Home insurance in Quebec
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Things to keep in mind about home insurance in Quebec
In Quebec, home insurance is not required by law, which is also the case for the rest of Canada. However, when you apply for a mortgage, the bank will require you to apply for insurance in order to approve you for the loan. A house is probably going to be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Over time, it’s value will increase. Losing your home to a fire or a natural disaster like the Rivière des Prairies flooding could set you back financially by a few years. Although home insurance is legally optional, any financial professional will tell you it’s just good sense to protect yourself and your biggest investment.
Although home insurance covers everything within your home in the event of theft or damage, high value items such as your collection of signed Expos baseball cards might require a separate, specific policy. Your policy may protect these items for certain damages but may not cover them in all circumstances or for the full amount. What if you lose your wedding ring while doing the dishes? It would be covered if it were damaged by fire or stolen, but this situation doesn’t fall under either of those categories. When in doubt, always consult your policy to ensure your valuables are covered. Consider taking out a separate policy to properly protect these specific items.
3 major aspects are covered by home insurance.
The first thing that is covered by your home insurance is the house itself. Consider the value at which you are insuring your home. You can either insure the house for the value that you paid for it or what it will cost to rebuild it in the event of a total loss. If you bought an older home in Westmount and you have to rebuild it after a fire, the costs may be higher since there will be new construction regulations in place and you would need to meet such regulations, which add up in the rebuild costs.
The second thing covered by home insurance are your belongings and the contents of the home. Things such as your furniture, your clothing and anything within the confines of the house. Possessions are covered in the event that they are damaged, stolen or have perished from a covered incident.
The third facet is your personal liability (or TPL). If ever an accident were to occur on your property, as the homeowner you would be held responsible. Between any medical expenses and the possible loss of income, the costs could financially ruin somebody. Personal liability coverage will ensure that you’re protected if ever an accident occurs on your property.
In 2017, the Ottawa River overflowed and 5,371 homes were flooded. People in the Gatineau region were evacuated from their homes and many lost their cherished possessions, including their houses. Many Quebecers have since asked themselves the same question: “Am I covered in the event of a flood?”
The answer may surprise you. A recent survey found that 69% of Quebecers believe their current home insurance policy covers them in the event of flooding. Although water damage is covered in standard home insurance policy, water damage is defined as damage caused by an internal water source (leaky pipes, bad plumbing, forgetting to turn off a faucet, etc.,)
External sources, such as a sewage backup or rising flood waters would not be covered by such an endorsement. By adding flood coverage, you stand to remain protected no matter what happens and you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll receive the proper reimbursement for the damages caused to your home. Talk to your insurance agent or broker about flood insurance if you think you live in an area near a body of water that poses a risk.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has identified Quebec and British Columbia as the two major earthquake zones in Canada. Interestingly, less than 5% of homeowners with insurance in Quebec decide to purchase this coverage whereas in BC, 60% of insured residential homes are covered. Although major damages have yet to be experienced on the East Coast, you should talk to your insurer to see what risks are posed and if there’s a reasonable price you can find to cover yourself in the event of such a natural disaster.
When you think of Quebec , tornadoes and hurricanes don’t often come to mind. Although hurricanes have rarely made landfall in the province, mostly causing havoc in the Maritimes, tornadoes are an often overlooked risk.
In 2018 alone, there were no less than 6 tornadoes that struck the Gatineau region. Hundreds of people were left without power and over 60 buildings were damaged in the aftermath.
Although damages caused by a tornado (and all windstorms) are usually covered within a standard home insurance policy, it is important to review your policy and ensure what is protected by windstorm coverage and associated risks.
Talk to your agent or broker if you have questions about your current policy and take steps to limit damage in the event of a tornado such as storing away patio furniture that could be turned into a projectile once wind speeds pick up.