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When the time comes to buy a home, it’s also time to buy something else: home insurance. While you’re not required by law to have home insurance on your property, no financial institution will provide you a mortgage without it — an uninsured home is just too big a risk. Of course, if you own your home outright you can forgo insurance, but it’s generally not a good idea. Your home is usually your biggest asset, and an uninsured home can turn into your biggest liability if catastrophe strikes.
So where do you go to find the right kind of home insurance? Keep reading to learn more about finding the insurance that best meets your needs, from getting the best price to understanding the ins and outs of different policies. We’ve also thrown in tips for lowering your premiums and we’ll explain how to compare rates on LowestRates.ca before you buy, which is the key to saving money over the long term.
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Quote from June 25, 2022
Type of home
Detached 760 sq ft
Your home insurance policy will be customized to suit your needs and the property you’re insuring.
Home insurance premiums are determined by dwelling type (is it a single-detached home, a house with a basement tenant suite, or a condo?). Insurance companies also try to predict the kind and size of claim you might make in the future.
Here are some of the criteria insurance companies look at when calculating your premium.
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The only way to answer that question is to get a home insurance quote — several quotes, in fact. That’s because insurance companies will provide different prices, since they all use different methods to underwrite risk. And remember that you can’t rely on what your friends and neighbours paid as a guide. Every policy is unique, because it takes into account variables such as the size and location of your home, as well as the value of your home’s contents. Finally, you may want to add special clauses to your coverage that cover additional risks that aren’t included in a general policy — which will also affect the quote you receive.
Weather is the really big factor in determining the risk to a home — as anyone who lived in Halifax during Hurricane Juan in 2003 will tell you. That storm caused $300 million worth of damage in Atlantic Canada and was the worst to hit the city in over a century. Hurricanes hit Halifax every few years and the city is also subject to occasional flooding, as it’s mostly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. An additional risk to Haligonians are heavy snowfalls: while the city receives less snow on average than places like Montreal or Winnipeg, its maritime climate can produce severe snow events.
The important thing to remember when evaluating threats to your home in Halifax is that all these weather-related risks will increase with global warming. Over the long term, places like Halifax can expect to encounter heavier rains, greater flooding, and more frequent snowstorms and hurricanes. That will translate into higher premiums for home insurance policies, as insurers need to prepare for policyholders to file claims.
Your home insurance policy can be tailored to your specific needs, but almost all policies cover the same broad risks:
Home Insurance policies are written to cover a wide range of potential risks — but that doesn’t mean you’re insured for everything. Catastrophic events are excluded from most policies. These include things like major floods, landslides, and earthquakes.. You can, however, obtain protection from them if you specifically request supplemental coverage, for which you would pay an additional premium.
In addition, policies will not cover you for damage or loss that results from your own negligent behaviour. Reckless activity on your property, for example, disqualifies you from making a claim, as does failure to properly maintain your home. A typical example of this would be leaving your roof in very poor condition, which might lead to a heavy snowfall collapsing it and causing damage to the interior of your home.
There are four main types of insurance you can get when buying a home:
Comprehensive: With this type of coverage you have more protection than with any of the other options available to you. It protects you against any kind of risk, other than those that are specifically spelled out in the policy (such as avalanches, earthquakes, sewage backup, and other unusual events).
Basic or Named Perils: This option is narrower than the comprehensive type, because it only provides protection for risks that are explicitly listed in the policy documents. If you should experience loss or damage from something not on the list, you’re not covered.
Broad: A broad policy provides comprehensive coverage for the structure of your home, while only providing basic coverage for its contents.
No Frills: A no frills policy is for use in unusual circumstances, such as when your property is too risky to be insured. It will provide you with coverage for basic risks, such as a fire, while you work to get the property back into shape; once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to apply for a regular policy again.
After you’ve decided on the type of home insurance general policy you want, you can then start customizing. Talk to your insurance provider about specific risks that you’d like added to your policy, such as damage from an earthquake, or the theft of extremely valuable works of art in your home. You can insure against these kinds of events with something called an endorsement, which provides protection tailor-made to your needs.
Over the years, home insurance premiums can add up — so it pays to reduce your costs from the very beginning. There are a number of things you can do to keep your premiums to a minimum, including the following:
And remember to ask your insurance provider what other discounts they offer, since they don’t always advertise all the specials that homeowners can claim.
There’s no one home insurance company in Halifax that can be considered the best; thanks to the wide range of highly reputable companies in the insurance business, it’s comparatively easy to buy a good policy at a competitive price. The key is to do a bit of research. Start with online reviews of companies and talk to their representatives. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues for their recommendations. And finally, make sure you get multiple home insurance quotes — comparing products and prices is the single best way to ensure you get the most value for your money.
There are many companies in the Halifax region that will be eager for your business; here’s a short list to get you started:
Home insurance rates fluctuate annually. Don’t leave money or coverage on the table by not comparing rates.