You’re just one quick and easy search away from seeing multiple home insurance quotes — it’s never been easier to find the right policy.
What’s home insurance?
If your home is your castle, then home insurance is your knight, preserving against misfortune and plunder — or at least fire, theft and other property hazards.
As the saying goes, good things come in threes, and you can choose between buildings insurance, contents insurance, or a combined buildings and contents policy.
The difference? Buildings insurance covers the bricks and mortar, while contents is everything that would fall out if you took the roof off, turned your gaff upside down and gave it a shake.
- Climb up to the Home insurance loft for guides, tips and help
- Work out what locks you have
Should I take out building insurance?
We don’t want to scare you, but your home could be damaged by:
- Vandalism and criminal damage
- Weather damage
But luckily, your building insurance should cover these ‘perils’.
Do you own a bungalow? A terrace? A semi a farmhouse or a palace?
Then it’s likely you’ll need buildings insurance to protect it from all these dangers.
If you’re a tenant, you’ll probably only need contents cover.
Do I need contents insurance?
Contents insurance will protect all your prized possessions from theft or damage when they’re in your home.
You could also choose a policy that has ‘personal possessions cover’, either as standard or bolted on as an optional extra, to safeguard your stuff when you take it with you out and about.
Home insurance you can trust
You don’t need to take our word for it.
When you search with GoCompare you’ll have access to advisory Defaqto star ratings to help you pick a policy that’s hot to trot with all the features you need.
You’ll know all about the level of cover, features and benefits each policy offers before signing up.
Ready to get a home insurance quote?
To get a home insurance quote, you need to make sure you have a few bits of information about your abode to hand first.
We’ll help you every step of the way, but be ready to answer questions about the people living there, the ownership status, claims history, whether any occupants smoke, and if the property is left unoccupied, plus basic personal details, and more technical details about your home:
- Approximate age of the property
- Wall and roof construction
- If it’s a listed building
- Distance from water
- Business use
- If it’s up for sale
- State of repair and ongoing building work
- Central heating
- If it’s self-contained or has extensions, garages or outbuilding
- History of subsidence, landslip, heave or tree damage
You’ll also be asked about the types of locks that are used on external entry points.
If you’re unsure, we’ve got a guide and video that’ll help you easily identify your locks.
For contents cover, you’ll need to estimate the value of your possessions and for buildings cover you’ll have to state your home’s market value and rebuild cost.
Luckily, we’ve got helpful guides and tools on all this and more stashed in our Home insurance loft — an area dedicated to home and contents information.
Need to know more about home insurance?
- In 2017, 56% of householders said they had last switched more than a year ago, potentially missing out on cheaper premiums
- In 2017, 28% of householders say they’ve never switched home insurance
If you’re still in the dark about how to protect your home’s unusual features or safeguard against the elements, GoCompare has a catalogue of home insurance guides and videos to illuminate your way.
And, if you need to get informed about expensive issues such as flooding, security, fire, damaged pipes, subsidence risk and weather damage, our guides can answer a lot of questions and point you in the right direction.
We discuss the bells and whistles of add-on cover, such as accidental damage cover, home emergency protection, legal expenses or cover for possessions outside the home, so you can decide if you need it, or not.
Read more about bicycle insurance, jewellery cover, freezers, DIY, matching sets, and digital downloads, flat insurance, garden insurance, flat roofs, thatched roofs and mobile phone and gadget cover, and you can try our top tips for saving even more money on home insurance quotes.
Compare cheap home insurance quotes with uSwitch
Comparing home insurance — what you will need ready
Before you start to compare home insurance quotes, you’ll need to be able to tell us:
- The approximate rebuild value of the property you want to insure – don’t worry if you don’t know exactly, just tell us the rough amount
- Details of the types of locks on the doors and windows of the property
- Roughly how old the property is
- The rough value of the contents of the property and any items worth over £500
- Details of your current home insurance deal, your no claims bonus, and any claims you’ve made
Find cheap home and contents insurance deals
Our home insurance comparison service is free and simple – and could save you money when you compare and switch
You can get a home insurance quote and guidance to help you find cheap building insurance through our home insurance comparison tool.
Check the latest home insurance rates and use uSwitch to get low cost home insurance quote today.
Ways to reduce home and contents insurance costs
There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your home contents insurance – here are our top five:
- Try not to make a claim on your home insurance unless you’re really left with no alternative – the fewer claims you make, the lower your premium should be
- Make your home more secure by fitting good quality locks to all accessible doors and windows, and consider fitting a burglar alarm
- Fit and regularly test a smoke alarm
- Increase the excess – the higher the voluntary excess, the lower your home insurance premium should be
- Insurers tend to offer cheaper home insurance premiums if your house is occupied – if you go on holiday for more than 28 days at a time and leave the property unoccupied, they could charge you extra
For more ideas on how to reduce your home insurance costs, read our home insurance guides .
Homeowner’s insurance is a form of property insurance that covers losses and damages to an individual’s house and to assets in the home. Homeowner’s insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Homeowner’s Insurance’
When a mortgage is requested on a home, the homeowner is required to provide proof of insurance on the property, before the lending bank can issue him or her a mortgage. The property insurance can be acquired separately or by the lending bank. Homeowners who prefer to get their own insurance policy can compare multiple offers and pick the plan that works best for their needs. If the homeowner does not have his property covered from loss or damages, the bank may obtain one for him or her, at an extra cost. Payments made towards a homeowner’s insurance policy are usually included in the monthly payments of the homeowner’s mortgage. The lending bank that receives the payment, allocates the portion for insurance coverage to an escrow account. Once the insurance bill comes due, the amount owed is settled from this escrow account.
