Frequently Asked Questions

For your convenience, we have assembled the answers to many frequently asked questions. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, please feel free to contact our office and one of our Professional Insurance Advisors will be pleased to assist you. Comments or suggestions on how we can continually improve the content of our website are welcome. Please e-mail us with your comments.

Home Insurance

If my home is under construction, do I still need insurance?
Should I have receipts and photos of all major items in my home?
What do I do if I have a loss?
Should I claim every loss?
Who is covered in my home insurance policy?
Why should I purchase additional insurance for specific items when my insurance policy covers all of the contents of my house?
Am I insured in the event of a power failure that lasts several days?
Does my home insurance policy cover sewer backups?
Is there additional coverage I should consider on my home policy?
What kind of residential insurance is available?
I will be renting out my home for a year and going on sabbatical. What protection does my insurance policy provide for damage that the tenants may cause?
Am I entitled to any discounts in my insurance premiums?

If my home is under construction, do I still need insurance?

A home under construction is still subject to loss or damage and there may also be an increased exposure to injury. Speak to your personal insurance advisor regarding appropriate coverage. You will also need to advise your broker if your home is under renovation in order to ensure adequate coverage. If you begin construction or renovations before you notify your broker, you may accidentally void your policy. It is important to speak to a professional insurance advisor before you begin any major changes.

Should I have receipts and photos of all major items in my home?

You will be asked to supply a list of personal belongings and a record of their value in the event of a loss. Original receipts would be the best way to verify ownership and value. Taking photos is helpful and can speed up the claim process. You may wish to keep a detailed inventory list of all of your personal belongings and be sure to keep the list in another location other than your home. We suggest you take digital photos and save them to a diskette and then store off premises, i.e. safety deposit box.

What do I do if I have a loss?

You should inform your broker or insurance company directly if you have suffered a loss for which you are insured. If the loss was due to burglary, theft or vandalism, the police must also be notified. You will be required to provide information respecting the loss. Reasonable steps should be taken to guard against additional damage and you should not dispose of any damaged items without first speaking with your representative.

Should I claim every loss?

Before making a claim, you should always consider the cost of the deductible as compared to the extent of the damage. If the difference is insignificant you may elect not to make a claim as it may affect your “no claim” discount eligibility. Your personal insurance advisor can assist you in making this decision.

Who is covered in my home insurance policy?

Your homeowners policy provides coverage for the person named in the policy and includes the following individuals, provided they live in the same household:

  • Your spouse
  • Relatives of both you and your spouse
  • Any person under 21 in your care
  • A dependent student temporarily residing away from home and attending school
  • Any other person in the care of a person insured

If there are other owners of the property, they must be named on the policy. The insurance company will pay only the percentage of loss to each named insured. Example: John Smith and Jane Doe are 50% owners but only John Smith is named on the policy. If Jane Doe is not a spouse, relative or dependent and there is a $100,000 loss, the insurance company will pay $50,000 in total. Jane Doe was not listed as 50% owner and therefore has no insurance protection under the policy.

Why should I purchase additional insurance for specific items when my insurance policy covers all of the contents of my house?

Generally, home insurance policies include limits with respect to valuable or unusual items. Such limits apply specifically to jewellery, furs, silverware, boats and certain collector's items.

It is possible to increase the coverage for such items, or to eliminate certain exclusions, by adding coverage specifically for a given item.

Am I insured in the event of a power failure that lasts several days?

Basic home insurance policies do not cover additional expenses incurred as a result of an extended power failure, unless the authorities order your area evacuated.

Does my home insurance policy cover sewer backups?

Coverage for losses due to sewer backup is available. Some policies include this coverage and also offer the option for additional coverage.

Is there additional coverage I should consider on my home policy?

Generally, home, condominium and tenant policies are issued with a standard set of limits. You may find that you need additional coverage to meet your specific circumstances. There are a number of options that can enhance your property coverage. The following are examples of additional protection:

Options Description
Increased personal liability limit Up to $5,000,000 may be available.
Antiques & collectibles coverage Specifically insure these items so you can realize their true value in the event of a loss. Often an appraisal will be required.
By-laws coverage (for homeowners) Provides coverage for additional costs to repair or rebuild your home to comply with local laws. This is particularly important for older homes.
Earthquake coverage Can be added to your policy.

Coverage for:

  • Bicycles
  • Business property
  • Coin and stamp collections
  • Collectible cards and comic books
  • Jewellery and furs
  • Money and securities
  • Spare auto parts
  • Utility trailers
  • Watercraft
  • Camera equipment
  • Fine Arts

Each property policy has "special limits" for high valued items, fine arts, jewellery and collectibles, etc. To enhance the special or specified limits, you may wish to schedule items for a stated or appraised amount.

Scheduled items have their own designated deductibles or in many cases, no deductible at all.

What kind of residential insurance is available?

Some policies cover only "named perils" - in other words, if the cause of the damage isn't listed on your policy, it isn't covered. This is generally referred to as a standard policy.

Other policies cover "named perils" on the contents of your home and "all risks" on the building. "All risks" provides insurance for losses due to a wide range of causes. But instead of listing what is covered, an all risks policy lists what is not covered. This is generally referred to as a broad form policy.

Then there are other policies that cover "all risks" on both the building and its contents, although these policies are still subject to some exclusions. This is generally referred to as a comprehensive policy.

I will be renting out my home for a year and going on sabbatical. What protection does my insurance policy provide for damage that the tenants may cause?

It is recommended that you inform your insurance professional of a lifestyle change of this nature because there will usually be restrictions on your policy for such things as theft or damage by tenants. Your insurance professional can outline these restrictions for you so that you can take appropriate measures.

Am I entitled to any discounts in my insurance premiums?

Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders with newer homes, if they have installed safety features like smoke detectors and burglar alarms, and if they have had no claims for a certain period of time. Discounts may also be available by some insurers to non-smokers, homes that are mortgage free and mature applicants.