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February 18
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February 15
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Representative was extremely helpful and was able to assist in all our needs.
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Home insurance in Ontario.

Canadian law doesn’t require homes to be insured, but most lenders will only offer mortgages for insured properties.

The benefits are significant: In addition to the comfort that comes from protecting one of your largest financial assets, most home insurance policies also offer the practical benefit of liability protection.

This means that your home will be protected against common perils such as fire, wind, water damage and explosion. You’ll also be protected if you, a family member or guest are injured on your property.

More protection is available when you tailor your home insurance policy to include coverage for contents and additional perils such as flooding and earthquake. You can also choose the coverage limits associated with some perils as well as the limit your liability protection.

Most insurance providers package coverage, similarly, describing each home insurance policy as either comprehensive, broad or basic. The details of each policy type are described below.

The more coverage you have, the more you’re likely to pay. However, there are many ways to bring down the overall cost. One of the most effective is comparing available rates. It’s a particularly effective cost savings tactic because of how home insurance is regulated.

While providers can increase home insurance rates without getting approval from the industry regulatory body, increasing auto insurance rates requires approval by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

As a result, there tends to be a meaningful difference between home insurance premiums offered by different providers; comparing them is likely to result in savings.

Our free, online home insurance quoter offers a quick means of doing so. In less than three minutes, you’ll receive 50+ quotes for home insurance in Ontario from the most-trusted providers in the country.

If you’re looking for additional information about specific providers, beyond the premiums reflected by our online quoter, the FSCO has many resources available on their site, including corporate and consumer reports as well as financial literacy resources.

Components of home insurance coverage in Ontario.

There are several different aspects to any home insurance policy, regardless of what type you purchase.

Here, we break them down, highlighting each so that you’re empowered to select coverage that suits your property and lifestyle needs.

Most home insurance policies include coverage for common perils such as fire, wind, hail, lightning strike, water damage and explosion. In addition, most include liability protection. However, if you’re looking for the most coverage possible, consider adding coverage. Some of the most common add-ons include flood protection, earthquake and sewer back-up.

As incidents of severe weather become more and more common across Ontario, we recommend that every homeowner seriously consider adding flood protection to their home insurance policy. It’s usually considered an exclusion meaning that in the event of a flood, protection will not be available.

Factors that determine your home insurance quote in Ontario.

Home insurance premiums are determined by several factors. Some of the most important factors include location, proximity to water and dwelling type. For example, is the home on the shores of a lake that has a history of flooding? 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 they look at when calculating your premium:

  • The square footage of your home – In general, you’ll pay more for more coverage. You’ll likely pay more for a 5,000 square foot home than for a 1,000 square foot condo.
  • The location of your home – Insurance costs will be greater in areas with a history of flooding. Similarly, if your home is in a neighbourhood with a high crime rate, you could pay more.
  • Distance to a fire hydrant – You’ll pay more if your home is located at a significant distance from a fire hydrant because providers estimate that in the event of a fire, fire services will take longer to extinguish the flames and your home will be more significantly damaged as a result.
  • Your insurance claims history – If you have a history of insurance claims, you’re likely to pay more.
  • The age of your roof – Since a damaged roof can lead to extensive damage throughout a home, an aged roof could result in a more expensive premium.
  • Your home’s plumbing – Water damage of any sort can be costly. A home with a history of plumbing issues is likely to result in more costly premiums.
  • Your home’s electrical system – Out of date electrical systems such as knob-and-tube wiring are considered risky to insurance providers.

Common risk factors for homeowners in Ontario.

Flooding, freezing temperatures and earthquakes pose a risk to Ontarians, particularly to those with homes near water, in more northern parts of the province and those located near tectonic fault lines.

If you fall into either category, or all three, we encourage you to add coverage to your policy. While water protection that’s standard to most policies will protect your home in the event of a frozen pipe, flood protection and earthquake coverage are not included in most policies.

Here, we describe in greater detail the three perils specific to Ontario homeowners.

Overland flooding

Water damage has overtaken fire as the primary cause of home insurance claims in Ontario. It occurs when excess rainfall or snowmelt causes freshwater or wastewater sources to fill beyond their normal confines and seep into homes through doors, windows, basements, and vents. The resulting water damage can be extremely costly to repair. Most basic home insurance policies do not cover overland flooding, storm surges, or even backed-up sewers — to protect against these kinds of water risks, additional coverage is usually required.

