How Much Should You Insure Your House For?

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How exciting, you got the house! After all the tumultuous ups and downs that come with searching for a home, you can finally take a deep breath and put it all behind you! But wait, now it’s time to get home insurance, and finding the right coverage is key.

Now that the hard part of finding a home is over, it’s time to take on the next task of finding the right home insurance coverage that suits your unique situation. No two homes are the same, and not all home insurance policies are alike either. So, how much home insurance coverage do you need?

Let’s take a look at your options!

What are the different types of home insurance in Canada?

There are four types of home insurance policies that you can choose from:

Standard home insurance: This is also referred to as ‘named perils’ and is relatively basic in what it offers. It financially protects homes and their contents from named risks and perils.

Broad-form home insurance: This is a hybrid form of home insurance that offers aspects of both comprehensive and standard policies. It protects your property from all risks and perils (with exclusions) and your possessions from named perils.

Comprehensive home insurance: This is the most expensive policy, but provides the most coverage. It financially protects your home and its contents from all risks and perils (with exclusions).

No frills home insurance: This is coverage for properties that don’t meet normal insurance standards. Because of this, very few homeowners in Canada have no frills home insurance.

What does homeowners insurance cover?

The five basic areas of coverage on a homeowners insurance policy are:

Dwelling Coverage: This applies to your home’s structure, including its walls, roof, and foundation. If these components are damaged – or even completely destroyed – in an incident that falls under your home insurance coverage, your provider can help you foot the bill.

Other Property Coverage: This applies to structures on your property that are not a physical part of your home. This would include, for example, a deck, fence, or detached garage.

Contents Coverage: This applies to your belongings inside the home such as furniture, electronics, appliances, etc. It covers them against theft, damage and destruction.

Liability Coverage: This coverage protects you in the event that a guest gets hurt on your property and pursues you for damages.

Living Expense Coverage: In the event that damage to your home requires you to vacate the property, living expense coverage will help you foot the bill for alternate accommodations.

A typical policy covers damage caused by fires, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, but not all natural disasters are covered.

Natural disasters and home insurance coverage

Your standard home insurance policy protects you from a wide range of natural disasters, but it doesn’t automatically protect you from everything.

Standard home insurance policies in Canada can include the following types of natural disaster coverage:

  • Fire coverage (including forest fire insurance)
  • Ice and hail coverage
  • Water damage coverage (from specified sources, like unavoidable damage due to a broken pipe)
  • Wind damage coverage (protection from high winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)

But they do not cover things like earthquakes or overland floods. For this you would need to purchase a separate policy, and depending on where you live, it may be required.

We have you covered with more information about natural disasters and home insurance in Canada with this in-depth guide.

There are ways to add other coverages, not included in your typical policy, through endorsements.

What are insurance endorsements and do I need them?

You often hear about insurance endorsements, but what are they?

An insurance endorsement is a form of optional coverage that policyholders can include to their home, auto, condo, etc., insurance policies, that protect them from unforeseen risks that aren’t covered by basic policies. It is also referred to as an insurance add-on.

Policyholders can choose which add-on(s) they’d like to purchase, allowing them to tailor their coverage to their unique wants and needs.

Here’s a quick look at some typical home insurance endorsements:

  • Overland water coverage
  • Claim protector add-on
  • Service line endorsement
  • Sewer back up coverage

You can learn more about insurance endorsements and how they protect policyholders in Canada.

What happens if you’ve completed renovations to your home?

Doing renovations can add value to your home, but whatever modifications you do, you must let your insurance company know of the changes being made. Whether it be working on an unfinished basement, remodeling a bathroom or converting a shed out back to a more livable space, you should always inform them.

Homeowners are required to update their home insurance policy when they make significant changes to their home that directly influences the material risk level of the home and property.

A perfect example of this is an inground pool. Having an in-ground pool increases the risk of third-party property damage and injuries, negatively impacting the risk level of the home.

Aside from affecting the risk level of your home, making the necessary changes to your policy can help you maintain an accurate replacement value for your home. Replacement value is the amount of money required to replace covered losses with an item of equal value after an insured event damages your property (different from actual cash value).

If you don’t update your insurance policy after making a significant modification to your home your insurance provider won’t have an up-to-date replacement value for your property. So, if something happens, the modified aspects won’t be covered by your home insurance.

Find out the best way to implement changes to a home insurance policy in Canada. Learn how you can update your home insurance policy here.

In the end, you can’t put a price on the sentimental value of your home and its contents, so getting the best home insurance coverage is priceless and will help put your mind at ease knowing that you and your family are well protected.

Talk to your advisor to go over your current policy, or when purchasing a new one, and find out what coverage best suits your needs. They can help you sift through all the information to help find what you need to protect one of your largest investments.

6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Home on a Budget

If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your home without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place. Here are six jaw-dropping ways to update your home without breaking the bank. With creativity and elbow grease, you can achieve professional-looking results without spending a fortune.

