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It may come as a surprise, but when you own a home you are not legally required to insure it. Almost all homeowners do have insurance, however, and for two good reasons: no financial institution will give you a mortgage without it and having insurance just makes good sense. Leaving your home uninsured represents a major financial risk that most people can’t afford.

We’ll help you find home insurance that fits your needs. We’ll answer questions about how much insurance costs, the different types of policies available, and how you can save on your premiums. Most important of all, we’ll give you the lowdown on comparing rates before you buy, which is where the real savings kick in.

Your questions about home insurance in Surrey, answered.

How much does home insurance cost in Surrey?

Every home is different and every home insurance policy is different too. Things like the age of your home and where it is located plays a big role in insurance costs, but so do other factors; the way in which one insurance provider underwrites risk compared to another, for example. The only way to really get a good idea of price before you buy is to get quotes from multiple companies. Comparing prices and policies puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to finding the coverage that’s perfect for you.

What risks are specific to Surrey?

Location makes a big difference when it comes to insurance. Climate is an example of a locational factor that could influence your insurance premiums. Major storms and heavy rains factor into how insurers calculate risk. Surrey gets 55 inches of rain annually, which means homeowners are at an elevated risk of things like basement flooding.

In addition, extreme weather-related events are expected to become more frequent with climate change. This trend will likely affect premiums for all homeowners over the coming years.

Surrey is also in a major earthquake zone, which represents a very significant risk to any homeowner. It’s important to point out here that while a typical insurance policy will cover you for a lot of things, it won’t cover you for an earthquake. To get that kind of protection, you need to ask for special coverage (also called an insurance ‘endorsement’).

What risks does home insurance cover in Surrey?

The type of insurance policy you buy will dictate the extent to which you’re covered, but most home insurance will protect you from the following risks:

  • Water, wind and fire damage to your home and everything in it.
  • Theft of your possessions, both from your home and car.
  • Physical injury to someone visiting you.
  • Damage to your neighbours’ property from events that occurred on yours (such as a fire in your home that caused damage next door).

What risks won’t home insurance cover in Surrey?

Even though insurance covers you for a lot, it doesn’t cover you for everything. A standard policy will not protect you from:

  • Catastrophic events, such as floods or earthquakes.
  • Damage that came about because you didn’t maintain your home properly.
  • Anything that was the result of negligent behaviour.

What kind of home insurance do you need in Surrey?

Home insurance falls into four different categories:

Comprehensive: With this type of policy, the structure of your home and your contents are covered against all risks, also known as “insurable perils.” However, perils normally excluded by insurance companies — earthquakes, for instance — won’t be included in this coverage. You can, however, buy extra coverage in the form of an endorsement, to protect yourself from risks your policy excludes.

Basic or Named Perils: While a comprehensive policy covers you for every type of insurable risk, a basic policy only covers you against risks you’ve specified. With this kind of policy you need to read your documents very carefully: if it’s not in the policy, you don’t have coverage. The upside is that you have more control over the cost of your premium.

Broad: This type of insurance covers the structure of your home from all insurable risks. The contents of your home are only covered against risks that you specify. Broad insurance is a cross between comprehensive and basic insurance.

No-Frills: Sometimes insurers will decline an application because a property is just too unsafe to protect. In that case, you can often get a no-frills policy that will provide very basic coverage (such as insurance against fire) while you renovate the property.

Given the city’s location on the most volatile fault line in Canada, it’s important for residents of Surrey to know that they can get an amendment to their regular policy that covers earthquakes. This kind of amendment is called an endorsement, and you can request one for everything from a sewer backing up to theft of an extremely valuable work of art. Obtaining an endorsement will increase your premium.

What can you do to save on home insurance in Surrey?

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your insurance costs, and doing them all can add up to big savings:

  • Compare rates. This is the best way to find the right coverage at the right price, and with websites that do the comparing for you, it’s easier than ever to save money.
  • Make annual payments. Some companies charge you financing and administrative fees when you pay monthly premiums. Paying annually can reduce or eliminate that added cost.
  • Go for a higher deductible. Once you agree to pay more out of your own pocket in the event of a claim, your insurer will offer you a lower price.
  • Stop smoking. Smokers have higher insurance premiums than non-smokers because careless smoking is a significant fire hazard. Ditch the tobacco and your premiums will drop.
  • Make your home safe. Protecting your home with things like alarm systems, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers will make it less of a risk for insurers, which they’ll reward with lower premiums.

What are the best insurance companies in Surrey?

There’s really no such thing as “the best” insurance company. There are, however, a lot of very reliable ones that offer great insurance packages. You can find them easily by doing a bit of research online and asking family and friends for recommendations. And while you’re doing that, remember as well to get multiple quotes online. Armed with that information, you’ll be able to decide with confidence what type of coverage is best for you. Here is just a small sampling of reputable insurers that offer home coverage in Surrey:

  • The Co-operators
  • Intact Insurance
  • Sonnet
  • belairdirect

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