurchase those items yourself, potentially negating any savings you might’ve made on premiums. Broad form home insurance is cheaper, but it is a double-edged sword. So, if you can afford it, go for the comprehensive policy instead.

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Frequently asked questions about broad form home insurance in Canada

Where can I get the cheapest broad form home insurance in Canada?

It’s virtually impossible to pinpoint which company offers the cheapest broad form home insurance in Canada, because your premium will depend heavily on your individual factors, such as the size and condition of your home, its location and your claims history. Furthermore, each insurance company has its own way of calculating premiums, making it hard to determine which of them would offer the cheapest ones.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t find out the cheapest premiums currently offered. Using a comparison site like LowestRates.ca, you can view over 50 quotes from Canada’s top insurers in one place. All you need to do is fill out a quick form with some details about your property and insurance history, and off you go.

You can also get in touch with a broker, who would then do the comparisons on your behalf before presenting you with the cheapest premium available. However, this method is a touch slower than the other.

If you want to be thorough, we recommend both methods. That way, you’ll get more options.

How much does a broad form policy cost?

A broad form policy will cost you more than a named perils policy, but less than a comprehensive policy. The pricing is proportional to the amount of coverage you will get. Named perils offers less coverage, which is why the premium is lower, while the comprehensive policy offers more, which is why the premium is higher.

That said, we can’t give you an exact number, as it would incorporate multiple factors that are specific to you, such as your property’s square footage, condition and location and your insurance history.

If you’re adamant about finding out the cost of a broad form insurance policy, we recommend checking out LowestRates.ca, where you can compare more than 50 quotes at once from Canada’s most trust insurers. You can do so right now, as it won’t take more than a couple of minutes, and it’s completely free.

Do broad form policies include personal liability coverage?

Absolutely. All broad form home insurance policies include personal liability coverage, and it’s typically broken down in the following manner:

  • Personal liability: Ranges from $100,000 to $5,000,000.

  • Voluntary medical expenses: Ranges from $1,000 to $10,000.

  • Accidental damage to property: Ranges from $500 to $10,000.

Taras Trofimov

Taras Trofimov

About the Author

Taras is the Content Manager for LowestRates.ca. He has produced thought leadership content for organizations like Constellation Software, Facebook and Yellow Pages as well as outlets like The Globe and Mail, Autoblog and MSN Autos.

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