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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on April 28, 2024

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated April 28, 2024

Visit author page

15 minute read

Article Contents

One of the challenges of homeownership in Alberta is navigating its insurance landscape and choosing the best policy for your needs. Home insurance in Alberta can be confusing due to the many insurance options, risk factors, and insurers that complicate decisions.

Learn all about the ins and outs of Alberta home insurance. Discover what types of coverages are available, do’s and don’ts to lower your insurance rates, and more.

Common Risk Factors for Homeowners in Alberta

Alberta is often exposed to extreme weather. Here are some common risk factors homeowners in Alberta should watch out for:

Flooding

Flood protection is one of the wisest investments you can make for your home insurance policy. Extreme cold snaps often cause significant thaws that lead to flooding.

As seen in the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s 2020 severe weather event report, the risk of flooding in Alberta can’t be understated. Six severe weather events caused $2.4 billion worth of damage, and three of them were flood-related incidents in Alberta.

Burst Pipes

Cold snaps can cause pipes in your home to freeze and burst. This is especially common in Calgary, where temperatures drop to dangerous levels fairly often during winter. Water damage protection is built into most policies, which is why home insurance in Calgary and other parts of Alberta is essential.

Wildfires

Wildfires are also a notable risk factor in Alberta. One of the most prominent wildfire incidents was the 2016 fire in Fort McMurray that caused over $5.2 billion in damages.

How Does Home Insurance in Alberta Work?

Home insurance in Alberta works by providing financial coverage if your home and its contents suffer damage from unforeseen events. If the unforeseen event is covered in your policy, you can make an insurance claim to receive monetary compensation. The same principle applies to tenant insurance and condo insurance, which do the same but for different dwelling types.

There are three types of home insurance coverage in Alberta:

An Alberta home insurance policy comes with a standard set of insurance protection. Here’s an overview of the four coverages you get from Alberta home insurance:

  • Additional living expenses coverage: This pays for extra living expenses if you have to live away from home after your home suffers damage or loss.
  • Building coverage: This covers damages to your home’s main structure as well as any structures attached to it. This coverage also extends to swimming pools and permanent outdoor installations.
  • Contents coverage: This pays for repair or rebuilding costs for your home if it was damaged by covered risks.
  • Liability coverage: This provides financial protection from property damage and injury claims made by third parties. Essentially, it foots your medical bills and legal fees if you get sued.

Alberta home insurance policyholders can also get additional coverage to round out their protection. Here are common add-ons you can purchase for your policy:

  • Earthquake insurance: This provides insurance coverage for earthquake-caused losses and damages. 
  • Flood insurance: This pays for damages caused by overland water or sewer backups.
  • Home-based business insurance: This covers any business-related risks like damaged stocks. You need this optional endorsement if you run a business at home. Otherwise, your insurer may not accept the claim.
  • Home-sharing insurance: This is an endorsement for short-term rental providers that protect them from risks like guest liabilities and theft of personal items.
  • Identity theft insurance: This covers any financial costs incurred due to an identity theft incident.
  • Personal valuables insurance: This enhances your contents coverage by extending its coverage limits.
  • Umbrella insurance: This increases the liability coverage limit on your main insurance policy.

Your basic home insurance coverage in Alberta only protects your home and its contents from specifically-named risks. This means you’ll only receive compensation if the listed perils damage your home. For instance, if your policy only has fire coverage, you won’t get coverage if a thief breaks into your home.

Broad home insurance is the mid-priced option that protects your home from all standard perils. However, the contents of your home only get basic coverage, meaning they’re only protected from risks stated in your policy.

Comprehensive coverage protects your home and its contents from all risks. However, some risks are specifically excluded from your policy – you can buy optional coverage to further safeguard your home.

Housing Data in Alberta

What does the housing landscape in Alberta look like? You can find answers in the 2021 Census of Population. Here’s a quick overview:

Type of Occupied Dwelling

Alberta has nearly a million single-detached houses, making up 60.9% of the province’s total homes. Apartments in buildings with less than five storeys take second place, taking 15.1% of the total share of dwellings.

Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owner

70.9% of homes in Alberta are owned, while 28.5% are rented. Unlike many provinces where condominiums are in the vast minority, condos in Alberta make up 18.1% of the province’s housing, with the remaining 81.9% being non-condominiums.

Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?

There aren’t too many old homes in Alberta, with homes constructed prior to 1960 making up only 10.3% of the total number of homes. Most homes were built between 1961 and 1980, taking a 26.2% share of the province’s homes.

Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?

An overwhelming majority of homes in Alberta are in good condition, with 94.5% of them only needing minor repairs. Meanwhile, homes that need major repairs make up 5.5% of the province’s homes.

