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Introduction to Quebec Home Insurance

Home insurance was first created following a weekend of fires that spread across London, U.K. A group of underwriters gathered in a cafe, known as Lloyd’s, to create and sell policies as the demand for home insurance grew in popularity. Benjamin Franklin would bring this idea to the United States, founding the first fire insurance company in the United States in 1752. One of Canada’s founding fathers, Sir John A Macdonald was also the president of the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, one of the first companies to sell home insurance in Canada in 1887. Gore Mutual and Economical insurance predate Dominion and now, there are over one hundred active insurance companies, both public and private, offering policies across Canada.

Did you know home insurance is not a lawful requirement in Quebec? But, since the purchase of a home is usually accompanied with a mortgage from a lender, it’s the lender looking for protection of their investment and so, in this case, home insurance is required. However, if you do own a property, it’s a good idea to have some level of house insurance protecting you from risks beyond your control like damage from water, fire, or vandalism after a burglary. Home insurance is for homeowners, condo owners, and even tenants renting their space in a home and want to protect their valuables and themselves from risk. Each type of home insurance can vary in price for a number of reasons including the type of home insurance (Homeowner, Condo, or Tenant) or regional differences where there may be a higher risk of earthquakes or floods. In Quebec, earthquakes are more frequent than in say, Saskatchewan so it may be worth adding earthquake insurance. Floods are the number one reason for property damage in Canada - it’s another worthy endorsement to add to your policy.

How Quebec home insurance coverage works

Whether you’re in a single family house in Quebec City, a condominium in downtown Montreal, an apartment in Chicoutimi, or a mobile home in Oka, there is a type of house insurance to suit your needs. There are 3 coverage types - comprehensive, broad, and basic. The overwhelming choice for the people of Quebec is a comprehensive home insurance policy. This is mainly due to the difference in price between the different policy types being pretty minimal. Also, some lenders will only offer a comprehensive policy in the first place. Finally, a comprehensive policy gives you the highest level of protection, so it’s worth the little extra. Here’s a breakdown of the three main types of home insurance policies:

Coverage Description
Basic coverage

Also known as named perils, is the cheapest option, but will only cover the specific perils you choose. A peril is a certain risk that may damage your home or property. For instance, you may choose “Fire or Lightning” as a peril, to protect your home from fire or lightning, but if a thief robs your home, there would be no coverage

Broad coverage

Covers the physical structure of your home and contents for risks of direct physical loss or damage, but there are some exclusions. It only insures your content for specifically named perils

Comprehensive coverage

The most inclusive policy covering the building and its contents from all risks, except for some optional coverages such as: sewer back-up, earthquakes, or overland water.

Types of Quebec home insurance coverage

Whether you own or rent; live in a house or a condo - there is home insurance coverage to help you get peace of mind. A homeowner needs protection for their whole home - from basement to the roof and personal liability from someone slipping and hurting themselves on their property. A condo owner, on the other hand, will need to mainly pay to protect their contents, any upgrades they’ve done, and some liability, but the building also has its own insurance that is paid through fees by the condo owner. Tenant’s insurance covers a renter’s personal belongings and their own personal liability insurance in case someone injures themself in their rented space. A homeowner’s insurance does not cover the tenants belongings.

See the chart below for more details on available home insurance coverage:

Type of Coverage Coverage Description
Property coverages
Dwelling building

Coverage for damages caused by all perils or specified perils, depending on your policy, for your dwelling (home) and attached structures, such as a garage or sun deck. It also includes coverage for swimming pools and permanently installed outdoor equipment, like a children's play set.


Coverage amount: Replacement cost of your home

Included: Yes

Detached Private Structure(s)

Coverage for damages caused by all perils or specified perils, depending on your policy, for any privately detached structures you have on your insured premises; such as a tool shed, detached garage, or pool house.


Coverage amount: 10% - 20% of replacement cost

Included: Yes

Personal Property

Essentially you are covered for all personal property that you own, wear, or use. This includes your contents, clothing and other personal items - examples would be jewelry, artwork, furniture, electronics, etc...


Coverage amount: 70% - 80% of replacement cost

Included: Yes

Additional Living Expenses

Will provide you with the means to cover the costs of additional living expenses if you have to live away from your home for a period of time due to an insured loss (i.e. a loss caused by an insured peril).


Coverage amount: 20% - 30% of replacement cost

Included: Yes

Liability coverages
Personal Liability

Provides coverage for lawsuits filed against you by individual(s) that have been injured on your insured property. An example would be a visitor who falls down on your icy walkway during the winter and chooses to sue.


