Get Cheap Home Insurance in Fort McMurray

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How home insurance in Fort McMurray works

Located in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta, Fort McMurray is a relatively small city, with a population of 68,002, according to the 2021 Canadian census. If you live in this area, then you’re, no doubt, familiar with the devastating wildfires that plagued the surrounding forests throughout the past decade – so much so that places near the city were issued an evacuation alert as recently as 2023. Worse yet, wildfires are only expected to get worse in the coming years.

As you may suspect, this doesn’t bode well for Fort McMurray’s home insurance premiums. And yes, they are already on the higher end of the spectrum among Alberta’s cities. That said, they are not the highest in the province. That honour belongs to several other cities – but more on that later.

While home insurance is not legally mandatory in Alberta, the recent wildfires are a good reason to purchase it. After all, home insurance will not only cover the loss or damage to your home, but the costs associated with mandatory wildfire evacuations. Plus, if you’re taking out a mortgage, your lender will likely ask you to get insurance anyway.

So, if you’re in the market for home insurance, here’s what you should know:
 

Types of home insurance in Fort McMurray

There are four types of home insurance policy you can get in Fort McMurray. Though their naming differs from insurer to insurer, they usually boil down to the following:
 

  • Basic: One of the cheapest insurance types available. It protects both your property and its contents, but only from the perils explicitly listed in the policy. If the peril is not listed, then you’re not covered for it. That’s why it’s also known as a ‘named perils’ policy. It offers the least amount of coverage – if you exclude the ‘no-frills’ option, that is.
  • Broad: This option is a little more inclusive, but also more expensive. It protects your property from most major perils, aside from those listed under ‘exclusions.’ When it comes to possessions, broad insurance protects only against the perils listed in the policy, just like the basic coverage.
  • Comprehensive: If you want your property and possessions protected from most major perils, this coverage type will do the job. With this insurance type, if a peril is listed for either your property or possessions, then you’re not covered for it, and vice versa. Be careful though. ‘Comprehensive’ doesn’t mean you’re protected from everything. Protections for perils like overland floods and earthquakes usually have to be purchased separately.
  • No-frills: Got a home that can’t be covered by typical insurance? Then no-frills coverage may come in handy. This option exists for homes that are in such a poor state that they are too risky to insure under normal circumstances. For instance, their electrical system is so out of date that it has a very high chance of causing fire. This type of insurance is best only as a temporary measure – typically for securing a mortgage and/or until you get all of its issues fixed.

What gets covered

Whether you go with basic, broad or comprehensive coverage, it will cover the following, no matter what:
 

  • Property: Your property entails the home itself as well as other buildings or structures on your property, including your shed, barn, detached garage and even your garden. Be sure to check with your insurer as to what is or isn’t covered, just in case.
  • Contents: These are your possessions – mainly the ones located inside your property, such as furniture, electronics and clothing. Your insurance should cover everything, aside from some of the more expensive items, like artwork or jewelry. Assess the value of such items and discuss with your insurer if you need additional coverage.
  • Additional living expenses: Insurance companies will generally pay for your accommodation, travel and groceries should your home become unlivable due to a covered peril. Thes would also cover your expenses if a covered peril causes a mandatory evacuation order. We’ve already mentioned wildfires, but this can also apply to flooding – if you’re covered for it. Chat with your provider to confirm what is and isn’t covered, and for how long, since this coverage lasts only a few weeks.

Liability coverage

Your liability coverage would typically include the following:

 

  • Personal liability: This comes into effect if someone gets accidentally injured on your property. The coverage can be between $100,000 and $5,000,000, depending on how much you pay in premiums.
  • Medical payments: If you injure someone on your property by mistake, this will cover their medical expenses for up to a year from the date of the injury. The coverage may range from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Property damage: If you or a minor in your care under 12 years damages someone else’s property, then this will cover the costs. The coverage is between $500 and $6,000.

