How much insurance do I need for my home?
It depends on the value of your home’s physical structure and the value of all of your personal property (e.g. furnishings, clothing, appliances, entertainment systems, etc.). Take a thorough inventory of your possessions to ensure you have an accurate value. There are limits and exclusions that apply to your personal property, so be sure to check with your insurance company about how much coverage is right for you.
I have liability coverage on my auto policy, why do I need it on my home policy too?
Your auto liability protects you if you are in an accident and you’re held legally liable for injury or death to other people. It also covers damage to their vehicle or property. The personal liability coverage on your home covers you at home or anywhere in the world for bodily injury to others or if you accidentally cause damage to another person’s property. For example, if a visitor slips on your driveway and you are found legally responsible, you would be covered for the damages.
What impacts my home insurance premium?
- Replacement cost – the size and composition or your home as well as your contents are the factors that will impact the cost to replace your home and belongings.
- Where you live – if your neighbourhood is more prone to break-ins, you may pay more for insurance.
Proximity to a water source such as a fire hydrant or fire station.
- Age of roof – newer roofs (within the last 20 years) are preferred by insurers.
- Heating – there is far less risk with forced-air gas furnaces or electric heat than oil tanks. Oil tanks have the potential to cause costly environmental hazards. Improperly installed wood stoves are a source of house fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning.
- Electricity – there are several factors such as:
- whether you have breakers or fuses
- the type of wiring you have (breakers pose less risk than fuses; knob and tube wiring can increase the chance of fire)
- Pipes – older plumbing (galvanized or lead pipes) is more prone to cracking, leaking or other problems.
- Other factors – insurers will also take into account whether you have a monitored security system or fire alarm. They’ll also ask about swimming pools and other structures on your property such as a storage shed.
What happens if I have to make a claim?
Allstate’s Claims team is here for our customers day or night to help you get on with your life as simply as possible. Visit Claims to find out how to report a claim and for contact numbers by province.
How can I reduce my home insurance premium?
Keeping your home secure pays off. If you install a home security system and/or a monitored fire alarm, you may qualify for discounts. You can also lower your premium by choosing a higher deductible. Allstate offers many discounts that can help you save even more like a Claim-Free Bonus if you go 12 months without making a claim* (excluding Ontario).
How can I keep my property protected from fires?
Household fires can be devastating. They cause significant damage, destroy valuable possessions and claim many lives each year. Allstate recommends the following tips to help keep your home and family safe:
- Install smoke detectors on every floor and change batteries regularly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on every floor.
- Don’t leave cooking unattended.
- Never pour water on a grease fire.
- Don’t plug too many appliances into one outlet.
- Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues and your furnace.
As Canadians, we’ve experienced some extreme weather conditions in the past few years. If something happens, what should my family do in case of an emergency?
Every home should have an emergency preparedness kit to help ensure you and your family are able to get through the first 72 hours of an emergency. Allstate recommends including items such as:
- Non-perishable food and water
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- A basic tool kit
- First aid kit
- Hygiene supplies
- Clothing and footwear
- Battery-powered radio
- Blankets, towels
- Prescription medications, infant formula
- Copies of essential family documents and records
You should also prepare a plan with your family and practise what you will do in the event of an emergency. The plan should cover items such as:
- Safe exits from your home or neighbourhood
- Where you will meet if separated
- An emergency contact person
- A trusted, designated person to take care of children or pets if you are unavailable
Post your plan in a common location and practise it to ensure it runs smoothly.
Why are insurance companies interested in how a home is heated?
If you have an oil-heated home, a leak could be a costly environmental hazard, so your insurance company will want to know details about the age and condition of your tank. Improperly installed or maintained wood stoves are a common source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s important to speak to your insurance company before buying or renting a home with a wood-burning stove.
My teenager is going away to college. Do I need additional insurance for their personal belongings?
As a dependant and student temporarily living away from home, the personal property your teenager takes to college or university would be covered under your homeowner’s policy. But, the amount of coverage available depends on the type of policy you purchase. Allstate offers additional coverage for students living away from home. Find out more today.
What is a “shared common area” in a condo?
Your condo corporation contract will indicate the common areas for your condo complex. Generally, common areas are considered to be any areas outside your unit, like the parking lot, lobby, pool, and recreation centre. Refer to your condo corporation contract or office for further details.
Does my home insurance policy cover my valuable possessions such as jewelry or artwork?
Yes, but for limited amounts of coverage. You may want to consider buying a Personal Articles Floater which provides all risk coverage for theft and mysterious disappearance. This will also reimburse you for misfortunes, like a stone that falls out of a ring.
Do I really need tenant insurance if I don’t own my apartment?
You may be renting, but all of your furnishings, electronics and other personal belongings are certainly valuable to you. Tenant insurance not only covers your personal possessions, it also provides personal liability coverage in case someone is accidentally hurt while visiting you. It also provides coverage if you accidentally cause damage to the rental property.
Visit goodhandsadvice.ca for more tips on how to keep you and your vehicle safe on the road.
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*Discount calculated based on prior term’s total written (paid) premium. Other terms and conditions apply. For more information regarding eligibility for this discount, please contact your local agency or 1-800-allstate.
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