A homeowner’s insurance policy usually covers four incidents on the insured property – interior damage, exterior damage, loss or damage of personal assets/belongings, and injury that arises while on the property. When a claim is made on any of these incidents, the homeowner will be required to pay a deductible, which in effect, is the out-of-pocket costs for the insured. For example, a claim is made to an insurer on an interior water damage that occurred in a home. The cost to bring the property back to livable conditions is estimated by a claims adjuster to be $10,000. If the claim is approved, the homeowner is informed of the amount of his or her deductible, say $4,000, according to the policy agreement entered into. The insurance company will issue a payment of the excess cost, in this case $6,000. The higher the deductible on an insurance contract, the lower the monthly or annual premium on a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Every homeowner’s insurance policy has a liability limit, which determines the amount of coverage that the insured has should an unfortunate incident occur. The standard limits are usually set at $100,000, but the policyholder can opt for a higher limit. In the event that a claim is made, the liability limit stipulates the percentage of the coverage amount that would go towards replacing or repairing damage to the property structures, personal belongings, and costs to live somewhere else while the property is worked on.
Acts of war or acts of God such as earthquakes or floods are typically excluded from standard homeowner’s insurance policies. A homeowner who lives in an area prone to these natural disasters may need to get special coverage to insure his or her property from floods or earthquakes. However, most basic homeowner’s insurance policies cover events like hurricanes and tornadoes.
Homeowner’s insurance policy is different from a home warranty. A home warranty is a contract taken out that provides for repairs or replacements of home systems and appliances such as ovens, water heaters, washers/dryers, and pools. These contracts usually expire after a certain time period, usually 12 months, and are not mandatory to have in order to be issued a mortgage. While a homeowner’s insurance does not cover damages that result from poor maintenance or inevitable wear and tear, home warranty covers such issues.
A homeowner’s insurance policy also differs from a mortgage insurance, which is typically taken on home buyers making a down payment of less than 20% of the cost of the property. Mortgage insurance covers the lender for issuing a loan to a home buyer who otherwise, might not be able to get the loan required. Basically, a homeowner’s insurance protects the home owner and a mortgage insurance protects the lender.
Home insurance costs have continued to rise – up 5% last year according to the AA. Stay ahead of the game and play the key tricks – for starters, never simply auto-renew.
This is a full step-by-step guide to slashing the cost of home cover, for contents insurance and buildings insurance. It takes you through how to ensure you’ve got the right home insurance cover, what to get and how to get the best possible deal.
What is home insurance?
There are three main house insurance (or flat insurance) policies: buildings insurance, contents insurance and combined building and contents cover. Buildings insurance cover protects the structure, the fixtures and fittings in your home; while contents insurance covers your belongings.
Combined buildings and contents cover is only suitable for people who own their homes. If you rent, buildings cover should be handled by your landlord. Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility and should be considered by everyone. See our Tenants’ Contents Insurance guide for more.
Home insurance need-to-knows
You may have mastered the basics of house insurance. But are you confident you can get the right cover at the right price?
Homeowners need buildings insurance cover, but contents insurance is for everyone
The type of cover you need to buy depends on whether you rent or you own your home. Homeowners and landlords usually need both buildings (in fact, it’s often a condition of your mortgage agreement) and contents insurance. Those who rent typically only need tenants contents cover but the way to buy depends on your circumstances.
If you need both building and contents insurance, buying combined insurance can be cheaper, but it’s not without its pitfalls. For instance, some insurers – Co-op, Hastings and Tesco, to name a few – will have a separate excess for both parts of your policy.
This means a claim affecting both the structure of your home and its contents, such as a flood, will result in a double deduction. But if you decide to buy two separate policies and you need to claim, there may be arguments between your two providers over who should cover what. It is rare but it is possible.
Don’t over-cover buildings – rebuild value is what counts
For the buildings element of house insurance, a common mistake is to cover the home’s market value (the amount it might sell for), instead of the rebuild value – the cost of rebuilding the property if it was knocked down. The key is the cost of materials, labour and architects for your area. However, buildings policies should also cover the cost of somewhere for you to stay while your home’s rebuilt or is uninhabitable.
To find a rebuild value, commissioning a survey is most reliable, but it’s expensive unless you’re getting one anyway (eg, if you’re buying a new home). A less accurate, but quicker option is the Association of British Insurers’ calculator.
Don’t under-cover contents – your claim may be cut
For contents insurance, under-insuring could lead to you getting less than the value of your items if you need when you claim. Add up everything, including smaller items such as clothes, on a ‘new-for-old’ basis. (See new for old for more.)
For example, if you insure £20,000 of possessions when you actually have £40,000, and you need to make a claim, then you’ll only have 50% of your contents protected.
How do I calculate the value of my contents?
What happens if I fail to get the correct cover?
Better locks pay for themselves
Don’t know your five-lever mortise deadlock from your rim automatic deadlatch? Well you should, as getting the right lock on your doors could massively lower your contents premium. Insurers ask what type of lock you have, so you risk invalidating your cover if you put down the wrong type.
What are the main types of lock?
Which lock is best?
How do locks affect my rates?
Help! I don’t know which type of lock I have
Tweak your excess to lower your premium
House insurance policies come with a compulsory excess (the amount you have to pay towards any claim – see excesses for more). If you have an excess of £100, but make a claim for damaged or stolen goods worth £400, your insurer will give you £300.
You can also choose to pay a voluntary excess on top, which will bring the cost of your premium down. The more you pay, the lower your premium will be. You need to be realistic, though. Make sure the total excess is affordable, in case you do have to make a claim.