Commonly covered perils

Here are some of the most commonly covered perils by home insurers in Fort McMurray:
 

  • Fire: Should your home or possessions catch fire, this will pay for replacing, rebuilding or repairing whatever ends up damaged or lost. Wildfires are becoming a big problem in Canada, with Fort McMurray in particular getting hit more severely than other cities. 2023 was the most recent year wildfires impacted the city, but it wasn’t the first time and likely won’t be the last.
  • Water damage: This one is tricky, as most policies don’t fully cover what some consider to be ‘water damage.’ They often only cover damage to your home or possessions, if caused by water from things like indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning, sprinkler or a similar indoor or outdoor appliance. Damage from sewer back-up or overland flooding is normally not covered. Your insurer may help you understand your coverage a little better, so talk to them.
  • Lightning: If lightning were to strike your home and damage some of your appliances or electronics, this will cover their replacement or repairs. This shouldn’t be confused with fire, since a lightning strike can damage your possessions without causing fire.
  • Theft and vandalism: If your home gets robbed or vandalized, your insurance will pay to rebuild, repair or replace the items or property that have been damaged or stolen. Here’s what you can do to protect your home from theft.
  • Hail and wind: Severe wind or hail can damage both your home and possessions. Your insurance will cover the cost of repairing, rebuilding or replacing anything that gets damaged or lost. It will also cover the damage caused by flying debris or falling trees, if caused by wind or hail.
  • Falling objects: If an object falls from the sky onto your property and damages either the home itself or your possessions, this will pay for the necessary replacement or repairs. Note that objects moved by landslides or snowslides are usually not considered to be ‘falling objects.’ Consult with your insurer to see what counts.

Additional home insurance coverage in Fort McMurray

If you happen to realize that you need additional coverage, you can purchase it in the form of ‘endorsements’ or ‘add-ons.’ Here are some of the most common ones:
 

  • Overland flooding: If your home gets flooded due to overflowing water from a river, stream, lake, thawing snow or another body of water, this add-on will cover you. Fort McMurray is known for suffering floods, so this coverage may be a necessity.
  • Sewer back-up: This type of flooding occurs due to backed up sewage pipes, toilets, drains or showers. They typically get backed up when too much rainwater or melted snow enters the sewer system at once. Sewer back-ups have been known to happen in Fort McMurray, so if you’re worried about them, consider talking to your insurance provider.
  • Earthquake: This will cover your home if damaged by an earthquake. Earthquakes do happen in Fort McMurray, but they are usually not severe. That said, if it’s a concern, consider adding this coverage.
  • Expensive items: If you own pricy things like jewelry, collectibles and/or artwork, then you may need extra coverage for them. Do an inventory of all your possessions, while assigning monetary value to them. After that, talk to your provider to find out if you need extra coverage.
  • Identity theft: If your identity gets stolen, your insurer can cover the costs of restoring the documents compromised because of this. Homeowners who have paid off their mortgage are often the prime target of identity thieves, since they no longer have title insurance. If you’re worried, consider adding this to your coverage.
  • Home-based business: If you’re operating a business from home, then your property may be at risk of damage or injury because of it. Don’t assume that your regular coverage will be good enough in this instance. Instead, ask your insurer about this add-on.

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How much is home insurance on average in Fort McMurray?

According to the RATESDOTCA 2022 Home Insuramap data, the average home insurance premium in Fort McMurray is $2,528 per year, or roughly $211 per month. That’s 8% above Alberta’s annual premium of $2,339. While it’s the most expensive premium in the province, it definitely skews in that direction, unfortunately. For comparison, the average annual premium in Calgary is $2,512 and in Edmonton $1,883. Calgary’s average is certainly closer, but Edmonton’s is roughly 26% lower.

Why is this the case? Well, as we’ve mentioned Fort McMurray can be a victim of numerous calamities. Most recently, there were wildfires. But it’s also no stranger to floods and occasional earthquakes. Severe winter weather is another aspect that consistently impacts homes in the city, which in turn, has an impact on premiums.

Note that the above estimated averages are all based on the profile of a 45-year-old homeowner, who has been insured for at least 10 years and lives in a 2,500 sq ft house with brick veneer, wood frame construction, natural gas heat, a roof that is 10 to 15 years old and has the maximum available coverage for water protection. This means that your own premium will depend heavily on a variety of factors, so take these averages with a grain of salt.

Fort McMurray home insurance rates by postal code

The cheapest home insurance rate in Fort McMurray is $2,482 per year, according to the 2022 RATESDOTCA Home Insuramap. It’s associated with a postal code that starts with T9J. This district is located on the southern end of the city between two rivers: Athabasca and Clearwater. This average is only 2% below the city’s average of $2,528. The more expensive rates are $2,550 and $2,552 – attached to postal codes starting with T9K and T9H, respectively, both of which are in the northern parts of the city.

