Canada’s Top Home Insurance Insurers

As the saying goes, a person’s home is their castle. In the midst of a global pandemic, those castles have been doing double duty as offices as companies have scrambled to deploy work-from-home policies that have left many office buildings temporarily vacant. Now spending the workweek in a home office and most of the remaining hours living in the same space, many homeowners have been maintaining near constant oversight of their dwellings.

 

This change in domestic living habits has helped prevent theft and fire and water damage while leading to a 10.26% drop in home insurance claims in Canada – saving insurance companies about $1.1 billion in 2020, according to Hellosafe.ca. As temporary working situations become more and more permanent, drastically changing work-life practices for the Canadian workforce, the home insurance market will likely see a similar or greater reduction in claims costs throughout 2021.

 

Meanwhile, the work-from-home trend has led to some interesting dynamics regarding the repurposing of office buildings. “While some businesses are planning to make work-from-home more permanent and others are simply reducing their square footage, the office market is similarly being retrofitted for residential use,” reports HUB International. “Whether it’s a downtown high-rise or an old two-storey Art Deco office building renovated into condos, shrinking office space in highly populated areas will give way to a rise in residential properties.”

 

Climate change has likewise had a major impact on the home insurance market. In 2020, extreme weather events, ranging from the Fort McMurray flooding to the Calgary hailstorms, led to $2.4 billion worth of damages in Canada, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification, as well as $270 billion globally, according to Munich Re. And HUB International predicts that rates will rise between 15% and 25% or higher in areas exposed to catastrophes such as earthquakes, flooding, hail and windstorms. Whether from wind, hail, fires or flooding, Mother Nature is bound to be back in 2021 with increasing risks for homeowners.

 

Meanwhile, condo and multi-family home insurance rates are also rising due to an increase in the frequency and severity of claims in the sector; a rise in repair, rebuilding and property maintenance costs; and general hard market trends.

 

“Following an increase in claims and resulting payouts, many insurers are retracting coverage altogether or increasing costs by as much as 300%,” reports Ratehub.ca’s Tyler Wade. “Unfortunately, a building could lose its insurability and ask unit owners to assume responsibility of the damage and repair bills.”

 

According to HUB International, “an uptick in claims in the apartment and condominium market due to fires, water escape, wind/hail and flooding have reduced the number of insurance carriers willing to write this class. For this reason, moving into 2021, multi-family residential can expect to see another 20% to 50% increase, along with further increased deductibles in their general property coverage. Residential apartment and condominium properties looking to weather this storm will need to show underwriters what type of controls they have implemented to prevent common, high-frequency and -severity water and fire claims.”

 

Together, these trends should keep home insurance providers busy in the coming year.

 

5-Star Excellence Awards

  • Aviva Ovation
  • Chubb
  • Intact
  • Red River Mutual
  • Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance
  • Wawanesa


Methodology

 

HOW WE CHOOSE THE BEST

 

Determining Canada’s top insurance products takes a keen understanding of the market offerings – that is why IBC has enlisted the help of thousands of brokers to determine the 2021 Product Awards. Our research team started with one-on-one interviews with the industry's most elite brokers, followed by surveying thousands of brokers within IBC’s network. Throughout the fifteen-week research process, insurers were measured on the strength of their relationships with brokers, ability to handle claims, underwriting expertise and, most importantly, the strength of the individual products they provide.

 

 


Best in Home Insurance

 

What home insurance covers in Canada?

Home insurance can help protect a homeowners’ house and contents in the event of theft, loss or damage to the inside and outside of the house or property. Home insurance can also cover some of the additional living expenses in the even that the homeowner is temporarily unable to live in the house, such as living in a hotel or motel or renting another home. 

 

In Canada, home insurance may also cover damage or loss of home; damage, theft or loss of personal possessions; personal property stolen from the homeowners’ vehicle; damage or injury to others who visit the home or property; and accidental damage the homeowner causes to somebody else’s property. 

 

Home insurance may also be referred to as property or casualty insurance, by insurance companies.    

 

How much is home insurance in Canada?  

On average, Canadians paid $840 annually, according to a survey conducted in 2018. Across provinces, however, prices varied. At $924 annually, the largest home insurance premiums were in British Columbia. Alberta’s premiums came in second, at $912 annually. Annual home premiums in Ontario went as high as $828 annually and Quebec hit $768 per year. 

 

In general, home insurance for rental properties is cheaper than for owned properties, because of the limited coverage provided. Renters and condo owners, for example, pay to insure personal property. For homeowners, insurance covers both personal property and dwelling. Most home insurance policies cover liability and other additional aspects. 

 

How do I estimate the value of my home contents?  

To ensure that a homeowner has adequate contents insurance, he or she must provide an estimate of the value of their possessions. That estimated value is the max. an insurance provider will pay if all of the possessions are destroyed. Therefore, the estimate must be as precise as possible. If an estimate is well over, the homeowner may wind up paying more than is necessary for their insurance. The homeowner risks being underinsured if the estimate is too low, meaning the insurer may only provide a percentage of any claim.  

 

To provide an accurate estimate of the home’s contents, the homeowner should make a list of all of his or her possessions in each room; estimate the value of each item; get current valuations of high-value items such as jewellery; and add up the cost of all the items.