Beware monthly repayments, they’re really a loan
Pay-monthly options are essentially high-interest loans. Either pay your premium in full, or if you can’t afford to, use a credit card with a low APR (or better, a 0% credit card for spending, ensuring your repayments are large enough to clear it within a year).
Not all insurers charge the same fees. Here’s what some of the big guns charge:
THE APRS OF THE BIG INSURERS INSURER APR IF YOU PAY MONTHLY INSURER APR IF YOU PAY MONTHLY CHEAPEST: First Direct 0% Privilege 21.8% CHEAPEST: M&S 0% Sainsbury’s 23.2% Aviva 15.1% LV 24.9% Co-op 15.4% RAC 29.9% Asda 16.2% Hastings Direct 29.9% Churchill 19.7% AXA 35.8% John Lewis 21.1% MOST EXPENSIVE: Endsleigh 39.9% Correct at February 2018
Never auto-renew. Loyalty is expensive
Insurers usually offer the best deals to new customers, punishing existing customers with higher rates for failing to challenge them. If your renewal’s coming up, jot it in your diary.
Insurers charge more each year, knowing inertia stops policyholders switching. And even though new rules mean insurers must now tell you the premium you paid last year in correspondence to you, don’t rely on this to take action.
Compare comparison sites and then call your insurer to see if it can match, or even beat, the best quote you find. If they can match or beat it, you’re quids in.
Moved and renting out your old home? You’ll need a new policy
There are growing numbers of accidental landlords – those who marry and move into a partner’s home and rent out their old one, for example, or who inherit a property and decide to let it out rather than sell.
Fail to let your insurer know (and, just as important, your lender!) and any claim on the cover would be invalid since your existing home insurance policy won’t be deemed valid because you’ve now got tenants in.
For convenience, you can ring your existing insurer who – in most cases – will simply ‘upgrade’ your ordinary home insurance policy into a basic landlord policy. It takes just one phone call and there’ll usually be a higher premium to pay to reflect this greater risk.
But do this and you’ll usually find your new policy won’t include key landlord-specific extras such as loss-of-rent guarantee or public liability. Instead, you’ll likely be better off looking for a specialist landlord policy from elsewhere that includes all the add-ons as well as basic contents and buildings cover. Ensure you get the cheapest deal by doing a landlord insurance comparison.
Is your child a student? Your policy might cover them too
If you have a child studying, and living away from home, they may automatically be covered against theft or loss as part of your home insurance policy, under its ‘temporarily removed from the home’ section.
Many policies have this cover (but do check yours), as long as your home is your child’s main permanent address (ie, they’ll return to your home when not a student). However, it only applies while the contents are in their accommodation (or indeed at your home).
If you want cover for mobiles or laptops, or other items your child normally wears or carries away from your home, or their accommodation, you can add an ‘all-risks’ or ‘unspecified personal possessions’ section to your policy. This covers your child’s belongings while they’re out and about. But it typically comes at an added cost.
Alternatively, if you prefer your child to have their own policy, see our Contents Insurance for Tenants guide.
Contrary to popular belief, home insurance is not a requirement for homeowners in Canada who have purchased their dwelling without financial assistance and who do not have a mortgage on their property. However, it would be a foolhardy decision to leave your home and its contents uninsured when it faces risk of loss or damage from so many common occurrences. It is a large investment and needs to be protected, but what is the best way to ensure you’re receiving the broad coverages you need at a consistently low rate? Try contacting a trusted risk advisor like Marsh Canada. From 2007 to 2017, a combined 45% of individuals asking us for a home insurance quote or car insurance quote followed through and bought their insurance through us. This is a statistic that we’re certainly proud of in an extremely competitive insurance environment and gives you an idea just how many people ask us for home insurance quotes and that we’re able to help protect every year.
Home Insurance Discounts
Insurers all offer home insurance discounts for specific coverage characteristics that they feel will lessen risk. These home insurance discounts are not offered universally by all insurers, nor are identical discount rates provided from insurer-to-insurer. In this case, you are best served by working with an experienced broker who can find you the best rate available that includes all of the premium discounts that you are eligible for, and generates low home insurance quotes. Home insurance discounts available from insurers include, but are not limited to:
- Alarm Discount – Alarm systems increase the possibility of would-be thieves breaking into your home. Insurance discounts are common for adding an alarm.
- Claims Free Discount – Fewer or no claims show your insurer that you are a better risk. Insurers will often reward no claims over a set period of time with an appropriate discount and lower home insurance quotes.
- Group Program Discount – Employees of certain companies and members of some associations are eligible for preferred group rates for auto and house insurance. Call your PCS broker to see if your organization currently participates. Have an organization with more than 250 full-time employees or members? Ask about a group program for your company.
- Stability of Residence Discount – This discount applies if you live at your current dwelling for a set number of years.
- Mature Citizen Discount – To qualify for this discount, you need to reach a certain age. It varies by insurer, so make sure your broker checks which insurer recognizes you as eligible for this discount.
- Mortgage Free Discount – Being debt-free should be reward enough in itself, however some insurers provide insurance discounts for this as well. Remember that debt-free dwellings do not require insurance by law in Canada, but choosing not to purchase home insurance in this instance is never recommended.
- Newer Home Discount – Newer construction statistically results in fewer insurance claims, so insurers will often offer discounts on insuring newer homes and lower home insurance quotes.
- Occupational Discount – This discount may apply depending on your insurer and your chosen profession or career. Remember to choose the most favourable classification for your occupation as it can mean lower home insurance quotes.