Given how small the differences between the premiums are and how small the city itself is, it’s unlikely the factors influencing them are significantly different between these districts. Minor incidents such as a slight uptick in crime or one-off perils, such as a sewer back-up, might have created the discrepancy.

Postal codeAverage 2022 premium
T9K$2,550
T9H$2,552
T9J$2,482

Comparing Fort McMurray home insurance against other cities in Alberta 

According to the 2022 RATESDOTCA Home Insuramap, Fort McMurray is one of the more expensive cities in Alberta for home insurance. Its average premium of $2,528 is 10.6% below Olds’ average premium, which was Alberta’s most expensive city for home insurance in 2022. On the flipside of this you have Innisfail, which had a premium of $1,637 in 2022 – the cheapest one in the province and 35.2% below Fort McMurray’s average.

So, while Fort McMurray is not the most expensive city for home insurance, it definitely leans in that direction.

RankCityAverage 2022 premiumDifference from Fort McMurray’s 2022 average
1.Olds$2,796+10.6%
2.Peace River$2,782+10.0%
3.Aden$2,744+8.5%
22.Fort McMurray$2,528--
67.Wainwright$1,770-29.9%
68.Devon$1,769-30.0%
69.Innisfail$1,637-35.2%

Factors that determine your Fort McMurray home insurance premium

Your Fort McMurray home insurance premium will depend heavily on factors unique to you and your property. Here are some of the biggest ones:
 

Home-related factors

  • Rebuilding cost: How much would your home cost to rebuild if it were completely destroyed? Insurers take into account material costs, the square footage of the home, the number of floors and the home’s structure. The higher the cost, the higher the premium.
  • Condition: Contrary to what some may think, older homes tend to be more expensive to insure. That’s because many of them are not in their best condition. They may have brittle pipes, outdated electrical wiring, structural issues and other maintenance problems. The condition of some homes is so poor that certain providers may not even insure them in the first place.
  • Roof age: Roofs that have not been renovated in more than 20 years tend to have issues like poor insulation and leaks, both of which can cause damage to the rest of your home over time. As a result, insurers may cover only 25% of the roof’s replacement cost if something happens to it – on top of charging more expensive premiums. So, make sure your roof is in good shape.
  • Location: Some perils affect certain areas more than others, including crime, severe weather, floods and earthquakes. The more at risk the area is, the more expensive the premiums will be. In the case of Fort McMurray, the biggest risk factor as of late is forest fires, which are bound to increase in frequency in the coming years. The city is also at risk of flooding, occasional earthquakes and severe weather.
  • Security: Smoke and burglar alarms can help lower the risk of sever fires and break-ins, so consider getting the best ones you can find. They may not only lower your premiums, but they save your life and property.
  • Closeness to fire halls and hydrants: The farther your home is from a fire hall or hydrant, the more likely it is to burn down completely, should it catch fire. This issue mainly afflicts homes in rural areas, which are sparsely populated. While Fort McMurray is a small city, it is still a city, meaning that all homes within it close to fire hydrants and fire stations.

Homeowner-related factors

  • Claim history: One of the biggest culprits behind higher premiums is the person’s claim history. The more claims you make – regardless of the problem – the more expensive your premiums will be. Home insurance is meant to cover major events only, such as fires, floods and earthquakes. A leaky pipe that causes minor damage to your home, for instance, may not be significant enough to require insurance. So, weigh your decisions carefully.
  • Credit score: It turns out that people with good credit scores also tend to file fewer insurance claims. So, you may want to agree to a soft credit check (one that doesn’t affect the score) to lower your premiums. There is no downside to this, because in Ontario, insurers can’t use your credit score to increase your premiums.
  • Mortgage: By paying off a good portion of your mortgage, you can secure a premium discount ranging from 10% to 20%. Ask your insurer about it, if you think you qualify.

