How we find you the best home insurance in Ottawa
Ottawa is our nation’s capital and a rapidly growing city. Home insurance is not a legal requirement for Ottawa homeowners, but it’s essentially a must-have. That’s because most banks and lenders require mortgage holders to also have home insurance. And when you consider what homes represent — security, family, shelter, community — it’s no wonder they need to be protected.
For many property owners, home insurance — which also encompases condo insurance — can be confusing. What exactly does it cover? How much coverage do you need? How do you purchase coverage? That’s where we can help. LowestRates.ca compares the home insurance market for you and connects you with a qualified broker, making sure you find the right amount of coverage, at the right price, for your property’s unique needs.
This page will provide an overview of everything you need to know about purchasing home insurance in Ottawa. So read along and make sure you’re well-informed before taking out a policy to protect what’s likely your most important investment.
How much does home insurance cost in Ottawa?
The cost of premiums can vary by insurer. The best way to get an estimate on how much you might pay is to apply for a quote. At LowestRates.ca, we’ll show you 10+ home insurance quotes from Canada’s top insurance companies.
- Severe thunderstorms. Ottawa occasionally experiences severe thunderstorms, capable of causing torrential rainfall, hail, lightning, and even tornadoes or hurricanes.
- Strong winds. Like much of the province, Ottawa is subject to strong winds that are capable of dangerous gusts of over 100km/h.
- Earthquakes. While not a major risk in Ontario, earthquakes have been known to occur, and are actually most common in the Ottawa region. The damage from earthquakes can range from negligible to severe, and most home insurance policies will not cover any damage.
- Overland flooding. Situated on the Ottawa River and near a number of other bodies of water, Ottawa is at risk of flash flooding. Overland flooding — which is now the primary reason for home insurance claims in Ontario — occurs when heavy rainfall or melting snow cause water sources to fill beyond their usual confines, spilling out into streets, homes, vents, and basements. Water damage can be very costly to repair, and most home insurance policies do not cover damage caused by backed-up sewers, overland flooding, or storm surges.
- Extreme cold weather. As the world’s coldest capital city, Ottawa is no stranger to exceptionally cold winters. It’s not uncommon for the city to experience temperatures of -30 C, not including the wind chill. These frigid temperatures can cause ice damming, which is when a layer of ice melts and refreezes (also known as ‘freeze-thaw’ weather) causing water to seep into homes. Although ice damming is sometimes covered in basic home insurance policies, it’s wise to always ask your broker if your home is protected against it. Extreme cold can also result in frozen pipes, which are also sometimes covered, but always ask your broker for details.
What risks does home insurance cover in Ottawa?
Home insurance protects your Ottawa home and its contents against a variety of unexpected perils. Most basic policies protect you against the following:
- Fire damage
- Break-ins and theft
- Smoke damage
- Falling objects
- Civil unrest
- Vehicle or aircraft impact
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
Most home insurance policies also protect you if a person is injured on your property. And if you accidentally damage someone else’s property — in Ottawa, elsewhere in Canada, or abroad — you will be protected against the subsequent repair costs. Furthermore, most home insurance policies cover detached buildings on your property, such as garages or sheds, and some will cover the living expenses you may face if you’re temporarily forced out of your home during repairs (e.g., hotel, short-term home, apartment rental). Because repairing or replacing things like appliances, electrical work, floors, ceilings, and personal belongings can be hugely expensive, home insurance is strongly recommended for Ottawa homeowners.
What risks won’t home insurance cover in Ottawa?
Unfortunately, not every unexpected peril that can impact your home is covered by basic home insurance. Here are a few events that usually require additional coverage:
- Damage resulting from flash floods or overland flooding. Water damage resulting from burst pipes or overflowing toilets is usually covered, but additional coverage is typically required to protect against flooding.
- Loss of high-value belongings. Most standard home insurance policies will cover some high-value items, but if the value of a specific item — think jewelry, artwork, watches, furs, etc. — exceeds your policy’s limits, it won’t be covered. So if you have anything especially valuable that you’d like covered, look into additional coverage.
- Earthquake or landslide damage. Additional coverage against these incidents would need to be purchased separately.
- Pest damage and infestations. Damage caused by insects, birds, rodents, bats, or skunks are considered to be part of home maintenance, and are thus incumbent upon the homeowner to guard against.
- General wear and tear. Normal deterioration is considered to be in the domain of home maintenance, and therefore any wear and tear that results in home damage is not usually covered.
- Home-based business. If you’re running a business out of your home, you will most likely require additional coverage to ensure adequate protection of your business-related items, such as inventory, equipment, computers, software, and furniture.
What kind of home insurance do you need in Ottawa?
Four basic types of home insurance are available in Ottawa:
Comprehensive or All Perils - This is the most comprehensive coverage available, covering the home and its contents against all unexpected perils, excluding those uninsurable events mentioned in the section above (e.g., flood damage, loss of high-value items, earthquake damage, etc.).
Basic or Named Perils - This insurance covers your home and its contents against perils that have been listed in the policy. It’s less costly than comprehensive coverage, but it also covers less.
Broad - This is in between ‘comprehensive’ and ‘basic’ policies. It covers some high-cost items — such as the structure of the house — in addition to certain named perils.
No Frills - A no frills policy offers basic coverage for properties that cannot normally be underwritten. Ask your broker if a no frills policy is appropriate for your property.
Here are a few additional home insurance coverages that are available in Ottawa:
- Fire department charges. Covers the fees charged by the fire department for visiting your property for an insured peril.
- Mass evacuation. Covers the living expenses due to mandatory evacuation from your property.
- Counterfeit money and cheques. Covers you if you unknowingly accept accept fake money or if one of your cheques is altered or forged.
- Lock replacement. Covers the cost of replacing the door locks on your home if your keys are stolen.
- Frozen foods. Covers the cost to replace frozen foods if your freezer breaks down.
What can you do to save on home insurance in Ottawa?
Don’t assume your rate can’t get lower. Do your homework and make sure you have sufficient coverage at the best price.
- Shop online for the best rate.
- Bundling your vehicle insurance and home insurance with the same company can save you money.
- Purchase an endorsement to guard against a premium increase following a claim. These endorsements are typically referred to as ‘claims protectors.’
- Credit counts. A good credit score can often mean a better policy.
- Tell your broker about your home’s safety features, including fire alarms, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, indoor sprinkler systems, and security alarms.
- Increasing your deductible usually results in a lowered premium.
- Only insure the replacement value of the home itself, not the land on which it sits.
- Don’t claim for small items. They can increase your premium and often aren’t worth it after the deductible.
- Stop smoking. It’s bad for your premiums and your health.
- Pay annually. There’s usually a break if you pay once a year instead of monthly.
- Remove dead trees and hanging objects that could damage your home during a storm.
What are the best home insurance companies in Ottawa?
There is no single insurance company that’s considered ‘the best’ for everyone. That’s why it’s important to shop around and find the right coverage — at the best price — for your property. A good way to find a trustworthy company is to ask family and friends who they use, and if they’re happy with the service and coverage. Alternatively, you can turn to a site like LowestRates.ca, as we carefully vet all of our broker partners to ensure that our users end up with professional and trustworthy companies.
Each company offering home insurance has unique coverages, features and pricing. Here are some notable providers that Ottawa homeowners can trust:
- CAA Insurance
- Aviva Canada
- TD Insurance
- Intact Insurance
- RBC Insurance