- Multi-Policy Discount – This is generally one of the best discounts offered. Insure your home and auto with the same insurer and substantial discounts will be available on each policy. Some insurers will even offer this type of discount in good faith if your expiry dates for home and auto insurance don’t match and you agree to move coverage later in the year.
- Sprinkler Discount For Apartments and Condominiums – Since the installation of sprinklers are proven to lessen the risk and severity of fire damage, insurers will often offer discounts for buildings where they are installed.
- Preferred Postal Code Discount – Insurers rate the risk of house insurance claims by location, with some insurers further breaking down these statistics by postal code. If you happen to live in a certain postal code area, you may be eligible for this type of discount and a lower home insurance quote.
House Insurance Coverage
- Property – This is the primary insurance for your home and usually insures the proper for common perils such as fire, theft, and some weather-related damage. With property insurance, you will usually have a choice of policies insuring for all perils or specified perils. All perils coverage will typically offer broader coverage and only not cover risks specifically listed as excluded on your policy.
- Contents – The clearest explanation of what qualifies as contents is if you could turn the home upside down and shake it, whatever falls is contents, whatever doesn’t is part of the structure and is not covered. In general, there are some items which are excluded, so please read your policy carefully.
- Third-Party Liability – Most people know that third-party liability insurance covers liability for common occurrences such as slips and falls on their property or even if a tree in your yard falls and damages a neighbour’s property. However, it also protects you in cases not relating your property at all. For example, if on vacation anywhere in the world, you are found responsible for injury to persons or damage to another’s property, your third-party liability insurance would likely respond.
- Accident Waiver – This coverage option is branded under different names, but essentially it protects your insurance rates from increase due to a claim in exchange for a set premium amount.
- Guaranteed Replacement Cost – This type of insurance covers the replacement cost of a home even if it exceeds the policy limit of your house insurance policy.
- Single Limit Coverage – In the instance that claims amounts exceed the coverage amount for a particular part of an insurance policy, single limit coverage would combine the limits of multiple sections of a policy and in so doing create a higher overall limit.
- Water Escape/Sewer Back-Up Coverage – Water damage is one of the most common types of claims that insurers have to cover. With the increase in frequency of water-related damage claims, many insurers are now only offering this type of coverage for a separate premium, with some insurers even refusing to offer insurance for the risk.
- Identity Theft Coverage – This is being seen as an increasingly important coverage in light of how the internet now is an everyday part of people’s lives. Identity theft coverage is meant to reimburse you for the main costs of restoring your identity in the case of theft. Read more about identity theft risk here.
- Additional Living Expenses – If a home becomes uninhabitable because of an insured loss (such as fire, water damage, or vandalism) the policy will pay the increased expense incurred by the occupant to obtain housing. If the occupant has to move to a hotel for a few days, that additional expense would be covered. This would also include increased food costs for restaurant meals, if required.
- Fine Arts Coverage – Do you have art of high value? Adequately protection your fine art may require additional coverage and a higher home insurance quote, specifically if your home insurance policy has set limits on the amount of coverage for fine art.
- Jewellery Coverage – Similar to fine arts coverage, jewellery coverage is meant to insure jewellery items that exceed the amount of coverage designated in your house insurance policy.
- Home Business Coverage – The insurance requirements of home business are somewhat different from those of a personal home. For example, home businesses may require additional coverage for office equipment or inventory of goods you hold for sale.
- Earthquake Coverage – Most people don’t realize that Canada actually has earthquake prone areas. If you live in an area at risk of earthquake activity, it only makes sense to purchase protection for your home. Read more about earthquake risk here.
Maximizing Home Insurance Discounts
- Check Insurance Rates Often – Before each renewal, shop your home insurance rates around. Services such as the expiry date register from Marsh’s Private Client Services (PCS) at www.marsh.ca/quote allow you to set a call reminder and never miss an opportunity to save. Even if you decide not to buy with PCS, requoting is easy with your relevant information already saved.
- Combine Your Insurance For Multi-Policy Discounts – A large potential discount is offered by most insurers for having your home and auto coverage with the same company. Always look at your combined costs, as individual companies may be lower on either home or auto insurance, but it’s the total amount you pay that matters.
- Enquire About Eligibility For Group/Preferred Insurance Rates – Insurance companies often offer group discounted rates to members of associations and employees of employer groups. These discounts will vary, but it is often worthwhile to explore as group rates are generally lower than retail rates.
- Consider Higher Deductibles – No one wants to pay higher deductibles in the case of an accident, but they do help lower your insurance premiums.
- Avoid Frequent Claims – These are generally flagged by insurers, with some underwriters refusing to renew policies with too many claims against your house insurance. Try to pay for smaller claims out-of-pocket or ignore purely cosmetic damage.
- Make Sure Your Records Are Accurate – Insurers base their insurance quotes on a number of factors including your claims history and credit record (if permitted where you are). More often than we care to speculate, mistakes are made which can affect the quote being provided to you, so it is always in your best interest to check what your records for accuracy. Equifax and TransUnion are credit agencies that you can check your credit scores with.
Desirable Home Insurance Features
- Rewards Programs – Remember to register for any rewards plans when eligible. Since you have to pay your insurance premiums anyways, receiving Air Miles or other loyalty program incentives is a plus.
- No Fee Payment Plan – Some insurers will offer the option of paying for your insurance premiums monthly or at some other interval without additional cost. Take advantage of this feature if it helps you with budgeting. Pre-approved payments will also help avoid late fees and negative credit ratings if a payment is forgotten.
- Flexibility in Payment Options – Some insurers allow you to pay by credit card, debit, money orders, or cheques.
