Whether you’re a long-time condo owner or about to purchase one for the first time in Ontario, understanding condo insurance is important to protect your investment. Your condo insurance quotes may be affected by different factors such as your location and common properties, making it challenging to decide the best policy type for you.
Here, we explain the ins and outs of condo insurance in Ontario, from how it works to its standard and additional coverages for your peace of mind. Discover how much Ontario condo insurance typically costs, how to lower your quotes, and how to shop for affordable policies.
Why Do I Need Condo Insurance in Ontario?
You don’t technically “need” condominium insurance in Ontario as it isn’t mandatory. Further, your condo corporation already has commercial condo insurance for the entire building and its common areas. However, it’s a good idea to get it anyway for the following reasons:
Contingent coverage for gaps in commercial condo coverage
Commercial condo insurance policies won’t protect your unit’s improvements from loss or damage. By getting a personal policy, you can fill in that gap in protection and ensure that you’ll be compensated for loss or damage to unit upgrades.
Protection for your personal possessions
While commercial condo insurance covers the entire building and its upkeep and repairs, a personal condo insurance policy covers your belongings in your unit against covered risks. Without condo insurance, you’d have to replace these things out of pocket in the event of loss or damage.
There may be instances where someone is accidentally injured or suffers property damage in your unit. Having personal condo insurance covers you in case you need to compensate for the injuries or damage. It also covers your legal fees in case you are sued.
How Does Condo Insurance in Ontario Work?
Like home insurance and tenant insurance, Ontario personal condo insurance provides financial coverage in the event of damage or loss to your condo unit, personal possessions, any improvements you’ve made to your condo, and your personal liability.
Note that this type of condo insurance is different from your condo corporation’s insurance, which is also known as a commercial condo insurance policy. Here’s a simple overview of the standard coverages included in personal condo insurance, as well as additional coverage options.
The typical Ontario personal condo insurance policy will come with these types of coverage for damage, losses, and liability. Here’s a quick description of each standard inclusion:
- Additional living expenses: In case insured loss or damage makes your unit uninhabitable, your standard policy will provide you funds to cover the cost of temporarily living elsewhere.
- Contents of your condo: Also known as personal belongings coverage, this protects your personal property such as furniture, appliances, clothing, and electronics. Note, however, that some personal items may be excluded or exceed the value covered by a standard condo insurance policy.
- Contingency coverage: This provides additional financial protection for your unit In the event that your condo corporation’s commercial insurance policy is insufficient or fails to cover loss or damage.
- Improvements and betterments: This covers any upgrades that have been made to your unit, whether by yourself or by any previous owner. Examples of improvements covered by standard policies are custom closets, custom flooring, and special lighting. Even a fresh coat of paint may be considered by some insurers as a covered improvement, so talk to your condo insurance provider to see what else may be covered by your policy.
- Loss assessments: Similar to contingency coverage, this covers your share in case your condo corporation requires its members to collectively pay for any damage to common liabilities and shared areas like walkways or the elevator.
- Personal liability: Also known as third-party liability coverage, this covers your personal liability in case of any property damage or bodily injury caused to others in your condo unit.
Apart from the standard coverage offered by Ontario condo insurance policies, there are other types of coverage you can purchase for extra protection for your condo. These are the most common coverage add-ons:
- Sewer backup coverage: If sewage or wastewater comes up from a main sewer and seeps into your condo’s lower levels or lobby, you may be unable to get into your unit. This add-on provides for your additional living expenses until the backed-up water has been taken care of. It also covers damage or losses caused to any personal belongings you may be keeping in the building’s basement storage.
- Overland water: Rainfall or thawing snow can cause nearby freshwater and wastewater sources to overflow beyond their typical levels. If you can’t get into your unit because of overland water flooding in your building’s lower levels or lobby, this add-on will provide you with additional living expenses. This add-on also covers personal belongings damaged by overland flooding in your building’s basement storage.
What Is Not Included in a Typical Ontario Condo Insurance Policy?
The following are typically excluded from Ontario condo insurance policies:
Home businesses will need separate home-based business insurance to cover home or equipment damage.
Condo insurance policies won’t cover you in the event that injury or property damage has been caused by criminal acts, intentional acts, or the failure to act
Damage from tenants
Generally, condo insurance companies require specific coverage for owners who plan to rent out their units. A standard condo insurance policy won’t include coverage if you rent your condo out and the tenant causes damage.