  1. Paint Your Front Door
    One of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a facelift is to paint your front door. Colour is a great way to add curb appeal and make an excellent first impression on visitors. If your front door looks dull and outdated, consider repainting it in a bright, bold colour. Red is always a popular choice, but any colour that complements your home’s exterior will do the trick. Just be sure to use high-quality paint so your new door colour will last for years.
  2. Install New Hardware
    Another quick and easy update you can make is to install new hardware throughout your home. Items like door knobs, cabinet pulls, faucets, and light fixtures. Adding new hardware is a great way to add a touch of style and personality to your space without making any permanent changes. Plus, it’s inexpensive to update an old piece of furniture or cabinets. Just be sure to choose hardware that coordinates with the existing style of your home.
  3. Create Accent Walls
    If you’re looking for a more significant project to make a statement, consider creating accent walls in strategic areas throughout your home. Accent walls are painted differently or covered in wallpaper or other decorative material. They can help break up a large room and add visual interest. When choosing accent wall colours, go for something bold and eye-catching to complement the rest of your decor. And when it comes time to hang wallpaper, be sure to measure twice and cut once!
  4. Update Window Treatments
    Window treatments are another great way to add style and personality to your space. If you currently have plain white blinds or boring curtains, consider adding more sophisticated window treatments like plantation shutters or draperies. You can make a significant impact without spending too much money. Plus, new window treatments can help regulate your home’s temperature, saving you money on your energy bills in the long run. Win-win!
  5. Accessorize Strategically
    Last but not least, don’t forget the power of accessories! A few well-placed accessories can go a long way in transforming the look of any room in your house—and they don’t have to cost much money, either. Get creative and think outside the box regarding accessorizing your space. A simple vase filled with fresh flowers or an antique mirror hung above the fireplace can make all the difference in the world. So go forth and accessorize!
  6. Lighten things up with lamps and candles
    Lighting can make or break a room, so ensure you have plenty of light sources—and they fit your style! Lamps are inexpensive to add light and personality to any room, so hit up some thrift stores or garage sales and see what you can find. Candles are another great option, especially if you opt for unscented candles not to overwhelm any senses other than sight!

These six incredible low-cost home improvement ideas can get polished results without breaking the bank with a bit of imagination and hard work. What are you waiting for, then? Start sprucing!

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Second Home

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If you do your homework and make plans ahead of time, buying a second home can be a great investment. But if you’re unprepared, it may also lead to financial difficulty. Following are five things to think about before purchasing a second property.

  1. What Will You Use It For?
    Typically, second homes are utilized as vacation dwellings, second homes for business purposes, or investment assets. Your lender will want to know your plans if you’re requesting a loan to purchase a second house.

For instance, because lenders view investment homes as riskier, they are often more difficult to finance. As a result, the interest rate on a mortgage for a vacation home or second home is typically cheaper than that of an investment property.

  1. How Will You Finance It?
    To buy a second property, the majority of people will have to take out a loan. You have a few alternatives depending on how you want to use your second home. You might be eligible for a standard mortgage, a secondary mortgage, or even a jumbo loan for a second home or vacation property.

As an alternative, you might think about refinancing your present loan. For instance, if you have a sizable amount of equity, you might be eligible for a cash-out refinance or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). In the latter scenario, you essentially exchange your current mortgage for a new, larger one and receive access to the equity you’ve accumulated in your primary house. If you have enough home equity, this may enable you to buy your secondary property outright.

  1. Do You Have the Funds?
    It’s crucial to make an accurate budget and make sure you can afford the closing and continuing expenditures of owning a second property, regardless of the financing type you select. Think about the following:
  • Down payment: Lenders generally require a down payment of at least 25% for a second home.
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio Requirements: You’ll typically need a DTI of 43% or lower to qualify for a second mortgage.
  • Maintenance costs: You may need to renovate or repair parts of your second home before it can be used.
  • Utilities: These aren’t usually high for vacation homes, but if you’re renting your second home out, you’ll need to keep on top of the utilities.
  • Insurance: Most lenders will insist you take out comprehensive insurance whether you’re renting or using the second home as a holiday residence.
  • Taxes: On top of regular property taxes, you may need to pay a conveyance tax.
  • Extras: Think about furnishings and decor, as well as things like HOA fees, if necessary.
  1. You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
    The cost of a second property is frequently divided between friends and family. This may be a fantastic method to acquire an asset that will benefit everyone while saving money. However, regardless of how close you are, the agreement needs to be viewed as a business one. Otherwise, things may quickly become less convenient and more complicated.
  2. Make a Plan for When It’s Not in Use
    It is important to have a strategy for what you want to do with your second house when it is not in use, regardless of your plans. For instance, if you intend to rent it out, you should be ready for the possibility that you won’t find a tenant right away.

What will happen to the house while you are away if you use it as a vacation home? Can you make it available to other vacationers? Will you be required to work with a management firm to handle tasks like maintenance?

Consider your options, and create a sound strategy.