Alberta Home Insurance Trends

With some exceptions, home insurance premiums in Alberta are always on the rise. The most notable rate jump happened between 2020 and 2021 when insurance premiums rose by 23.83%.

A major reason for rising home insurance rates  is the COVID-19 pandemic. With more people staying at home, the risk of perils like house fires increased, leading to more insurance claims. In turn, more insurance claims mean insurers will raise their insurance premiums. 

Homeowners were more likely to add major home improvements during the pandemic because they spent more time at home, increasing their home’s total value. This means their insurance rates were also adjusted to be higher, reflecting their home’s increased value.

The other common thread for yearly rate hikes is that homes age. As homes age, they’re more prone to issues like burst pipes, leaky roofs, and electrical fires, leading to more insurance claims and raised insurance rates.

Who Provides Home Insurance Quotes in Alberta?

There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Alberta. Here are the four providers that you can use or contact for home insurance rates:

Insurance brokers:

Insurance brokers can represent you as a buyer and get quotes from multiple insurance companies, as well as advice on choosing a policy.

Direct writers

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

Insurance agents are independent professionals who can provide quotes and policy information from the companies they work with.

Insurance aggregators

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.

What Is Not Included in a Typical Home Insurance Policy?

Even if you’ve opted for a highly comprehensive home insurance policy, there are some risks that insurers explicitly don’t include as a covered peril. These are called “exclusions” by home insurers.

Here are the most common home insurance exclusions:

Criminal activities:

If your home was damaged due to criminal activity, it won’t be covered by your insurance policy.

Damage from tenants

Generally, home insurance companies require specific coverage for homeowners/landlords who plan to rent out their properties. A standard home insurance policy won’t include coverage if you rent your home out and the tenant causes damage.

Earthquakes

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 home

Damage or losses caused by poor home upkeep (e.g., clogged storm drains, broken bannisters) won’t be covered, as your insurer deems it your responsibility to manage wear and tear.

Flood damage

Flooding is typically not covered by a standard policy, but it may be included as an add-on.

Home business activities

Home businesses will need separate home-based business insurance to cover home or equipment damage.

Insect damage

Because this is considered a preventable risk, most insurers don’t cover insect damage.

Mortgage or property taxes

These are separate expenses handled by policy owners as they’re unrelated to your home insurance policy.

Mould

Mould caused by poor home maintenance is typically excluded by home insurance policies. Note that this is separate from mould caused by an insured peril, which will be covered by your policy.

Vacant dwelling risks

Many insurers may void your insurance if you leave your home vacant for a prolonged period.

This is by no means an exclusive list of risks typically excluded from a home insurance policy in Alberta. Talk to your home insurance provider to see what’s covered by your policy in case of loss or damage.

Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Alberta?

You technically don’t need home insurance in Alberta, because it’s not a legal requirement for homeowners. However, you should still get a policy to protect your home as well as its contents. Here are three main reasons why having a home insurance policy is a good idea:

Loss or damage protection

Home insurance protects your property from perils like fire and theft. It does so by providing financial compensation if your property experiences loss or damage due to unforeseen events.

Mortgage requirements

Your mortgage lender may require home insurance as part of their loan conditions. Lenders tell borrowers to get home insurance to protect their investments.

Liability coverage

In addition to protecting your home, insurance provides liability coverage to settle legal fees if somebody gets injured on your property.

What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Alberta?

The cost of home insurance in Alberta 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 home insurance in Alberta:

Accessory Dwellings

Detached private structures like tool sheds, pool houses, and gazebos may increase your home insurance premiums. Further, a pool typically increases your premiums because of the increased risk of drowning, as well as the extra cost of maintaining a surrounding fence and lock. Make sure your home insurance covers all of your detached structures.

Credit Score

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.

Internal Construction

If your home 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.

Location

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 homeowners have filed claims over recent years.

Replacement Cost

Replacement cost is based on how much it would cost to rebuild your home at its present condition and value. The higher your home’s present value, the more expensive it is to insure. Note that when factoring in replacement cost, you’ll need to inform your home insurer of any expensive items or upgrades like jewellery or artwork which will need extra coverage.

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.

Pets

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.

Property Type

Whether you live in a condo unit or a single-detached home, different types of dwellings will be evaluated differently by an Alberta insurer as each comes with different risks.

Renovations And Improvements

Some improvements can lower or increase your home insurance premiums. For example, converting a room into a home theatre may increase your home’s present value, so your premiums may go up. On the other hand, improvements that increase home safety like an alarm system may lower your premiums. Note that you should tell your home insurer both before and after you renovate your Alberta home.