Coverage amount: $100,000 - $5,000,000

Included: Yes

Voluntary Medical Payments

If you unintentionally injure another person or they are injured on your property, your insurer will agree to pay the individual's reasonable medical expenses (i.e. surgery, dental, etc...) for up to one year from the date of the accident.


Coverage amount: $1,000 - $10,000

Included: Yes

Voluntary Property Damage

If you or a child of yours (age 12 and under) unintentionally causes direct damage to property that is not your own, your insurer will agree to reimburse the owner of the damaged property.


Coverage amount: $500 - $6,000

Included: Yes

Common Coverage Additions & Endorsements
Overland Water

This is protection from rivers, streams or other bodies of water overflowing onto dry land and causing damage to your home. It can also be caused by a spring thaw from melting snow


Coverage amount: $1,000 - $50,000

Included: No, must be added

Sewer Backup

This is when the main sewers back up from overflow into your house. You can limit your risk by installing a backflow preventer. If you live at the bottom of a hill, or a low lying area, we recommend sewer backup protection.


Coverage amount: $10,000 - $50,000

Included: No, must be added

Earthquake

Earthquake damage is not typically covered under a standard home insurance policy. If you live in B.C. or Quebec, areas more prone to earthquakes, it is an important addition.


Coverage amount: Replacement cost of your home

Included: No, must be added

Mass Evacuation

If you are mandated to leave your premises due to great risk or danger, adding this coverage will help pay for some of the expenses like hotels and food.


Coverage amount: $2,500- $10,000

Included: No, must be added

Identity Theft

There are many ways you may be the victim of identity theft including, but not limited to, credit cards, passports, and bank accounts. While some banks will reimburse you for lost funds, the other associated costs may be substantial.


Coverage amount: $5,000- $30,000

Included: No, must be added

Freezer Food

Provides coverage for food contained in a freezer that is located on your insured premises, if the loss or damage is due to either mechanical breakdown or an outside power disruption.


Coverage amount: Up to $2,000

Included: No, must be added

Credit/Debit Cards, Forgery & Counterfeit

Helps to offset financial loss incurred due to theft and/or other losses directly attributable to forgery or counterfeit activities.


Coverage amount: Up to $200 per transaction & $2,000 annually

Included: No, must be added

Lock Replacement

Helps with the replacement of the locks at your home if your keys have been lost or stolen as part of a burglary. The loss must be reported to the authorities and your insurer will determine whether or not to approve the lock replacement claim.


Coverage amount: Up to $500

Included: No, must be added

Factors that impact your Quebec home insurance premiums

There are many factors that will influence the price you pay for Quebec home insurance. An insurance company requires detailed knowledge of your home - how old it is, the cost to replace it, and essential details for the interior workings, like plumbing and electrical, and exterior features like the makeup of your roof. These details will allow a Quebec house insurance broker or an agent to better assess risk and determine the chances of something going wrong before providing any Quebec home insurance quotes. The more perceived risks there are with your property, or the more expensive repairs may be, the more your Quebec home insurance premiums will cost you.

When determining your premiums, home insurance providers will look at the following factors:

Tips on how to get cheap Quebec home insurance

Shop around and compare

At Ratehub.ca, we take the work out of monotonous phone calls and visits to many different brokerages repeating the same information over and over. By entering your information, we can give you several quotes from Quebec’s top home insurance providers in minutes.

Bundle policies

Insurers will often give a discount to consumers who get both their home and auto insurance from them. If you can, look to have both your house and car protected by the same insurer.

Monitored alarm systems

If you have a monitored alarm system installed, providing communication between your home security system and the central station of your security provider, you could receive a discount. This typically does not include your own cameras and motion sensor lighting. To get the discount, you must have a central station that protects your home.

Increase your deductible

A standard home insurance deductible is $500. If you increase your deductible, which means having to pay more before the insurance company pays the rest, they will often decrease your monthly premium

Renovations

If you upgrade your electrical from knob & tube to copper wiring or upgrade your plumbing from iron and steel to plastic and copper you could see a reduction in your premiums. However, if you upgrade with more expensive finishes that would cost more to replace, you’ll likely pay more.

Ask about discounts

A new job may mean union membership, group discounts, or corporate discounts. A retiree may also save on home insurance. A yearly review is recommended to see and ask what discounts may apply to you as things change.

Stay with an insurer (loyalty)

The longer you stay loyal to your home insurance provider, the more they’ll reward you with discounts, especially if you remain claims free.

Improve credit score

If your insurer monitors your credit score, be sure to pay your bills on time and watch your credit card balance - getting close to the max could hurt your score.

Frequently asked questions about Quebec home insurance

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