Home insurance anywhere in Canada is important, but home insurance has a few more considerations to take into account. Today we will look at everything you need to know if you are looking for house insurance in BC.
What’s makes BC different?
Did you know that the coast of BC is Canada’s highest earthquake risk? BC is also fast becoming known, unfortunately, for its wildfires. Since April 2021, there have been more than 1,200 wildfires in the province; the 10-year average 642, showing how much fire risk has increased in such a short space of time. If that’s not enough, Vancouver has some of the highest real estate prices in Canada. While not seen as a “risk,” the impact to insurance comes in the replacement value. More expensive homes cost more to replace.
BC has more risks for homeowners than those living in many other provinces, and this can make getting home insurance in BC challenging. However, we have several tips to ensure you get the coverage you need at a fair rate, whether you need home insurance in Vancouver, or one of the smaller cities in the province.
House insurance in BC: what to cover
Unless your lender or landlord asks you to provide home or tenants insurance as part of their contract, home insurance is not mandatory. However, it is very, very unwise to go without it. Few people have the thousands – if not millions – of dollars it takes to rebuild a home, pay for damage from a break and enter, replace items that have been stolen, or pay the penalty for liability charges. Therefore, our first advice is – get insurance, even if you own your home free and clear.
When looking for home insurance in Vancouver, or any region of BC, consider the following:
- Replacement value: this is not the market value of your home. It is the cost to replace your home to the level it was before the loss. Most insurance Canada companies will veer towards replacement over market automatically.
- Contents: There is a cap on contents coverage so if you own expensive items such as musical instruments, film equipment, sports equipment, or a wine collection, you need an additional rider. A rider is like an optional add-on. It allows you to customize your policy for your needs. In this case, if you lived in a small home and had no extra valuables, there is no need to pay extra; your contents coverage may be enough. If, however, you live in a more affluent neighbourhood and have heirloom jewellery or art, you should consider a contents rider.
- Earthquake coverage: Those living in BC should strongly consider earthquake coverage. This may not be included automatically in your policy. It may only be available as a rider. Check with your insurance company and take a good look at your policy. You don’t want to find out you don’t have this coverage when it’s too late.
- Liability: Getting sued can cost your life savings. Liability comes into play when you do not demonstrate necessary care and attention for people entering your property. If your walkway is covered in ice and the delivery person slips, you could be liable. If your pool is unfenced and someone wanders into your property and drowns, you could be liable. If your dog is aggressive and bites a guest, you could be liable.
- Living expenses: Most insurance policies have a living allowance so you can rent a place or stay in a hotel if your home is unlivable due to a risk covered in the policy. This does not mean you can claim the living allowance if you want to move out during a reno – it is for insurance purposes only. The coverage and duration of your stay are capped. Understand the limits and let that guide your decision on where to stay. A lavish hotel can eat through the benefit quickly, leaving you couch surfing while your home is repaired.
Home insurance in BC: average costs
There is no home insurance in BC average cost because each policy is different. The size of the home, the location, the riders needed, the value of the contents, if a mortgage is in place – there are so many factors that affect home insurance in BC. Rather than seek the average cost to work into your budget, there is a better way to find out how much your home insurance will cost. If you are looking for insurance quotes in Canada, we can help.
Our solution for you is to use a broker and online comparison tools. A broker shops the market for you, based on your needs, and then compares all your viable options. Online comparison tools do the same thing, allowing you to quickly enter your criteria and then compare rates across a variety of providers. Most online tools can quickly connect you to a broker if you start your search online.
Your home is a major asset in your portfolio and your contents, however humble, do have value. Even if you are frugal, there is a cost to replacing your clothing and kitchen items. When you put off getting home insurance in BC, you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risks and heartache. To ensure you are getting the right coverage that accounts for the extra risks of earthquakes, wildfires, and the cost of real estate in BC, work with a broker.
Brokers do a needs assessment with you so they can fully understand your needs now, and what your needs may be in the future. Then they go through the many options available, comparing the coverage and your budget. They find and present your best solutions and describe the policies and their terms to you.
To find the home insurance you need in BC, start with a broker. Click here to learn more.