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Many people have moved to Fort McMurray to take advantage of well-paying work in the area’s oil sands. However, major wildfires in the region have shown that living in Fort McMurray can come with risks. If fire destroys your home and you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay for the cost of rebuilding your home yourself. That can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

LowestRates.ca helps you compare home insurance companies in Canada so that you can stay protected while paying a fair price. Read on to find out what you need to know about buying home insurance in Fort McMurray.

Your home insurance questions, answered.

How much does home insurance cost in Fort McMurray?

Insurance companies price home insurance based on risk. If you live on a flood plain or in an area with seasonal forest fires, you’re likely going to pay more for insurance.

The cost of home insurance in Fort McMurray has risen ever since the destructive wildfires of 2016. It’s estimated that the fire destroyed 2,400 homes, leaving thousands homeless. It also resulted in billions of dollars in damages that insurance companies had to pay out.

Major disasters like this one result in sky-high insurance claims and those costs get passed on to all consumers. Insurance companies will raise premiums to make sure that they’re properly capitalized and have enough money on hand to pay out any future claims.

It’s more important now than ever to compare home insurance rates in Fort McMurray. When a catastrophic event happens, the premiums for homeowners in the affected area may go up to cover the losses. On top of that, some insurance companies experience greater losses than others. This means that some insurers raised their premiums more than others.

What risks are specific to Fort McMurray?

  • Wildfires: Fort McMurray is surrounded by boreal forest. As summers in the region have become hotter and drier, the risk of fires has increased. It’s important to protect your home against such events.
  • Flooding: Unfortunately, Fort McMurray is often forced to contend with another form of natural disaster: flooding. The city is built on a flood plain, and has experienced several major floods in recent years. In 2016, heavy localized flooding followed a major summer rain storm.
  • Tornadoes: While tornadoes are not common in Fort McMurray, they have been known to occur, as have intense wind storms. Tornadoes are dangerous and a direct hit on a home can result in its destruction.

What risks does home insurance cover in Fort McMurray?

Depending on your coverage, you can be insured against a number of risks that could strike your home. These include:

  • Lightning
  • Fire
  • Explosions
  • Water damage
  • Smoke damage
  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Riots
  • Falling objects
  • Impact by either aircraft or vehicle

What risks won’t home insurance cover in Fort McMurray?

There are certain risks that some might assume are covered under your policy, but aren’t actually covered, or require you to buy additional coverage to be fully protected. It’s important to never assume something is covered. Always ask your broker or agent what is included in your policy.

Some common things that are either optional or not covered under a standard plan include:

Damage caused by insects or vermin: Most home insurance providers do not cover this. Make sure that your home inspector checks for any infestations before you buy your home.

Sewer backup: Base insurance policies don’t include coverage for sewer backup, but it is available at extra cost in the form of an insurance endorsement (also known as an insurance rider). It’s something to consider, especially if you live in an area prone to flooding. It will cover you in the event a major rainstorm results in your pipes backing up and flooding your property. Repairing this kind of damage on your own can be extremely costly as removing sewage water from your home requires extensive work.

Overland flooding: Most policies will protect you against issues such as burst pipes. However, many homeowners falsely believe their policies automatically protect them against flooding such as when a river overflows its banks or sudden snowmelt floods your home. Overland flooding, as it is known, can often be added as an optional protection.

What kind of home insurance do you need in Fort McMurray?

Now that we’ve talked about some of the risks and optional add-on coverages available, let’s take a look at the four main types of policies.

Comprehensive: When it comes to basic home insurance policies, this one covers the most. Comprehensive insurance is designed to cover all insurable risks to your home. It will cover the replacement value if your home is destroyed in an event such as a fire or windstorm, as well as protect the contents of your home. A comprehensive policy does not include some of the optional coverages mentioned above.

Basic or named perils: This will only cover you for very specific situations that you’ve stated in your policy. You won’t have coverage for anything you haven’t specifically asked for. While you’ll find fewer events covered than you would in a comprehensive policy, you’ll also pay less.

Broad: This policy aims to strike the sweet spot between comprehensive and basic. You’ll have more coverage than basic, but less than comprehensive. Your home’s structure is covered against every kind of insurable loss, while the contents of your home are only covered against perils that you specify. Check with your insurer to see what exactly will be covered with the broad policy they offer as each policy is different.

No-frills: This is the most basic level of coverage. If your home has serious issues, such as structural problems, it may be the only insurance you qualify for. While this policy will cover the cost of repairs for damages, you don’t have any, well, frills here. For instance, if you have to leave your home due to damage, don’t expect this coverage to pay for your nights at a hotel as other policies might.

As mentioned, you can buy additional coverage that may not be included in the four policy types mentioned above. These are often referred to as insurance endorsements. Make sure to speak to your agent or broker about endorsements such as sewer backup or overland flooding if you’re concerned about these issues.

What can you do to save on home insurance in Fort McMurray?

You can save a number of ways, including with applicable discounts or changes to your coverage. Here’s a look at potential ways to save:

  • Pay annually versus monthly.
  • Increase your deductible (this is the amount you must cover out of pocket before the insurance company pays the rest of your claim).
  • Bundle other insurance products together, such as home and auto.
  • Add security features such as cameras or intruder alarms.
  • Take advantage of alumni or professional discounts. You may receive a cheaper rate if your insurer offers favourable rates to graduates from your university or a union you belong to.
  • If you’re a senior, remember to ask if your insurer offers a discount for clients in your age range.

Finally, think carefully before filing a claim. If your claim will cost $800, weigh that against whether paying a deductible and making a claim is worth an increase in your home insurance. Insurance companies will eventually reward you with discounts for maintaining a claims-free record.

What are the best insurance companies in Fort McMurray?

It’s hard to declare one company better than the others in Fort McMurray. Because home insurance can be so personalized, often the best insurer is the one that can give you the best price and coverage for your needs.

Of course, when speaking to an agent or broker, you have the right to ask questions about the advice they’re giving you. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada recommends asking questions such as:

  • Can the agent provide references from other clients?
  • What are their training and qualifications?
  • Do they belong to a professional association?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What services can they provide after they sell you the policy?

You can compare a number of home insurance providers on LowestRates.ca to see which one is offering you the best price and coverage for your needs. We compare many of Canada’s major insurance companies, such as:

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