Regions at highest risk: GTA, Southwestern Ontario

Freezing temperature

A major concern with Ontario’s cold winters is ice damming. This happens when a layer of ice melts — from attic heat or freeze-thaw weather — allowing water to seep into the house or attic, causing costly damage. Ice damming is sometimes covered under basic home insurance policies, but always ask your provider to be sure. Freezing temperatures can also cause frozen pipes, which are also sometimes covered by basic home insurance policies, providing certain precautions have been taken (e.g. having someone check on your home every 24 hours if you’re away for an extended period during the winter).

Regions at highest risk: Northern Ontario has the harshest winters, but the entire province is at risk.

Earthquakes

While not common in Ontario, earthquakes do occasionally occur. The most recent one took place in 2010 and registered 5.0 on the Richter Scale. The resultant damage to the Ottawa region and parts of nearby Quebec was significant though not necessarily severe.

Most basic home insurance policies will not cover earthquakes; additional coverage is required. If you live in the Ottawa and North Bay regions of the province, we encourage you to seriously consider adding earthquake coverage to your home insurance policy.

Forest fires

While Ontario isn’t known for forest fires, the province still averages 1,000 major burns per year. As incidents of severe weather become more common across the country, it’s likely that forest fires will too. These aren’t your average house fires — each blaze could engulf the entire Greater Toronto Area. Luckily, most basic home insurance policies list fire as a covered peril. Regions at highest risk include Northeastern Ontario and Northern Ontario.

What kind of home insurance policy do you need in Ontario?

Homeowners in Ontario can choose between several home insurance coverages:

Comprehensive or All Perils - This is the most thorough home insurance available. It’s also the most expensive, as it covers the home and its contents against all perils and losses, expect those that are explicitly excluded. The two kinds of perils that are typically not included in any policy are ‘uninsurable perils’ (e.g. water damage, insect damage, earthquakes) and ‘optional coverage’ (e.g. sewer back-up). These perils require additional coverage.

Broad or Named Perils - This policy covers your home and its contents for perils specifically named in the policy. It’s less expensive than the comprehensive option but leaves the homeowner at greater risk.

Basic - This policy offers baseline coverage for properties that fail to meet normal underwriting standards. Speak with your broker or provider for details.

Another important note: Home insurance is based on replacement cost, not market value. This means if it costs $350,000 to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss — even if it’s worth twice that on the market — an insurance company would provide you with the lower replacement value (not the higher market value). Therefore, when determining your home insurance premiums, replacement value is a major factor that insurance companies consider.

Some insurers will also offer an option to purchase an Actual Cash Value (ACV) home insurance policy, which is replacement value less depreciation. So, if the washing machine you need to replace is ten years old, your payout will be based on the estimated cost of purchasing a similar model (and similar aged) washing machine.

With ACV coverage, your premiums will be lower, but so will the payouts.

How we find you the best home insurance quotes in Ontario.

According to the 2021 census, the province of Ontario is home to nearly 5.9 million private dwellings. This means almost 40% of Ontario’s population has home insurance.

While it’s not legally mandated that properties in Ontario are insured, most banks and lenders require that mortgaged homes be covered, so home insurance is a de facto requirement for homeowners.

Adding to that is the fact that homes are our places of comfort, security, community, and family — all things worth protecting.

Most policies for single family homes will cover detached structures on your property (e.g. sheds, garages), and some policies will even cover additional living expenses if you’re forced to temporarily reside in a rented home or hotel.

The premiums you pay into your home insurance policy will help you cover these unexpected costs.

Like auto insurance, there are numerous home insurance providers for Ontarians to choose between, and because they each offer different rates, it’s important to shop the market before making your decision.

That’s where we come in: LowestRates.ca will compare the home insurance market for you and connect you with a qualified broker, ensuring that you have the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Outline of a house. Illustration.

See how our customers in Ontario save big on home insurance.

Type of homeLocationPrevious claimsLowest rateAverage rateSaved
Quote from February 20, 2024
Type of home
Detached 1,648 sq ft
Location
Midhurst
Previous claims
None
Lowest Rate
$101/mth
$1,212/yr
Average rate
$239/mth
$2,868/yr
Saved
$138/mth
$1,656/yr (58.00%)
Quote from February 20, 2024
Type of home
Detached 1,099 sq ft
Location
Cobourg
Previous claims
None
Lowest Rate
$85/mth
$1,020/yr
Average rate
$106/mth
$1,272/yr
Saved
$21/mth
$252/yr (20.00%)
Quote from February 20, 2024
Type of home
Detached 1,034 sq ft
Location
Gilmour
Previous claims
None
Lowest Rate
$124/mth
$1,488/yr
Average rate
$174/mth
$2,088/yr
Saved
$50/mth
$600/yr (29.00%)
Home insurance quotes are compared from CAA, Dominion Insurance, Economical Insurance, Gore Mutual, Max Insurance, Pembridge, SGI, Square One Insurance, and Wawanesa Insurance.

