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10 questions about home insurance

  1. Determine your needs
  2. Find answers to your questions
  3. Take action

From a legal standpoint, home insurance is not mandatory like car insurance, but it's strongly recommended. Some lenders and residential building owners may require it, but do not legally have a right to hold you to it.

The real reason for taking out home insurance is, above all, to protect what's important to you. Whether you're an owner or a renter, it's always preferable to take out home insurance.

Choosing the right insurance is obviously important. That's why, after you've determined your needs, we'll show you the 10 most frequently asked questions on the subject.

First of all, take a good look at your housing situation.

  • You own a gorgeous home in a trendy neighbourhood
    The risk of theft and vandalism may be higher than usual. You'll need insurance in proportion to what you own
  • You've just purchased a new but modest house
    Comprehensive insurance would be appropriate, at least while you're repaying your mortgage.
  • You've just bought a condo that needs repairs
    Depending on its condition and resale value, you might opt for minimal insurance, at least for now.
  • You've just left your parents' home to try and make it on your own
    In this case, basic insurance could be just the thing, to protect your belongings and any damage caused to others.

Then, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want the standard coverage or not?
  • Should I add optional coverage to my insurance?
  • Do I intend to request more than one quote?

Now that you have a full understanding your situation, go to step 2 for answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Overall, most insurance policies look alike and contain the same types of coverages. You can also purchase optional additional coverage.

Following are the 10 main questions most frequently asked by consumers.

  1. Can my roommate and I be covered under the same property insurance policy?

    Yes, up to 2 roommates can be covered under the same home insurance policy. However, if you and your spouse move in together, and you decide to share the apartment with another couple, each couple will need a separate home insurance policy.

  2. How much personal property insurance do I need?

    You should purchase enough coverage to protect all of your belongings, including your:

    • clothes
    • furniture
    • electronic equipment
    • computers

    Don't forget anything!

    People often underestimate the value of their belongings. Make sure you have sufficient coverage for everything you own.

    Take an inventory. This is the best way to determine the total value of your belongings.

    Figure out how much it would cost to replace everything.

    Then you can decide how much home insurance you need.

  3. How can I lower my premium?

    Here are a few tips to lower your home insurance premium:

    • Install a centrally-monitored alarm system.
    • Take preventive measures to lower the number of claims you make.
    • Insure your car and home with the same insurer.
    • Make sure no one in your household smokes.
  4. What is a sewer backup?

    Sewers can back up following heavy precipitation, melting snow, a sudden thaw, a rise in the water table, or other unexpected weather conditions.

    Fortunately, you can minimize the risk to your house or apartment by following these loss prevention tips:

    • Install a backwater valve: A backwater valve that complies with your municipality's standards and bylaws will prevent sewage from backing up into your basement. The valve closes automatically if the sewer backs up.
    • Maintain your backwater valve: Proper care of your plumbing system will significantly reduce the risk of sewer backup.

    And of course, in the event of a loss, one of our claims advisors can help you deal with the emergency and start the claims process.

  5. Why do insurance companies check my credit score?

    Insurance companies check your credit score only to offer you the best premium possible.

    It has been shown that credit scores are effective in predicting future insurance claims. That's why insurers use this, along with other information about your property or automobile, to determine the best insurance premium for you.

    When you take out an insurance policy, your insurer uses your credit score to determine your payment terms. Afterwards, when it's time to renew or change your insurance policy, the information collected is updated so your insurer can continue to offer you a customized price.

    Credit agencies distinguish between consulting for insurance purposes and consulting for a loan. This means that when they verify your credit score, it isn't affected.

    What happens if I don't want my credit score to be checked?

    Insurance companies will respect your decision and offer you an insurance premium, although you might not receive the best premium.

  6. What are the safety standards for wood heating?

    For information about safety standards for wood-burning appliances, please view the Guide to Residential Wood Heating produced by Natural Resources Canada.

  7. Who's responsible for water damage in my apartment?

    You're legally responsible for the damage if, for example:

    • your washing machine overflows
    • you forget to turn off a tap and water overflows into the unit below

    That's why tenant insurance is a must for all tenants. It provides civil liability insurance for damages that you cause to someone or something in your building, or to the building itself.

    Without tenant insurance, you'll have to pay for the damages in full.

  8. Why should I regularly update my insurance policy?

    You should tailor your home insurance policy to any change in your life.

    Updating it regularly allows you to:

    • receive coverage that suits your actual needs
    • benefit from the fairest and most equitable premium
    • avoid unpleasant surprises in the event of a claim

    Also take the opportunity to update your home inventory. In the event of a claim, you'll have all the information you need about your current possessions.

  9. What is the best way to prevent a fire?

    One of the best ways to prevent a fire is to make sure that your smoke detectors are working properly. In fact, in 75% of fatal fires, smoke detectors were either not installed or not working properly.

  10. I just moved into my first apartment. Should I get my own home insurance?

    If you're away at school temporarily and staying in residence, your parents' home insurance policy will cover you. If, however, you move out permanently, you'll need to buy your own tenant insurance.

    Now that you better understand home insurance, you can move on to step 3 and take action.

First of all:

Talk to an insurance advisor

He or she will be able to explain in even greater detail the insurance you're looking for and recommend specific products. This will make it easier for you to come to a decision.

Then:

Make sure you always maintain adequate coverage

Call an agent to discuss any changes that could affect your insurance premium, such as when you:

  • have an alarm system installed
  • are making major renovations that will substantially increase the value of your home
  • have completely quit smoking
  • have acquired furniture or other highly valuable items

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