Whether you have renewed your house insurance for years, or just purchasing your first home, knowing what house insurance you need can be overwhelming. Your most valuable material possessions are probably your home and contents. Can you afford to replace them? Not many of us could. Home insurance is one of the most important purchases you will ever make for the valuable material possessions you care about.
We have access to a number of insurance companies that have house insurance products that are competitive within the insurance industry. Because we are a digital insurance brokerage, we are also able to service the entire province of Manitoba including Winnipeg.
Our team will assist you in evaluating your house insurance needs and help customize your policy so that you have the protection that you need. Our Insurance Brokers provide excellent customer service. We want you to understand what you are insured for and help you with the process. Just like clothes, one size fits all doesn’t typically work for everyone.
House insurance policies come with coverages that can be customized to meet your unique needs. Home insurance typically covers your dwelling, detached structures, fences and landscaping, personal property and personal liability.
Unfortunately, insurance claims happen. We are here to help our clients get through the claims process. We want you to have the peace of mind and know that you are looked after when you need us.
House Insurance Coverages
A home insurance policy is made up of coverage for your home that will help pay to repair or replace your home and its belongings if they are damaged by certain perils or stolen.
The definition of Peril is the exposure to the risk of being injured, destroyed or lost. When it comes to home insurance coverage, common all perils coverage would include:
- Fire & Smoke
- Lightning strikes
- Windstorms and hail
- Electrical Current
- Damage from aircraft, car or vehicle
- Falling objects
Personal Liability Protection
A standard home insurance policy will include $1million of coverage. The Guild Insurance Group recommends a minimum of $2 million or more, and generally, the cost for that increase is minimal. Personal Liability coverage protects you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you cause to other people. It also pays for damages caused by your pets. Personal Liability protection pays for costs of defending you in court and/or any court awards, up to the limit listed on your policy.
Additional Available Coverage
There are additional coverages that can be added to your policy such as sewer back up, overland water, water damage, service line coverage, additional floaters (for items such as collectables, jewellery and other high-value items), and increased liability limits. Ask your broker about what insurance coverages would ensure you and your family are covered.
Start looking around your kitchen, bath, bedrooms, storage room, rec room and garage. Your list will likely grow pretty quickly! In the event of a loss or damage, a home inventory video or checklist can be invaluable. Your insurance company will ask you to provide the claims specialist with a complete inventory of the property that was damaged or destroyed. After you have completed your home inventory video or checklist be sure to keep it in a digital format that can be accessed outside your home. If you send it over to your Insurance Broker at Guild Insurance Group we can keep it on file for future reference. Click here to download your home inventory checklist. Or watch this video on 5 Steps to Create a Home Inventory Checklist.
Look at Your Stuff
- Bicycles & sporting equipment
- Fine arts & collectables
- Watches & jewellery
- Electronics & accessories
- Clothing (from day to day wear to coats and shoes)
- Appliances & utensils
- Furniture & textiles (blankets, pillows, etc)
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
Your premium will reflect on the cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. This includes the cost to rebuild the structure, replace its contents and any out build insurance and additional living expenses. Be sure to tell your insurance broker if you have a burglar alarm/fire and smoke detector system, a new home, or are mortgage-free. Some insurance companies offer discounts that could be applied to your premium. There are a couple of different factors that play into the cost of your home insurance policy.
Generally, the main factors behind the cost are:
- The cost to replace your home
- The neighborhood you live in
- Your past insurance history
- The broker providing the quotes
- The construction of your home
- The age of your home
7 Frequently Asked House Insurance Questions
House insurance is must-have protection for every homeowner. Not only will your bank or mortgage lender require that you have a house insurance policy in place, but you will also want one and need one for safety and peace of mind. If something happens and your property is damaged, or you have a house fire, your property insurance policy will be your saving grace.
Despite the importance of house insurance; there is still a lot of confusion about it. Homeowners or prospective homeowners are often not 100 percent clear on what impacts the cost of their premiums, what their policy covers, and what it doesn’t—among other things. Below we have walked through some of the most common questions about homeowner’s insurance, to help you understand some of its important nuances.
What Does House Insurance Cover?
When you buy a homeowner’s insurance policy, you should be provided with a list of “covered events” by your insurance broker. Anything on this list is covered, which means you can make an insurance claim if any of those events happen to you. Anything not on the list is not covered, which means you can’t make a claim. Commonly covered events include:
- Fire damage
- Smoke damage
- Damage caused by weather (including hail, wind, lightning )
- Theft or burglarly
- Damage caused by vehicles (such as a driver crashing their car into your house)
The coverage provided in these situations is straightforward. In other cases, though, house insurance coverage can get a bit more complex. The best example is with water damage. A common question in the insurance world is “does house insurance cover water damage.” The simplest answer to that question is “Sometimes.” Most cases, for water damage to be covered, it must be sudden and accidental—such as a burst pipe—your insurance policy will cover the damage. If flooding occurs because of a natural disaster, you would unfortunately not be covered unless you purchased the proper overland flood extension on your policy.
