Home insurance covers not only your property, but also your civil liability. For example, if someone is injured at your home or you accidentally set fire to the building where you live, you could be held liable for damages.

Basic home insurance covers all risks specified in your contract. Here are a few examples of risks usually covered by home insurance.

  • Fire: You accidentally set fire to the building where you live.
  • Theft: A thief makes off with your valuables.
  • Civil liability: A guest is injured at your home.
  • Certain types of water damage: A pipe bursts and the water damages your floor.

"All risk" home insurance will cover all risks EXCEPT those that are excluded.

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Exclusions and limitations

In some cases, certain property and some risks are excluded from home insurance. In other cases, coverage is limited.

Examples of exclusions

  • The pool in your backyard is not covered and must be insured separately.
  • A leaky roof or basement and sewer backups are not covered unless you purchase additional protection.
  • The consequences of flooding are generally excluded from insurance contracts. However, some insurers may offer coverage for certain types of situations, such as rising water, dam breaks or the overflow from a waterway. It is therefore important to pay close attention to the coverage that your insurer provides for water damage and to shop around, if need be.
  • Additional coverage is required for earthquakes.

Examples of limitations

  • Your basic home insurance may only cover the first $200 in cash. If thieves steal $500, you won’t receive a refund for the full amount.
  • Coverage is limited for certain items, such as jewellery, collections and fine arts.

To be protected against risks that are excluded or limited, you must take out additional coverage (endorsementsAn endorsement is a document appended to an insurance policy to amend the scope or conditions of the policy.

In automobile insurance, endorsements have been standardized and are identical from one insurer to the other to make comparing insurers’ offers easier. 
or riders). Even then, some insurers do not cover certain risks such as floods and landslides.  Be sure to ask for details about additional coverage.

Check which risks are excluded or limited. If you have questions, speak with your insurance agent or broker.

Your obligation: Reduce risks

You must notify your insurer of any changes, such as:

  • If you make major home renovations;
  • If you are away from your home;
  • If you set up a home office;
  • If you purchase valuables.

Important exclusions or limitations could apply. Also, if you plan to be away from your home for more than four consecutive days during winter, you should cut off the water supply and drain the pipes, or ask someone to drop by your home and check for any problems.

What to do if you have incurred a loss

If you incur a loss, you should contact your insurer as quickly as possible. Find out how to submit a claim.

Agents from the AMF’s Information Centre are available to answer your questions and help you in your dealings with the insurer.

How to pay less

There are several ways you can reduce the cost of your home insurance premium:

  • Take the time to shop around for your insurance. Premiums can vary from one insurer to another.
  • Discounts are often available if you buy automobile and home insurance from the same insurer. It’s worth looking into!
  • Some insurers will offer you a discount if you have a home alarm system. Before having one installed, ask how much the discount is.
  • If you can afford to, increase your deductibleThe deductible is the initial amount for damages that the insurer does not pay.

    For example, with a deductible of $500, if you claim a total of $20,000 in damage coverage, your insurer would pay $19,500. 
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Insight

Make an inventory of your belongings

Make a list of everything you own and evaluate how much would it cost to replace each item. Keep this list in a safe location. It will come in handy in the event you have to file a claim.

End of the insight

Cancelling your home insurance contract

What you need to know about cancelling a home insurance contract.