Anybody who buys a new home in Canada also has the option to purchase home insurance to protect their home and precious possessions. Typically, home insurance costs vary depending on the coverage you choose. Home insurance covers the expense of damage to the home and the valuable contents from different occurrences such as burglary, fire or loss.
Home insurance policies are available in a variety of coverage levels such as comprehensive coverage which covers all kinds of insurable damages and losses in your home to basic coverage which only covers the specific items you wish to get protection on. These policies are different with every insurance company, so you should work with a professional to make sure you get the right coverage for you.
Home Insurance Coverage
Almost all home insurance policies cover two major areas, which are liability insurance and property insurance. Liability insurance is a type of insurance that you can get to protect you in the event that someone gets hurt on your property. Property insurance is a type of insurance that covers your home and possessions.
Property insurance comprises of your house along with any exterior housing such as a garage or a shed. The personal belongings of the family are also covered if they are damaged or taken away from the house temporarily. However, valuable items such as jewelry, art and paintings may need additional insurance coverage.
Although there are different coverage levels offered for home insurance policies, they can cover damages to your home and personal items for multiple causes. For example, some causes may include:
Fire, smoke or lightning
Theft or vandalism
Impact by land vehicles or aircraft
Freezing of pipes
How can you protect your home?
Nobody ever expects that a burglary can happen to them. Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take that can help keep you, your family and your possessions safe.
Often burglars look out for homes that are unattended or unoccupied. Make it seem as if you constantly have some activity going on in the home. When you plan to leave for an extended holiday, ask someone to pick up newspapers and mail to avoid burglars from thinking that no one is in the house. You can also ask your neighbour or a friend who has two cars to park one in your driveway so it appears that the house is occupied.
You should also use deadbolt locks on all the outside doors and use high quality locks for sliding glass doors and windows. Often people hide their door keys under the foot mat or elsewhere; you should not do this because you never know who might be watching. Keep the garage doors locked and never leave a garage door opener in plain view, in a car that is parked outside. Reinforce all the glass panels that are close to doors so they cannot be used to enter the house.
Burglars also look for expensive lawnmowers, bicycles, grills and snow blowers; so lock them in after you have used them. Also, cover all the items in the garage with an old curtain or a dropcloth. You can also deter burglars if you install motion detector lighting and trim your shrubs and bushes which usually serve as ideal hiding places.
In the unfortunate circumstance that the burglars enter your house when you or someone else is at home, try to leave the home quietly and safely, if possible, and then inform the police. If you are unable to leave safely, then quietly enter any room with a phone and call the police. If you are sleeping while the burglars enter, pretend to be asleep until the burglars leave the house.
Top tips from the police
The police department gives the following advice to reduce the risk of burglary:
Never leave your home unoccupied when you are leaving for a long period of time. Ask your friend or someone else to visit your house regularly.
Never put expensive valuables near the window and do not leave the packaging of electronic appliances or expensive items outside your home days before the garbage collector comes.
Place a dummy alarm system outside your house if you cannot afford to purchase a real one. You can also install a night lighting system.
As mentioned above, cut out the shrubs and bushes in the front of your house and the backyard to minimize the chances of undetected burglary.
Do not leave gardening items, such as ladders, in view or easily accessible since they can make way for the burglars to enter your house through windows and balconies.
Most insurance policies have certain restrictions on particular items such as jewelry. It means that in case of loss, the maximum amount that the insurer will pay you is limited to the amount mentioned on your insurance contract. The amount paid to you for jewelry loss varies between insurance companies. Typically, the amount on jewelry is limited to $5000 and is applicable on all of your jewelry items as a whole.
There are 3 main types of home insurance coverage, Basic, Broad and Comprehensive. The Basic homeowner’s package covers your house, liability (as explained above) and contents. Broad homeowner’s package gives complete insurance coverage for your home and certain items and is priced at a mid-level range. Comprehensive homeowner’s policy gives complete insurance coverage for your home and items.
However, you must review the insurance policy completely to make sure that all your assets are covered. Although insurance companies all provide these types of coverage, which may even contain additional coverage within them, they provide them at various rates. This is why it is important to shop and compare your rate to ensure you’re saving as much as you can on your home insurance policy.