If I own a house or condominium, do I have to get home insurance?
Unlike motorists – who must by law have car insurance – house and condo owners aren’t legally required to have home insurance. However, it may be a requirement in certain situations. For example:
- Mortgaged homes: If you want to take out a mortgage to pay for your home, your financial institution may require you to have home insurance. This helps protect the value of the home and the security of their loan in case of something unexpected, like a fire or natural disaster.
- Condo or co-op units: If you’re buying a condo or co-op unit, your board may require that you have insurance. You’ll need to double-check with your board, as each is different.
Whatever your living situation may be, we strongly recommend that you do get insurance because it not only protects your home and the contents inside, it also gives you liability coverage in case you accidentally injure someone or damage someone’s property anywhere in the world
What does my Condo Association's insurance cover?
A condo association master policy typically provides coverage for the basic building (everything outside of your unit's walls), which includes the roof, the floors, the elevators, etc. As a condo unit owner, it is your responsibility to insure your appliances, carpeting, cabinets, wall coverings, and other items in your unit. A comprehensive condo insurance policy will also protect from losses to your property, improvements to the unit, and from liability.
How can I reduce my home insurance premium?
Keeping your home secure pays off. If you install a home security system and/or a monitored fire alarm, you may qualify for discounts. You can also lower your premium by choosing a higher deductible. Allstate offers many discounts that can help you save even more like a Claim-Free Bonus if you go 12 months without making a claim* (excluding Ontario).
What's considered standard on home insurance coverage? [What does home insurance usually cover?]
While policies can differ greatly, there are some standards features that are part of just about every home insurance plan, including:
- Building coverage — if you own a house or condo (if you need it)
- Contents — your personal property
- Personal liability — should someone hurt themselves while visiting your home
- Additional living expenses — for temporary accommodations and expenses if you cannot live at home due to covered loss or damage
Your home insurance mainly covers your property and its contents. Your insurance will generally cover:
- The building itself
- The trees and shrubs around it
- Structures on your property, like a garage or shed
- Your own personal property, like furniture, electronics, computers, clothing, kitchenware, jewellery and art
- Additional living expenses if you need to relocate temporarily after making a claim
- The loss of any rental income after making a claim (the rented portions of the principal residence)
However, your needs are unique, so your coverage will be too. It depends whether your property is a principal or secondary residence, a cottage or condominium, an undivided co-ownership or an apartment. If you’re insuring a condo, these will be added on:
- All areas to which the co-owners have shared access
- Any improvements you may make to your unit
You can choose to insure your home for either of these:
- Most risks that come out of unexpected situations (‘all risks’ coverage)
- Claims that come from risks included in your policy (‘Named Perils’ coverage)
You can always customize your policy to get the right amount of insurance for your unique needs, like adding specific insurance for a special piece of jewellery or work of art.
All home insurance policies also give you Liability coverage, which protects you if you accidentally injure someone or damage someone’s property, anywhere in the world.
How are premiums calculated?
The building itself has a lot to do with how your home insurance premiums are set. Many things about your home are taken into consideration including:
- Its age and size
- Type of building (detached, semi, high rise, etc)
- Type of construction (brick, stucco, wood, etc)
- Type of heating system
- How close it is to a fire hydrant or fire station
- Where it is located
If I’m doing renovations on my house, do I need to tell my insurance company?
Yes. It’s important to let us know before you begin renovations because we may need to revise the value of your home. You’ll need to have enough insurance to cover the value of your home, or the cost to rebuild it. You may also need extra coverage for the materials you use and for your own liability.