Home insurance is one of the most important things you can purchase as a home owner.
Home insurance can protect:
- your home and property in the event of certain types of damage;
- your family from personal liability in certain circumstances where you or your family member causes accidental damage to another person or their property;
- your family if they are injured while on another’s property; and,
- anyone who is injured while on your property.
All home insurance policies are different. You should carefully review policies and ask your broker for clarification in order to understand what is included and excluded, and to ensure that you are getting the right kind of protection for your home, belongings and your family.
There are also different types of home insurance available depending on the type of property you own. For example, if you own a condo or a cottage, or run a business from your home, the available coverage options will be different.
Perils and Exclusions – What kinds of damage will be covered?
“Perils” or “insured perils” are unexpected events which cause damage to your home or property, and which insurance companies will cover. For example, insured perils include vehicle impact, fire, theft or vandalism.
“Exclusions” or “uninsured perils” are considered to be predictable or preventable events, in so far as the damage they will cause to your home, and which insurance companies do not usually cover. Common exclusions include flooding or water damage caused by overland flooding, damage caused by freezing pipes or sewer backup, and damage caused by insects or rodents.
Categories of coverage are based on whether you choose to have your home and/or belongings covered for all insured perils or only ones specifically named in the policy. Some exclusions can be covered with the purchase of additional, optional insurance.
How your home is covered?
Your house will be insured based on its replacement value (what it would cost to replace your home up to the same quality if it was completely destroyed). Call your insurance provider before doing any big renovations as this will change the replacement value of your home.
Many policies have clauses that bar homeowners from claiming for certain kinds of damage if they leave their home unattended for a period of time, sometimes as short as four days in the winter. Inform your broker if you intend to be away and they will advise you of actions you should take to ensure that your property will be covered.
How your personal belongings are covered?
The contents of a home are commonly covered on an actual cost value basis, but you can request to have items covered based on replacement value. Keeping a current and detailed inventory of your belongings and photographs of the belongings will make it easier to file claims. Keep the list and photographs somewhere safe!
Special Items such as jewelry, art, collectibles, tools, and sporting equipment sometimes have coverage limits under what the actual value would be, ask your provider about these limits and about purchasing additional coverage if needed.
How your personal liability is covered for injuries sustained on and off your property?
Home owners are legally responsible for maintaining their property and ensuring the safety of those using it. If you are sued after someone is injured on your property your home insurance company will provide you with a lawyer to defend the claim and they will pay out any judgements made against you up to your policy limits.
You also may be sued by someone who is injured off your property. For example, if another person’s child is injured under your supervision, then in these circumstances, your home insurance company will provide you with a lawyer to defend the claim and they will pay out any judgements made against you up to your policy limits
How you can get more insurance?
Adding an umbrella policy to your home insurance is a great way of increasing your liability coverage. Umbrella policies cover a wide variety of risks, and stacks on top of any other policy you already have. For example, if you injure someone while you are driving your car, the umbrella policy attached to your home insurance policy will come into play and provide more substantial liability limits if required.
While you can add an umbrella policy to your auto insurance, which would cover the same liabilities, it is cheaper to add it to your home insurance.
Click here to learn more about fire loss claims, and here for more information regarding slip and fall claims. If you are injured while on someone else’s property contact one of the critical injury lawyers at McLeish Orlando LLP for a free consultation.
ALISON BURRISON – McLeish Orlando Critical Injury Lawyers
Alison has appeared in all levels of court in Ontario, as well as administrative tribunals on behalf of her clients. She has also represented clients at multiple mediations involving complex matters of liability and damages. For more information about Alison visit: www.mcleishorlando.com/lawyers/alison-burrison/