8 Surprising Facts about Home Insurance

Most people know that when it comes to Canadian real estate, the costs of owning a home isn’t limited to the price of the property. You’ll also need to take into account closing costs, property tax as well as home insurance.

Homeowners are generally aware of how insurance can help with repair costs when something goes wrong with their house. If the house burns down, then the insurance can help cover the costs. But it’s surprising how some people aren’t aware of some aspects of their home insurance policy.

See if you’re aware of the following truths about your home insurance.

1. It doesn’t cover all of your potential problems. If your home is damaged by an earthquake and you have a standard home insurance policy, then you’re out of luck. It’s not covered. The same goes if your home is flooded by heavy rains or because your sewers backed up.

2. The amount of coverage may not be enough for expensive items. This is especially true for items such as jewelry. It may be covered, but the amount you can claim may not be as much as the jewelry is actually worth. If you want full coverage of your expensive wedding rings, you’ll need a jeweler to make an appraisal and then you can get supplemental insurance for them.

3. It covers people getting hurt in your home. Your insurance policy typically includes liability insurance, so anyone who gets hurt in your home will have their medical bills covered by your insurance if you’re liable for their injuries.

4. Your home insurance policy may also cover your personal belongings even when you lose them outside your home. That’s why when your laptop is stolen from your car, your auto insurance won’t cover the loss. But your home insurance probably will.

5. Simple preventive measures can reduce your premiums. For many households these days, a working smoke detector is an obvious buy. But buying such an item can also reduce your insurance premiums, when you tell your insurance company about it. Put in a deadbolt in your main house door and you don’t just increase the security of your home. You can reduce the premiums by 5%. Install a burglar alarm (especially one that’s recommended by your insurance company) and your premiums can go down by as much as 20%.

6. You need to keep accurate records for insurance companies to pay valid claims. You have to document everything that happens during a loss and what you did to mitigate that loss. You have to save your receipts, contracts, and appraisals as well. Stow it in a fireproof safe, and keep scanned versions online.

7. You have to keep up with inflation. Your coverage amounts must be realistic. What your home is worth 5 years ago may no longer be the same as what they’re worth today, so the costs of repairs can go up. When you make renovations and improvements to your place, you also need to factor that in to your insurance policy. You need greater coverage as your home becomes more valuable. In Canadian real estate at a time when prices are rising year after year, this is something you need to keep in mind.

8. There’s a time limit for reporting problems. You have to ask about these to make sure, and then you need to report any problems within the given time period. For example, your policy may require you to report any mold issues within 2 weeks of suffering water damage. If you wait a month, it may not be covered anymore.

It’s best if you ask a lot of questions of your agent to make sure you know what’s covered and what you have to do to file a claim. You can’t just assume. You have to know for sure just what you’re getting with your home insurance policy.