House insurance also includes liability coverage. If someone comes to your home, slips on your floor, and sues you for damages, your liability coverage would take effect to cover legal costs, medical expenses for the plaintiff, and settlement expenses if you were negligent.
What Does House Insurance Not Cover?
As mentioned above, your house insurance policy should list “covered events.” Any event or incident not included on that list is something you should assume is not covered by your policy. Here are a few common types of damage or home-related expenses that will not be covered by your house insurance policy:
- Damage from most natural disasters (including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides/mudslides, or sinkholes)
- Damage caused by warfare
- Damage caused by nuclear accidents
- Termite damage (including repair costs and removal costs)
- Tree removal costs
- Routine maintenance, repair or replacement costs (including roofing, plumbing, HVAC, appliances, and more)
Ultimately, the most important thing to understand is that damage needs to be caused by a covered event for it to be safeguarded under your insurance policy. For instance, if a massive hailstorm breaks several windows in your home, you can claim that damage because it was caused by a covered event. If your roof needed replacing due to normal wear and tear you would not have coverage.
Can House Insurance Deny a Claim?
Yes. House insurance companies can deny claims. If you make a claim involving termites, for example, your insurance company will deny the claim because your policy does not specify coverage for that type of damage. Even in cases where the loss results from a covered event, there is a possibility that your insurer could deny the claim.
A good example is if your roof collapses during a heavy snow and ice storm. Typically, this damage could be covered by your policy. However, if the insurer could prove that your roof had been in bad need of maintenance or replacement, they could deny your claim with the argument that the collapse occurred because of homeowner neglect.
Can I Get Additional Coverage?
While all house insurance policies have the same basic shape, you can purchase additional optional coverage if you need to fill in a gap in your policy’s covered events. These extra policies or riders expand your ability to make insurance claims.
If you have specific personal property items that are very high-value—such as certain jewelry pieces or artwork—those items may not be covered under your standard policy. You would need to purchase additional coverage. These additions, of course, will increase your insurance premiums.
How Much House Insurance Do I Need?
The answer to this question will vary depending on the homeowner and the value of their property. The good news is that you won’t typically be the one who needs to answer this question. Your mortgage lender will require that you have a certain amount of coverage for your home, and your insurance broker will know how to build a policy that makes sense for your property.
At a minimum, though, your policy should be able to cover the full replacement cost of your home, in the case of a total loss. Replacement cost is different than the sale price or market value, because it determines what it would cost to rebuild your home.
You should also have enough contents insurance to cover the replacement costs of your personal belongings, including electronics, furniture, sporting equipment, clothing, and more. Again, the big variation in this category is if you have high-value items that require additional coverage.
What House Insurance Deductible Is Best?
Your broker will help you shape your insurance policy, but you will need to decide what you want the deductible to be. You can reduce your monthly premiums by opting for a higher deductible or decrease your deductible by choosing to pay higher premiums.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule for what defines the “best” deductible. The rule of thumb is that you need a deductible that you can afford if something goes wrong. If a fire destroys an entire floor of your house, you can’t be in a position where you aren’t able to afford the deductible.
How Do I Find The Best House Insurance Company?
As you start comparing house insurance options, remember that you aren’t just comparing policies; you’re comparing carriers. Not all insurance companies are the same and finding one that you feel comfortable with should be a priority component of your search. Below, we have listed a few attributes that you should look for as you determine which insurance carrier is best for you.
- High ratings: J.D. Power is known for its ratings of companies in a range of different industries, including insurance. These ratings, which are based on a survey sample of customers, grade different aspects of a carrier, including customer service and range of offerings.
- Positive reviews: Though not nearly as formal or concise as J.D. Power ratings, customer reviews of insurance companies can tell you a lot. Does a carrier have a reputation for being slow with claims processing? You can use reviews to learn what the customer experience is like with an insurance company.
- Above-and-beyond customer service: As you are reading reviews or looking at J.D. Power ratings, pay attention to details about customer service. You want to be able to get in touch with a rep for your insurance carrier easily, whether you’re making a claim or have a question.
Firms with reputations for strong customer service are top options. You can get a sense of how much of a priority customer service is by visiting a carrier’s website and seeing which tools they offer (live chat, customer portals, easy online claims systems, etc.) to make a customer’s life easier.
Fairly-priced premiums: While low premiums aren’t everything—your deductible rate is a huge consideration—you certainly don’t want to overpay for coverage. Comparing coverage options across several different companies can tell you if a carrier is in line with the competition or charging significantly over or under the average.
Focusing on these four attributes will help you to find the best insurance company to provide the coverage that you are seeking. Whatever your lifestyle or whichever home you live in our insurance brokers are here to answer your questions and provide you with a policy that is built for you.
What Home Insurance Do I Need?
If you have bought or are buying a home, you will need home insurance. Mortgage lenders throughout Canada require homeowners to insure their homes. However, just because this requirement is there doesn’t mean home insurance is an open and shut case. On the contrary, there are lots of little subtleties that will affect how much you pay for home insurance and how the coverage works for you. Below, we have attempted to answer a few of the most frequently asked home insurance questions.