- Claims Service Guarantee – Insurers like to claim that their claims services are superior to those of their competitors. Some insurers go as far as offering a claims service guarantee to their customers. A quick response to requests for claims help is always one of the most desirable auto insurance features.
- Single Deductible For Losses – This feature is useful when a loss affects both your home and auto policy. If for example your garage collapsed on your car, you would only be obligated to pay one deductible for both the home and auto repairs.
- Special Limits for Dependents Away From Home – Some insurers allow for contents coverage for dependents living away from home. This protection is especially helpful for children attending school abroad.
- Deductible Waiver – This is usually an option on house insurance losses over a certain amount and will vary by insurer.
- Disappearing Deductible – This is a popular home insurance option meant to reward a good claims history and maintain the loyalty of long-time customers. Over time, certain insurers will gradually reduce insurance deductibles until they eventually disappear.
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Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from the things that can damage your home, belongings, or hurt you financially. It covers wind/hail damage, fires, lightning, theft, and more. Plus it covers injuries that occur on your property and lawsuits against you, such as someone suing you because they were hurt at your home.
When you get your free homeowners insurance quote, many of your coverages will be automatically included. Plus, you can add even more. We have expert agents standing by to guide you through your choices.
When you should consider homeowners insurance
Homeowners insurance is for you if you own a home, vacation home, or are purchasing a home. If you own a condo, town house, or row home you need condo insurance—or renters insurance if you rent from someone else. Not sure? Get a homeowners insurance quote, and we’ll make sure you get the right policy.
If you have a mortgage, your lender will likely require you to get insurance for your home. We’ll help take care of the details with your lender. Plus, in most situations, you’ll be able to combine your insurance payments with your mortgage bill (called escrow).
Protect your most valuable asset with the right policy. Serving Miles City and all of Montana.
If your home were damaged or destroyed, you would want your claim settled by an insurance agency that understands this simple fact.
W.A. Mitchell Agency can help you find the home insurance that will best meet your needs and provide the most valuable combination of tailored coverage, quality service, and fair pricing.
Whether you own a house, apartment, or condominium — the right home insurance policy can provide you peace of mind as well as the money you need to repair or replace your home and/or belongings. Contact us for more information today!
What Is Home Insurance?
Insuring the place you call home can help protect you financially if you suffer a loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other covered events. It will also cover you in the event someone is injured while on your property and wins a legal judgment against you.
Homeowners policies differ by which losses are covered, which coverages you choose, and what type of residence you own. You choose which policy is best for you, whether it’s a comprehensive policy that cover losses such as fire, hail, smoke, falling objects, vandalism and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers only specified losses.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
Your home insurance policy is most often made up of the specific options you choose, so how much you’ll pay for your policy depends on:
- What you select. Oftentimes homeowners insurance options are priced individually, so how much you’ll pay for your policy depends on what coverages you buy.
- How much you want to cover. Higher deductibles usually lower your premium price by shifting part of the loss payment to you. For example, if you had a $500 deductible, you would be responsible for paying the first $500 of the covered loss.
- Where you set your limits. You may choose to set higher limits than the recommended amount if appropriate to your situation and needs.
Worried you aren’t completely covered? Consider an umbrella insurance policy that extends your coverage.
Common Coverage Options
Protection for Your Home
Property or Dwelling Coverage typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event like a kitchen fire or windstorm.
Protection for You and Other People
Personal Liability Coverage applies if someone is injured or their property is damaged and you are to blame. The coverage generally applies anywhere in the world.
When choosing your liability coverage limits, consider things like how much money you make and the assets you own. Your personal liability coverage should be high enough to protect your assets if you are sued.
This covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover health care costs for you or other members of your household.
Additional Living Expenses
If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, your home insurance policy will pay additional living expenses-commonly for up to 24 months-while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.
Protection for Your Belongings
Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, electronics and other items that mean a lot to you. Personal Property Insurance helps replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss.
Scheduled Personal Property Coverage
If you have special possessions such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles you may want to talk to your agent about this additional coverage. It provides broader coverage for specific items.
If You Rent Out Your Home
Landlords may have the option to buy optional liability coverage for the risks posed by tenant-occupied dwellings. Visit our Landlord Protection Insurance page for more information.
PROTECT THE THINGS THAT MATTER TO YOU
Make an inventory of your home and personal belongings. If possible, make a list as well as take photos or video — using two inventory methods can help expedite the claim resolution process. Keep this list somewhere other than your home. Keep in mind that your policy doesn’t cover damages caused by poor or deferred maintenance on your part.
Every home is unique – talk to us today to find out how to get the best price and value on homeowners insurance for you.
Homeowners insurance is a contract designed to protect you as a homeowner against sudden and accidental losses. The home insurance policy is a contract between the homeowner, also known as the insured, and the insurance company.
The contract creates an agreement that, in exchange for the premium paid by the home owner, the insurance company will compensate the homeowner for unexpected, sudden, and/or accidental damage or disasters that occur to the home, and/or the contents of the home, as agreed upon in the policy wording.
Homeowners insurance protects a homeowner’s assets and ensures that a covered loss, risk or disaster will not leave them in financial distress. Whether you are looking to buy insurance as a first time homeowner, referencing information to make sure you are getting the best value for your money, or looking for help to understand your policy, here are some basics about homeowners insurance.
How Does Homeowners Insurance Work?
Your insurance policy is a contract that agrees to cover you for specified risks or perils that may happen causing you financial loss.
In exchange for a premium (the amount of money you will pay for your contract) the insurance policy forms an agreement that the insurance company will compensate you for losses as described and detailed in your home insurance policy.