Top Fort McMurray home insurance companies

CompanyType of CompanyPhoneAddress
AJ Kuerbis & AssociatesInsurance agency780-790-66219716 Hardin St, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 3J9
AMA InsuranceInsurance agency780-743-26534 Hospital St, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 5E4
A-Plus Insurance Svc LtdInsurance agency780-799-4554600 Signal Rd, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 3Z4
BrokerLinkInsurance broker780-790-1578604 Signal Rd #1, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 4Z4
InsuranceHotline.comQuotes comparison1-855-821-7312225 King St W, Suite 1000, Toronto, ON, M5V 3M2
LowestRates.caQuotes comparison1-855-487-6981401-1910 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S 3B2
RATESDOTCAQuotes comparison1-844-726-0907225 King St W, Suite 1000, Toronto, ON, M5V 3M2
Rogers InsuranceInsurance agency780-791-377010016 Franklin Ave, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2K6
Scoop InsuranceInsurance broker1-866-456-6620300 Lincoln St. Unit 22, Welland, ON L3B 4N4
TW Insurance Brokers IncInsurance broker780-791-00359908 Franklin Ave, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 2K5

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Frequently asked questions about home insurance in Fort McMurray

Find answers to all your Fort McMurray home insurance questions here.

How can I find the cheapest home insurance quote in Fort McMurray?

The most reliable way to find the cheapest home insurance in Fort McMurray is by comparing the available rates. The most obvious way of doing so is to compile a list of various insurance companies in your area and contact them one by one to get their quotes.

However, this is likely to be incredibly time-consuming. The easiest method, by far, is to use a comparison tool like InsuranceHotline.com, which can find the cheapest home insurance quotes near you in seconds.

There are several other things you can do to make your insurance cheap:

  • Bundle your insurance policies: Get your home insurance from the same provider that covers your car, boat and other vehicles. Bundling multiple policies can get you a discount of 10%-15%.
  • Agree to a credit score check: If your credit score is in a good place, you can get a premium discount. This won’t impact the score itself, and since Ontario prohibits premium increases based on credit scores, this won’t increase your premiums either (only decrease them, if the score is good enough).
  • Coverage: Tailor your insurance policy to meet your exact requirements by eliminating the coverage you don’t need. But be careful not to remove anything that may cost you down the line.
  • Remove or reduce certain risks factors: Install burglar and fire alarms to prevent theft and fire, keep your roof in good shape and make sure your plumbing and electrical wiring are all up to date and in good order. This will make your home safer and cheaper to insure.

What kind of risks do Fort McMurray homeowners face?

Fort McMurray is not as risk-free as some of the other places in Canada, or even Alberta. Some of the risks that homeowners face in Fort McMurray include:

  • Floods: Due to heavy rains and snowfalls, Fort McMurray has seen more than a few floods over the last decade. In the case of snow, floods usually occur in spring, when too much snow melts all at once. Heavy rain can also lead to floods. In 2020, a spring flood cost the city $522 million in damage.
  • Snowfalls: Fort McMurray has seen snowfalls of more than 60 cm. Snowfalls are known to cause roof damage, particularly when snow accumulates over time. It can lead to water seepage as well as ice dams – ice build-up in the eaves, caused by melting snow.
  • Freezing temperatures: Winter temperatures in Fort McMurray can sometimes be as low as -40°C or even -50°C. Fort McMurray’s average winter temperature is -17°C. This increases the potential for burst and frozen pipes.
  • Wildfires: Located amidst a boreal forest, Fort McMurray endured one of the most extreme wildfire events ever in 2016. In 2023, it was also at a high risk of wildfires, just like the rest of the province. Wildfires can damage homes and lead to evacuations, both of which can impact premiums (not to mention the homeowner’s safety).
  • Earthquakes: Fort McMurray was impacted by an earthquake as recently as 2022 due to the pressure from oil sands wastewater being injected underground. That said, according to Canada’s seismic map, the risk of earthquakes is relatively low in the northeast of Alberta, where Fort McMurray is located.

Do I need to update my Fort McMurray home insurance provider if I am running a short-term rental on Airbnb or Vrbo?

Yes. Whether you’re looking to get into a short-term rental business, or are already operating one, be sure to contact your insurance provider. By offering rooms to someone else for rent, you’re changing the risk, which will change how it is underwritten. As a result, you may not be covered for certain things.

How can I file a home insurance claim in Fort McMurray?

If your home and possessions are damaged or stolen due to an unforeseen event, report the incident to your insurance provider immediately, and they’ll guide you the rest of the way (unless filing a claim is avoidable).

In addition, you should have an inventory of all the damaged or lost items that details what happened to them. In case of theft, simply list the stolen items. Videos and photos of the damage can help you convey the extent of it more accurately. It’s also worth noting that you shouldn’t get rid of any damaged items before notifying the insurer.

Once all of this is done, your assigned claims advisor should contact you shortly.