Most policies exclude this risk, but you can cover earthquake losses and damage as an add-on to a standard policy.
Failure to maintain your unit
Damage or losses caused by poor unit upkeep (e.g., clogged drains, broken bannisters) won’t be covered, as your insurer deems it your responsibility to manage wear and tear.
Flooding is typically not covered by a standard policy, but it may be included as an add-on.
Mortgage or property taxes
These are separate expenses handled by policy owners as they’re unrelated to your insurance policy.
War, insurrection, or other military hostilities
Condo insurance policies typically exclude damage or loss due to rebellion, war, invasion, or other acts of foreign enemies.
What Determines the Cost of Condo Insurance in Ontario?
The cost of condo insurance in Ontario varies depending on several considerations, such as your zip code, your property type, and even your credit score. Here are some of the different cost factors for condo insurance in Ontario:
The majority of Canadian provinces use your credit score to determine your home insurance premium. This is because it’s often perceived that a bad credit score increases the risk of providing home insurance, as it increases the odds of late or non-payment of premiums.
If your condo is older, in poor condition, or needs to update systems like heating and plumbing, it may be pricier to insure. This is because older electrical, heating, and plumbing systems increase the risk of certain accidents like fires and water damage from leaks.
If you live in an area prone to natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding, your premiums may be higher. Insurers also tend to charge higher premiums in areas where more condo renters have filed claims over recent years.
The replacement cost to rebuild or repair the building is generally included in commercial condo insurance. Your personal condo insurance policy is usually more concerned about the value of items in your condo. The more valuable items you have in your condo, the higher the replacement cost.
Past Claims History
Simply put, the more claims you have in a 10-year period, the higher your monthly premiums will be. As a general rule, make sure that the cost of your potential claim is higher than your policy deductible, which is the amount you have to pay before your insurer covers the rest.
Some insurance providers will ask you to disclose the number, type, and breed of any pets you may have, as some pets are considered an additional liability risk.
Insurers evaluate your condo insurance rates differently depending on the type of dwelling. That means high-rise and bare land condos may have different rates since they have different risks.
Renovations And Improvements
Some improvements can lower or increase your condo insurance premiums. For example, converting a room into a home theatre may increase your condo’s present value, so your premiums may go up. On the other hand, improvements that increase condo safety like an alarm system may lower your premiums. Note that you should tell your condo insurer both before and after you renovate your Ontario condo .
Smoking Or Non-Smoking Policyholders
If you’re a non-smoker, an insurer may offer lower premiums as they consider it less likely that a cigarette or other smoking device will start a fire in your condo.
While conducting business in your condo won’t always increase your condo insurance premiums, this depends greatly on the kind of business you’re running. For example, you can expect to pay more if you’re listing your condo for short-term rentals or running a home-based catering company because there is more risk of liabilities or accidents.
Type Of Coverage You Choose
If you get a policy with a higher deductible, this will result in a lower premium. Additionally, the higher the coverage and the more risks you are protected against, the higher your premiums will be.
Your Chosen Insurer
Different insurers may offer varying quotes even for the same type of policy. Coverage costs vary between companies, so it’s important to shop around to find the best deal.
How You Can Get Cheap Condo Insurance in Ontario
If you’re trying to save money on your preferred home insurance coverage, here are some important steps to take:
Comparison shopping between different providers will help you find the best rate for your desired policy type. Use an insurance aggregator like MyChoice to get and examine immediate quotes from various Ontario home insurers.
Increase your deductible
You can ask your insurer if you can increase your deductible, a.k.a. the amount you pay before your insurer pays out the claim. Increasing this reduces the risk for your insurer that you’ll submit a claim, so they may offer to lower your premiums.
Bundle with auto insurance
Some companies offer bundled home and auto insurance at a good discount for both policies.
Renovate old home systems like wiring and plumbing
Renovating to remove known risks like faulty wiring and old plumbing may help reduce your premiums.
While hefty annual premium payments may be daunting, some insurance providers give you a discount in exchange as it reduces their administrative costs.
