There’s no reason getting your home insured should be a hassle, but sometimes that’s exactly what it can feel like, especially if you go into it without knowing what to expect.
A good insurance broker can walk you through the process, but there’s no harm in knowing what you need before you even start shopping around.
Here are four easy steps for getting the right homeowner insurance coverage in Canada:
1. Make an inventory of all the things you need covered
The first and possibly most important step in getting the right coverage is knowing exactly what needs covering in the first place. Taking inventory of your possessions is not only essential for knowing exactly what you will be able to claim if anything happens to your home, but it’s also a good way to motivate you to declutter your life if you realize you’ve got way too much junk.
Taking inventory of all your possessions seems like a huge drag, but you can make it easier by using a high quality camera – your smart phone will do nicely. Taking pictures or video of each and every room and area of your house with your smartphone can add up to thousands of dollars when it comes to coverage.
Leave cupboards and cabinets open when getting footage of your rooms, and make sure to narrate the video, describing what each item is. Where you can, get shots of serial numbers, especially on electronics.
Even with photos or video, having a list is still essential. The most important information points to include in your list are serial numbers, brands, quantities, and estimated values. Use a free home inventory checklist like this one from HouseLogic to get you moving in the right direction. Once you have your list, keep it safe. Keep an electronic copy in the cloud using a service like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or DropBox.
2. Figure out the value of your home
Aside from your possessions, you’ll need to buy enough home insurance to cover the replacement of your house itself. Companies need to know the square footage of your home as well as building materials used, details about the heating system, plumbing, and other structural features.
The replacement value of your home is not the same as the resale value of your home or the purchase price you paid when you got it.
3. Take extra coverage into account
In Canada, severe weather is by far the biggest risk to property there is. If you live in an area prone to hail or flooding or forest fires, you may find yourself having to pay for extended homeowner coverage against those perils.
Other situations that call for extra coverage include running a business out of your home and renting part or all of the property out to tenants. Realize, too, that if you have extra-valuable possessions, they will not be covered under the standard policy and you’ll have to add coverage for those specific items
4. Shop around to find the best deal
There are numerous places you can get homeowner insurance coverage in Canada. Should you bundle your home policy with your auto insurance, or could you find a better deal going to another company? The only way to know the answers to such questions is to go out and get quotes from different companies. Comparing home insurance rates online will let you do this more efficiently than going to dozens of insurers yoursel