All the terms and conditions of your policy dictate what is covered, how a claim will be paid, and what is excluded or limited. You can find the basic coverage information of your insurance contract on the Declaration Page of your insurance policy.
The insurance policy contract clearly outlines definitions and special limits to let you know what to expect as an insurance policy holder.
How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?
There are many factors that determine how much home insurance costs. Based on statistics, the average cost of homeowner insurance in the United States is $1,132 per year and the average renters insurance cost is $190 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Those are just the averages. The cost can vary, based on the following three factors:
- Your personal information including your age, occupation, if you have insurance history, your credit rating, if you belong to any organizations that have group insurance plans or discounts, your lifestyle and use of your home.
- The Information related to the location of your home, the loss experience in the area where your home is located and anticipated risk factors about where your home is physically situation impact insurance rates.
- The details about your home, including renovations, the year of construction and the materials used in building your home as well as any additional security you have at your home.
Your personal insurance history and information usually allows for discounts to be added to a policy, so even if you compared the price of insurance for two identical houses right next to each other, the price might be different if the people who own those houses have different personal situations.
Is Home Insurance Worth It?
Home insurance provides people who own their home a valuable resource to protect their investment and financial stability if a situation comes up where there is sudden and accidental damage to your personal property or house itself. It also protects you by providing liability insurance that arises as a result of your home ownership, or even as a result of your actions and activities as an individual worldwide.
How Much Home Insurance Do You Need?
Your home insurance needs to have enough coverage to provide you with compensation for financial losses in 4 major categories.
- The value of your structure, or building. Also known as the dwelling insured value. This does not include the cost of the land.
- The value to replace your contents or personal property. «Personal property» encompasses the things that are not part of the structure — the things you brought with you when you moved into the home, or furniture and other property you bought and keep in your home.
- Cost of additional living expenses. These are expenses that you would incur as a result of a claim if you were unable to live in your home due to a covered loss or insured peril while the insurance company repairs your home when it is unlivable. A home is unlivable when there is no running water or electricity, or when there is destruction that makes it impossible to live in the home during repairs. Each insurance company may define this differently or may assess the need to move out on a case-by-case basis.
- Liability coverage
A home insurance policy is a package policy. The cost of the insurance is based on the value of your home, or insured dwelling value for home insurance.
The cost of insurance is based on your contents value for renters insurance or condo policies.
The additional living expenses are usually a percentage of the primary coverage, and the liability coverage comes as a base but can be increased depending on your personal needs.
Other Home Insurance Coverages
There are other coverages that can be included in home insurance policies, for example a homeowner policy will also include additional structures as a percentage of the building amount. As an overview, the above are the base sections of coverage that you would want to focus on in order to figure out how much home insurance coverage you need.
Additional coverages can be added by endorsement if you need more coverage than is included in the home insurance package. Home insurance policies usually have special limitations on certain items, like jewelry; if after reviewing your policy special limitations there’s property you want to make sure is covered, then you may decide to add an insurance rider.
Water Damage and Home Insurance
Water damage is a tricky coverage when it comes to home insurance. Some water damage is covered, and some coverages can be added by endorsement, such as sewer back-up coverage; other water damage coverages are excluded. When choosing a home insurance policy be sure and ask about the different types of water damage that are included in your policy and find out which ones you can add coverage for by optional endorsement. Water damage is an increasing risk due to changing weather patterns and aging infrastructures.
Who Is Covered By a Home Owner Policy?
In your insurance policy, there is a definition of the insured. Under this definition you will usually find the description of who is covered under your insurance policy. The policy usually will specify that the named insured and spouse or domestic partner (through common law or marriage) are considered insured under the policy. Along with this, the dependent children of the insured while living at home may also be included.
Who Is Not Covered Under a Home Insurance Policy?
Domestic help, relatives not included in the definition of the insured, temporary house guests and roommates are not included or covered under a home insurance policy because these people do not fit into the definition of the insured.
Insurance If You Rent Your Home
If you rent your home and do not own it, whether it is a house, an apartment or a condo, then you need renters insurance.
If You Rent Out Your Home
Home insurance is intended to insure a home being used as a primary residence. If you rent out your home, then a homeowner policy is not the right policy for you, and you may not be insured if you have a claim that arises while the home is being rented out.
Home Business Activity and Home Insurance
If you use your home for business, you should speak to your insurance company to find out if they can add a rider for home based business. Home insurance is not intended to cover business use, so using your home for business and not mentioning it to the insurance company could render your coverage null and void. Not reporting changes on a home policy or in your personal situation may cause the insurance company to cancel your policy.
(Learn more about reasons an insurance company could cancel your policy here.)
There are many endorsements or plans that might be better suited to you than a standard homeowner policy when you have business activity. Even situations where you are using your home for Airbnb hosting or home sharing could be a problem, but discussing your situation with your home insurance may provide you with solutions that will help you get the right coverage.
Home Insurance for Condo or Co-op Owners
If you own a condo or co-op, then you do not need homeowner insurance; you need condo or co-op insurance because condos and co-ops take into consideration many of the special circumstances that exist when you own only one unit of a building, or shares in a cooperative. For example, one coverage that is specific to a condo owner but would not be included in a homeowner policy is loss assessment, or contingent insurance.
What «Perils» Are Covered By a Home Insurance Policy?
When you buy a home insurance policy you have the option to choose what kind of coverage you want. There are two basic concepts of coverage in a home insurance policy:
- Open Perils
- Named Perils
Understanding these two concepts helps show the difference in the level of coverage your different options in insurance policy can offer you since they have significant differences in coverage levels:
- An Open Perils policy covers you for “all risks” unless they are excluded.