How does home insurance work?
Home insurance can work in a few ways, depending on the situation and the type of coverage you have. If your home was damaged or destroyed in a fire, the policy would kick in to help you rebuild or repair the home. It would also pay for the replacement of possessions in the house damaged by the fire, such as furniture, appliances, and electronics.
Home insurance can also provide liability coverage. If a guest in your home slips on the kitchen floor and breaks his arm, he could sue you for liability. Since home insurance policies include personal liability, your policy would help cover legal costs, medical costs, or settlement expenses.
As with other types of insurance, your home insurance coverage comes with a deductible. The deductible represents your out-of-pocket expenses, which can vary from one policy to the next. Policies with higher deductibles generally have lower premiums.
What is the best type of home insurance coverage?
Before you start asking specifically about what things are or are not covered by home insurance in Manitoba. It’s a good idea to understand the different types of insurance coverage that are available. Most insurance providers offer homeowners a variety of different coverage plans from which to choose. The most common of these are comprehensive home insurance and broad home insurance. A comprehensive insurance policy is the most extensive type of coverage you can buy.
Comprehensive Home Insurance
A comprehensive insurance policy is the most extensive type of coverage you can buy. Comprehensive coverage protects you from most types of risks, including fire, lightning strike, theft, vandalism, and vehicular impact. The coverage applies to both the building itself and all (or most) of the contents. In a comprehensive home insurance policy, the insurer must specify the types of risks or perils the insurance does not cover. The policy must cover any perils not explicitly mentioned as uninsurable.
Broad Home Insurance
Broad insurance is considered a basic home insurance product. Typically, a broad policy will provide comprehensive coverage on the dwelling itself, but only named perils coverage on your belongings. With named perils insurance, the coverage only protects your belongings against perils expressly mentioned in the policy. If a peril is not mentioned, you can’t claim it on your insurance. With broad home insurance coverage, you shoulder more of the risk, but you also pay less money annually.
What’s the best home insurance for me?
Which policy is best for you will depend on your financial situation, the location of your home, the value of your home’s contents, and more. Comprehensive insurance is technically the “best” coverage, due to its far-reaching protections.
Which perils are not covered by comprehensive home insurance?
As mentioned above, comprehensive home insurance protects your home and its contents from most perils. Typically, perils that are thought to be “predictable” are not covered. If your home is on a floodplain, then flooding is seen as predictable and isn’t covered. If your pipes freeze, burst, and cause damage to the home, insurance likely won’t cover it because the loss was preventable. You should review any home insurance policy before buying, to see exactly which perils are considered predictable or preventable.
In other situations, you might have the option to buy additional insurance coverage to protect against specific perils. For instance, overland water or flood coverage is not included in the average comprehensive home insurance policy, but you can buy it if you live in an overland water or flood-prone area. You can also buy extra insurance to protect yourself against sewer backup, to cover detached structures (such as sheds), or to insure particularly valuable possessions (such as jewellery, books, tools or instruments).
Which factors can affect home insurance premiums?
Simply choosing between comprehensive, named perils, and broad insurance coverage is not the only way to change how much you are paying in premiums. On the contrary, there is a range of other factors that can impact the cost of your home insurance policy. These include:
- Payout terminology: How are payouts described in your insurance policy? A policy that pays out actual cash value for your home and contents only considers what those things are worth today—not what it would cost to replace them. A policy that pays out full replacement cost, meanwhile, must pay for you to rebuild the property and replace the contents regardless of value depreciation. Naturally, the latter option costs more.
- Location: A home located more than 13km’s away from a fire hall or in a riskier area (a neighbourhood with high crime levels, an overland water or flood zone) always costs more to insure.
- Age of components: How old is your home’s roof, plumbing, or wiring? The older each of these components is, the riskier the home is to insure.
- Swimming pools: Swimming pools are huge liability risks. Homes that have them always have higher insurance premiums.
- Security and protection: Does your home have a modern security system? How about a monitored fire alarm? These inclusions can help reduce your home’s insurance costs.
Some of these items are out of your control. If you’ve bought a house already, you can’t very well move it to a less dangerous location. However, you can replace pipes, plumbing, roofing, security systems, or fire alarms to reduce your property’s risk profile.
What deductible is best?
As mentioned previously, home insurance policies with higher deductibles tend to have lower premiums. As for what deductible is “best,” it depends on what you are comfortable having as an out-of-pocket expense when you have a claim. Taking on a high deductible is a good way to save money without specifically choosing not to cover things. However, if you can afford a policy with a lower deductible, you may thank yourself later if or when something happens.
To Sum It Up
There are a lot of different factors to consider when shopping for home insurance. You need to think about the location of your home, the risks you are undertaking, the value of your possessions and your budget—just to name a few things. Your bank may also require you to have certain types of coverage, in which case the choice ends up being out of your hands. Educating yourself about how home insurance works, what you can do to lower your premiums and other topics discussed above will help you find the coverage that is best for you and your family.