REPORT: Home and condo insurance prices are rising across Canada
From climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic, many forces are currently affecting home insurance prices.
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While home insurance isn’t required by law in P.E.I., we recommend homeowners get coverage. A good home insurance policy means that in the event of damage or loss you won’t have to worry about unexpected expenses.
But choosing a policy can be a confusing process. There are a lot of providers to choose from and each one offers different rates for different amounts of coverage.
That’s where we come in. LowestRates.ca helps you comparison shop, connecting you with the brokers that can offer you the right amount of coverage at the best rate.
Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions people have when they’re shopping for home insurance in P.E.I.
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Premiums are calculated based on certain risk factors pertaining to your home, including:
As an island, P.E.I’s coastline is impacted by wind, waves, and snow. Climate change is also causing these weather events to become stronger and more frequent.
If you’re shopping around for a house in P.E.I., make sure you consider its location and how prone it is to such storms. Your policy will only help to pay for some of the costs in the event of a loss.
This includes the replacement of a house’s structure and its contents, and additional living expenses. However, you won’t receive market value, i.e., the total value of the land and house.
Coastal erosion, flooding and rising sea-levels
The sea level surrounding P.E.I. continues to rise due to climate change and it's putting coastal properties at a higher risk of flooding.
Strong winds can trigger storm surges, which can result in overland flooding. And for low-lying coastal properties, which already have had a front-row seat to coastal erosion, flooding is expected to become even more severe.
Since there are currently no insurance products which specifically address coastal erosion in Canada, you will want to examine the risks associated with your property and ways to protect from damage.
Regions at highest risk: Residences that are located right on the coast.
Snow and ice
Winters in P.E.I. bring snow and ice, with temperatures dipping well below the freezing point. If a passerby slips on your yet-to-be-shovelled property, you are at fault for any damage, but if you have insurance, you'll be covered for any liability. Snow and ice can also cause flooding, frozen pipes, and other forms of damage to your property. Be sure to check that your house is up to standard and that your policy covers your specific needs.
Regions at highest risk: The entire island.
There are several types of home insurance policies to meet the specific needs of homeowners in P.E.I. Categories vary from full coverage to more economical packages. A broker can help you identify how much coverage you need.
Here’s an overview of the different categories:
Comprehensive or All Perils - The most thorough coverage for the building and its contents, not including optional coverage and predicted events. Property-specific coverage is needed for condos and mobile homes.
Basic or Named Perils - The economical option which covers only what is specified within the policy; if you can cover some costs yourself, this might be your best option.
Broad - The middle-ground between a basic policy and a comprehensive policy, it covers the building and named contents or perils.
No-Frills - If your home requires upgrades or has physical problems, this option is for the homes which don’t meet the standards of most insurers.
Most insurance policies include personal liability coverage. In the event someone a visitor or passer-by injures themselves on your property — your neighbour slips on your driveway or your friend falls in your home, for example — personal liability coverage will help cover any damages you may incur.
Endorsements are extra coverages you can add to your policy. Endorsements cover damage caused by a peril that's not included in a standard policy. For example, endorsements are offered for earthquakes, floods, and sewer backups. P.E.I. residents who live in low-lying areas will want to consider buying extra coverage for water damage, in particular. The cost of extra coverage could range from between 5% and 50% of your premium, depending on where you live and the quality of your home’s structure.
The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance is the government watchdog in charge of overseeing financial institutions operating in P.E.I. The province’s Insurance Act requires all agents to be licensed. Home insurance premiums, on the other hand, are not regulated in P.E.I.
If a claim you’ve filed is denied, there are ways to appeal the decision. Start by contacting the insurer’s own ombudsperson. If that fails, you can file a complaint with the General Insurance Ombudservice, a self-regulatory organization operating in each province. Your final chance at a successful appeal is in civil court.
Here are some things you can do that might lower the cost of your premium:
Your policy should reflect your specific needs and budget, so what works for your neighbour may not be right for you.
Before you lock into a policy, create a rough inventory of the contents of your home and their value, and any upgrades you’ve made to your home. Remember to inform your lender of any changes or renovations you make to ensure your coverage and premium reflect your needs.
A few of the companies offering home insurance in P.E.I. include:
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