- A Named Perils or Specified Perils policy covers you for very limited risks. The risks are usually limited to 16 core “disasters” that could happen to you, but then after that, anything else is not covered. Some policies may provide less coverage, such as the HO-1 form.
Be sure and ask if the policy you are buying covers open perils on the insured dwelling structure and on the contents, or only on the insured dwelling. This makes a difference in what you get paid in a claim.
How Does a Home Insurance Policy Pay Out in a Claim?
The basis of claims settlement listed in your policy wording will tell you what you can expect in a claim as far as compensation goes. The two basic forms of compensation in a claim are:
- Actual Cash Value: This is the cost of replacement, less the depreciation. This means that you will not get enough money to replace the home or items if the basis of claims settlement is Actual Cash Value. This is the least desirable form of claims settlement.
- Replacement Cost: Replacement cost provides you with compensation for replacement of the insured items in the loss. Find out if this applies to your building and contents. This allows you to replace what you have lost after a claim and get back to where you were at before the loss since you will get the money to replace.
It is important to read your policy wording about the basis of claims settlement when you get a home insurance policy to make sure you understand the provisions in the contract, exclusions and limitations.
What Is a Home Insurance “Policy Form,” and What Does That Mean?
When getting quotes for home insurance policies it is important to find out what policy form you are being quoted. A policy form describes the type of coverage in the insurance «package» you are purchasing. The key differences in the policy form would be in the basis of claims settlement, as well as in how many risks are covered. For example, an open perils or all risk policy form like an HO-3 will have far more coverage than an HO-2, but both are home insurance policies. It is the form that makes the difference is what you can expect to be covered for if you need to make a claim.
Why you may need home insurance
Home insurance may help protect your home and its contents in case of theft, loss or damage to the inside and outside of your home or property. It may also help you cover additional living expenses if you’re temporarily unable to live in your home. These additional living expenses may include living in a hotel or renting a home.
Home insurance may cover:
- damage or loss to your home
- damage, theft or loss of your personal possessions
- personal property stolen from your vehicle
- damage or injury to others who visit your home or property
- accidental damage you cause to somebody else’s property
Insurance companies may refer to home insurance as property and casualty insurance. Property and casualty insurance also includes car insurance, business insurance and disaster insurance.
Examples of when home insurance may protect you
Home insurance may protect you in the following situations:
- Someone slips and falls in your driveway and makes a claim against you for the expenses incurred as a result of damage or loss caused by the injury
- A fire starts in your house and causes damage to your home and your neighbour’s home
Condominium coverage is different from home insurance because it covers damage or loss for the inside of your unit and your storage locker. It also covers personal liability claims in case someone is injured in your home.
The condominium corporation will have a master insurance policy that covers the outside structure of the building and its common areas.
Condominium insurance may pay for:
- damage to the inside structure of your unit
- damage to, or loss of, your belongings
- damage to improvements you, or the previous owners, made to your unit
- damage to other units or the condominium common areas if they are caused by an accident that happens in your condo
- additional living expenses, up to a certain amount, if you’re temporarily unable to live in your condominium because of a loss covered by your policy
Review your condominium unit’s insurance policy coverage and the condominium corporation’s master insurance policy coverage.
You may want to consider buying tenant’s insurance if you live in an apartment or rent your home from someone else. Insurance companies may refer to it as renter’s insurance.
You should have enough insurance to cover the cost of replacing everything in your home if it’s destroyed or stolen.
Tenant’s insurance may pay for:
- damage to or loss of your possessions if you rent or lease your apartment or home from someone else
- personal property stolen from your vehicle
- accidental damage you cause to any part of the apartment building or home you’re renting
- injury to visitors
- additional living expenses, within a certain limit, if you’re temporarily unable to live in your apartment because of a loss covered by your policy
For example, if a fire starts in your apartment, tenant insurance can pay for the damage caused to your apartment, the apartment building and other tenants or their property.
Insurance for a home-based business
Consider getting business insurance if you have a home-based business.
Home insurance isn’t business insurance. If you have a home-based business, you must notify your insurer. Using your home for purposes that your insurer isn’t aware of may invalidate your policy.
Home insurance generally won’t pay for claims related to your home-based business.
Your home insurance policy may provide limited coverage for damage or loss of business equipment related to your home-based business. This coverage is only while the business equipment is in your home. Business equipment may include computers and power tools. The limited coverage may not be enough to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your business equipment.
Home insurance won’t cover:
- equipment that is damaged while in your home, if used for business purposes
- equipment that is stolen or damaged while in a vehicle or outside of your home, if used for business purposes
- tools that are stolen or damaged while in a vehicle or outside of your home, if used for business purposes
- injury to a client while visiting your home, also known as personal liability
Review your home insurance policy to confirm what coverage, if any, it will provide for a home-based business.
Learn what type of business insurance policies are available.
Who a home insurance policy covers
Generally, your home insurance policy covers you and your family members.
If you share your home or rent out a part of your home to a friend, relative or roommate, you must let your insurance company know.
Check with your insurance company, agent or broker to review who your policy covers.
What a home insurance policy covers
Be sure you understand what your home insurance covers and what types of settlement to expect if you make a claim.
Types of home insurance coverage
Coverage is the maximum amount of money your insurance company will pay you if you make a claim for a loss or an event covered by your policy.
For home insurance, you may need a combination of two types of coverage.
Personal property coverage
Personal property coverage protects you from loss or damage to:
- your home or personal possessions
- your car
To figure out how much coverage you need, make a list of all your possessions with the following information:
- cost to replace the item (replacement value)
- make and model of the item
- serial numbers
- pictures of your belongings
- receipts for major items
This could be useful should you need to make an insurance claim in the future.