How comparing home insurance quotes works. Hint: it’s free!

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Next, we’ll show you quotes from 50+ Canadian providers. It’s free, with no commitment.

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When you find the best quote, secure your Ontario home insurance rate by talking to a licensed broker or agent.

 

Tips on how to lower the cost of your home insurance policy in Ontario

Getting insurance for your home is easier than you think. To get the lowest rate possible, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada recommends following these steps when shopping for home insurance.

Compare home insurance quotes from various providers.

Ask your broker or agent about bundling your home and car insurance policies.

Ask your broker or agent about which discounts you qualify for.

You might be able to further reduce your by increasing your deductible (the amount you pay toward a claim before your insurance kicks in) and by offering to pay your insurance bill annually instead of monthly.

Increasing your deductible is a great way to save on home insurance in the short term, just make sure you have money reserved for this purpose. Focusing on finding cheap quotes isn’t always a good idea. Having the right amount of coverage — now that should always be the goal.

All your questions about home insurance in Ontario, answered

 

How can I find the cheapest home insurance quote in Ontario?

Comparison shopping is a crucial first step in lowering your home insurance costs. There’s a wide range of available prices so when you shop around for the best rate, you’re likely to find savings. We recommend that you compare rates every time your policy is up for renewal. Other easy ways to bring down your home insurance costs include bundling, increasing your deductible and installing security and carbon monoxide alarms.

How much on average does home insurance cost in Ontario?

The cost of an average home insurance premium isn’t necessarily a good indication of how much you’ll pay. This is because of how many variables go into determining a rate. Some key factors include the home itself, its location, flood risk in the area and details about you, the policyholder.

More recently, home insurance premiums have been increasing for everyone – including for renewals. For example, according to the Applied Rating Index, a data-driver report produced quarterly by Applied Systems to reflect insurance premium trends, in Q1 2022, the personal property premium renewal rate change increased 5.5% versus Q1 2021. This change marked a further .9% increase from Q4 2021.

There are many reasons for these increases, including more and more severe weather resulting in providers having to pay out record claims more and more often. Supply chain issues and increasing labour costs are also driving up replacement costs which means it’s more expensive for insurance providers to replace a home following a covered peril.

While auto insurance premium increases require regulatory approval, home insurance providers can increase home insurance rates at their discretion. As a result, there tends to be a wider range of home insurance rates available. If you compare them, you’re more likely to find savings. There are many things you can do to reduce your home insurance costs, but one of the most effective ways is to comparison shop. Use our online tool to get free quotes from 50+ of the most trusted providers in Canada.

If I list a portion of my house on Airbnb or Vrbo, do I need to inform my home insurance provider?

Yes, absolutely. If your home is being used as an income property, it’s important to get a policy that protects you as a landlord. You may also want to consider requiring any tenant – whether their short-term or longer-term – to get their own insurance as well.

While home insurance will protect you as a landlord, it will not extent to protection for a tenant, including their contents. If you file a home insurance claim for damage that took place when you were using your home for commercial purposes, a provider can deny coverage if they were unaware of how the property was being used.

What companies offer the best home insurance in Ontario?

There are many companies offering home insurance in Ontario, each with their own unique underwriting standards, additional coverages, and pricing structures. While it’s hard to pinpoint what provider offers the ‘best’ home insurance, here are some of the province’s major players:

  • Aviva Canada.
  • CAA Home Insurance
  • Desjardins Home Insurance.
  • Johnson Home Insurance.
  • RBC Home Insurance.
Alexandra Bosanac

Alexandra Bosanac

About the Author

Alexandra Bosanac is the Core Content Manager for LowestRates.ca. Her reporting has appeared in Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the CBC.

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*Shoppers in Ontario who obtained a home insurance quote on LowestRates.ca from January to December 2022 saved an average of 20%. The average savings percentage represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of the second and third lowest quoted premiums generated by LowestRates.ca. Excludes tenant and condo insurance.