Install monitored alarms
The safer you make your home against thieves, the higher the chances that you’ll go claim-free. This may convince your home insurer to offer lower premiums. Install monitored home security systems to deter break-ins and get immediate notifications of disturbances.
What Do Condos Cost to Buy in Ontario?
Condo purchase prices in Ontario differ from city to city, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $440,000 to $892,000 on average. A June 2023 Ontario housing market report showed that overall home prices in the province went up 3% from the past year.
Here’s a look at condo purchase prices in several major areas of Ontario:
|City||Property type||Average price|
|Greater Toronto Area||Condo apartment||$739,395|
Census Data – Condo Data in Ontario
According to the 2021 Census of Population, the majority of occupied private dwellings in Ontario are not condominiums based on a 25% sample size. Only 15% of 822,780 Ontario private dwellings are condos, compared to 4,668,425 private dwellings (85%) that are not condos.
Who Provides Condo Insurance Quotes In Ontario?
There are different ways that you can get a condo insurance quote in Ontario. Here are the four providers that you can use or contact for condo insurance rates:
Insurance brokers can represent you as a buyer and get quotes from multiple insurance companies, as well as advice on choosing a policy.
A direct writer is an insurance company that doesn’t have independent agents offering their quotes and policies. Typically, direct writers offer their products through their official websites and/or their call centres.
Insurance agents are independent professionals who can provide quotes and policy information from the companies they work with.
Insurance aggregators are online platforms like MyChoice that allow you to compare rates and coverage options from multiple providers. Because these allow you to input your information and receive quotes from multiple providers in one place, this can save you time and effort.
Who Regulates Condo Matters in Ontario?
Condominium matters in Ontario are regulated by the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO). This organization provides services, resources, and training to improve condo living in the province. It also helps resolve disputes in condos to ensure peaceful living.
Additionally, the Condominium Management Regulatory Authority of Ontario (CMRAO) regulates condo managers. This organization licences condo managers to ensure they have the skills needed to oversee daily condominium operations.
FAQs About Home Insurance in Ontario
Does Ontario condo insurance cover the possessions in my unit?
Yes, Ontario condo insurance typically covers the possessions in your unit. Personal belongings coverage is a standard inclusion in personal condo insurance policies. This protects your personal possessions such as electronics, clothing, and appliances from covered perils like fire or theft.
Note that every condo insurance provider differs in the amount of coverage offered for personal belongings, depending on the limits of your chosen policy. There may be certain exclusions for special or high-value items such as art, jewelry, and collectibles. If your belongings exceed your standard policy’s limits or you have items that are excluded, you may need to get additional coverage.
Is Ontario condo insurance purchased by the condominium corporation enough?
While the Ontario condo insurance purchased by the condominium corporation may be enough for the building and its common areas, it may not be enough to protect your personal investment.
The corporation’s insurance typically doesn’t cover your personal unit’s belongings, nor does it cover your personal liability in the event of damage or injury in your unit. This is why it’s highly recommended that unit owners get a personal condo insurance policy as well to cover these risks.
Is condo insurance mandatory in Ontario?
No, condo insurance is not mandatory in Ontario. However, you should still consider getting a personal condo insurance policy to protect your unit, its improvements, and your belongings from loss or damage due to covered risks.
What’s the difference between commercial condo insurance and personal condo insurance in Ontario?
Commercial condo insurance is the “master policy” of your condo corporation. This insurance policy typically covers the entire condo building, inclusive of its common properties like a gym or walkways and any required renovations and upkeep. Depending on your condo corporation’s agreement, you may have to pay a deductible to the corporation in the event of an accident involving your unit.
Personal condo insurance, on the other hand, is the condo insurance that you can personally purchase as a unit owner. This typically covers your unit, belongings, improvements, and any personal liability in the event of loss or damage due to covered risks like property theft or fire.
How much condo insurance do I need in Ontario?
Determining the amount of condo insurance coverage you need in Ontario will depend on several factors. Here are some key considerations that will affect how much coverage you need:
– The value of your personal belongings
– The risk of personal liability
– The need for additional coverages such as overland water or sewer backup coverage
– Any upgrades or improvements done to your unit
Review your condo’s master policy to learn more about its provided coverage, so your personal condo insurance can address any gaps in the event of loss or damage. Compare quotes on MyChoice to see how much coverage is provided by different trustworthy providers at varying price points.