Liability coverage protects you against legal liability for losses caused by:
- injury to other people
- damage to the property of others
Read the policy carefully before signing. Make sure you understand what your policy does and does not cover.
Ask your insurance agent or broker about anything you don’t understand.
Insurance companies offer a range of home insurance policies with different levels of coverage against various risks and causes of damage.
Home insurance policies vary from one company to another. It’s a good idea to shop around to get the best insurance for your needs.
A comprehensive policy provides the most coverage. It covers all risks to your home and contents except for any risks named in your policy as exclusions. Also referred to as a special or all-perils policy.
For example, say your comprehensive policy names flooding, sewer backup and earthquake as exclusions. This means you don’t have coverage for these named risks. However, your home and contents are covered for all other risks that aren’t named, such as fire.
A standard policy provides less coverage than a comprehensive policy. It only covers the risks to your home and contents that are named in your policy. Also referred to as a basic or named perils policy.
For example, say your standard policy names fire. This means you’re covered for the risk of fire damage. However, your standard policy doesn’t name flooding, sewer backup and earthquake which means you aren’t covered for these risks.
A broad policy provides a level of coverage in between comprehensive and standard policies. Also referred to as a broad-form policy.
For your home itself, a broad policy covers all risks except for any risks named in your policy as exclusions. This is similar to comprehensive policies.
For your contents, a broad policy only covers all named risks. This is similar to standard policies.
A no-frills policy provides the least amount of coverage. It offers very basic coverage for homes that don’t meet the usual standards for insurance.
Review your policy carefully and speak with your licensed insurance agent or registered insurance broker to be clear on your coverage.
Your provincial or territorial regulator can help you confirm that the insurance company, agent or broker you’re dealing with is licensed or registered to do business in your province or territory.
Find your provincial or territorial insurance regulator.
Get tips on choosing an insurance company.
Events that are covered and not covered by home insurance
Read the policy carefully before signing. Make sure you understand what your policy does and does not cover. Ask your insurance agent or broker about anything you don’t understand.
Generally, your home insurance covers unexpected events or accidents such as fire, windstorm, or theft. Insurance companies may refer to these types of events as perils. For unexpected events such as earthquakes, you may be required to buy additional coverage.
Learn about home insurance for unexpected events and disasters.
Events that your insurance company considers predictable and related to the maintenance of your home aren’t covered. For example, if you’re away for more than 4 days in a row when it’s cold outside, your home insurance may not cover damage to your home as a result of your pipes freezing.
How your insurance company calculates your premiums
Premiums are the amount you pay to buy insurance.
When determining how much you’ll need to pay for premiums, insurance companies may consider factors such as:
- the type of residence you live in, such as a single family home, semi-detached, condo, rental property, or seasonal residence
- characteristics of your residence, such as materials your house is made of, age, size, location, replacement value
- value of your property and contents to be insured
- the distance between your home and a fire hydrant or a fire station
- the crime rate in your neighborhood
- your claims history
- the type of policy and coverage you selected
- the amount of your deductible
A deductible is the amount of your claim that you agree to pay before your insurance company pays the rest.
Shop around for the lowest insurance premiums
Your premiums will vary from one insurance company to another. It’s important to shop around, ask for quotes and compare prices before deciding on one insurance company. In some cases, you may be eligible for a discount by combining both your home and car insurance.
In most provinces and territories, an insurance company can charge higher premiums based on your credit rating.
Learn how your credit rating may affect your premiums when shopping around for insurance.
Home insurance settlement options
Your insurance company will review your claim and decide how it will settle your claim.
When you make a claim, you’re always responsible for paying the deductible. The amount of money you get from your insurance company will depend on your insurance benefits.
Remember that the amount of your deductible may reduce the amount you get from a claim.
Actual cash value
Actual cash value coverage gives you the cost of the item when it was new, minus depreciation. Depreciation is the loss of value due to the age and condition of the item. The way depreciation is calculated depends on the item insured and the insurance company.
For example, imagine if a fire damaged your computer. If your computer is insured, your insurer would only cover the cost of your computer based on its reduced value at the time of the claim.
Replacement value coverage gives you the actual cost to replace an item destroyed or damaged in the event of a covered loss.
For example, imagine if a fire damaged your computer. You bought your computer 5 years ago for $2,000. If your computer is insured, your insurer would cover the cost of buying a new computer of similar quality to the one you lost.
Settling a claim if you have a mortgage
If you have a mortgage, your home insurance policy will usually include a loss payee clause. A loss payee clause makes your mortgage lender your beneficiary. In case of loss or damage to your home, your insurance company will pay your lender (your beneficiary) up to the remaining balance of your mortgage when you submit a claim.
When you make a claim, your insurance company may, at their discretion, give the money to either:
- you, so you can fix your home when you submit a claim
- your lender, who would then give you the money for repairs or replacement after you submit receipts proving they were done
Why Choose Our Home Insurance?
At Chill Insurance, we’ve got you covered when it comes to finding the right home insurance policy. Regardless of your budget and individual requirements, we compare some of Ireland’s leading insurers to help you find a great value policy that ticks all the boxes and gives you peace of mind.
Whether you’re looking to cover a semi detached house as the homeowner or an apartment as the landlord, our policies come with a wide range of benefits that can be added to your chosen plan.
A typical home insurance policy will provide you with cover for damage to your home and your belongings in the event of a fire, flood, storm or burglary. We can even provide unoccupied home insurance if you need it.