Roof

The average asphalt shingle roof will begin to wear down after approximately 10 to 15 years. Unless it’s properly maintained and repaired, your roof may increase the risk of letting water leak in and damage your house. Alberta home insurers may lower your quotes if they see that your home’s roof is made with high-quality, durable materials.

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 home.

Special Uses

While conducting business in your home won’t always increase your home 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 home 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.

Does Where You Live in Alberta Affect Your Home Insurance?

Where you live in Alberta affects your home insurance. Living in an area known for severe weather events, thefts, or other perils increases your risk, making you more likely to file insurance claims. This leads to insurers giving you higher home insurance quotes than similar homes in safer areas.

For instance, a home in a flood-prone area might land higher insurance rates than a comparable home in an area where flooding is uncommon.

Most Expensive Cities to Insure a Home in Alberta

Where you live in Alberta affects your home insurance. Living in an area known for severe weather events, thefts, or other perils increases your risk, making you more likely to file insurance claims. This leads to insurers giving you higher home insurance quotes than similar homes in safer areas.

CityAverage Annual Insurance Premium
Calgary$1,958
Grand Prairie$1,859
Spruce Grove$1,831

How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Alberta

If you’re trying to save money on your preferred home insurance coverage, here are some important steps to take:

Compare quotes

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 Alberta 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.

Pay annually

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.

FAQs About Home Insurance in Alberta

How much is home insurance in Alberta?[3]

The average cost of home insurance in Alberta is about $980 annually depending on the type of dwelling, location, and other factors. Home insurance costs differ between home insurance providers. Note that several considerations can increase or decrease the cost of your Alberta home insurance, such as your home’s value and the property’s condition. 

For a better overview of the cost of home insurance in Alberta, talk to an insurance broker or look up quotes on MyChoice.

Is home insurance mandatory in Alberta?

No, home insurance isn’t mandatory in Alberta. However, if you take out a mortgage on your home, your lender may require you to get coverage as a condition of getting a loan. 

It’s also highly recommended that you get home insurance even if it’s not mandatory, so you can protect your house and personal property in case of unforeseen events like fires and hailstorms.

Do I need home construction insurance in Alberta for my renovation?

Yes, if you’re planning a major home construction or renovation project in Alberta, home construction insurance will protect you and your home during the process.

Also known as builder’s risk insurance, home construction insurance provides coverage in the event of damage or loss to your home and construction materials during the construction process. Some companies that offer this policy type even have liability coverage in case someone gets injured on your property during construction.

What is the home insurance claims process in Alberta?

The home insurance claims process in Alberta varies between insurers, but it generally consists of the following steps:

Report the claim: Contact your insurer and inform them about the damage or loss, including relevant details and evidence like videos or photos.

Claim evaluation: Your insurer will assign an adjuster, who will schedule an assessment of the value of any loss or damage.

Approval or denial: After the home inspection and evaluating your documentation, your insurer will either deny your claim or approve it, offering a settlement for repairs or replacement of damaged property.

Claim resolution: If you accept the offer, the payment will be made. If not, you can negotiate with your insurer or file a dispute with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Alberta (FSRA).

Can you cancel home insurance in Alberta?

Yes, you can cancel your home insurance policy in Alberta. The process may vary depending on your insurer and policy terms. 

Generally, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider to let them know. Some insurers may require written notice of cancellation by mail or email. 

Keep in mind that if you cancel your policy before its expiry date, you may be subject to penalties or cancellation fees.

Do I need home insurance for Airbnb in Alberta?

Yes, you may need home insurance for Airbnb in Alberta. While Airbnb has some host protection insurance, its coverage is limited and may not cover all types of liabilities or damages if you’re using your home for short-term rentals. Having a home insurance policy can provide additional protection and peace of mind.

Note that renting out your property as an Airbnb without telling your insurer may void your policy, and not all home insurance policies include coverage for short-term rentals. Check with your home insurance company to see if your policy has this protection or if you need to get additional coverage.

I have a vacation home in another city in Alberta. Can I insure that home too even if I don’t always live there?

Yes, you can insure your vacation home in another city in Alberta even if you don’t always live there. There are insurance policies specially tailored to cover seasonal or vacation homes to protect your property, belongings, and other liabilities from damage or loss. 

Typically, these policies offer coverage for damages due to risks like fire, theft, and water damage. They may also have coverage for additional situations such as temporary living expenses if a covered risk makes your vacation home uninhabitable.

Home insurance companies have different requirements and limitations for vacation home insurance. In some cases, you may be required to take out additional coverage or accept different terms and conditions.

Is fire insurance mandatory in Alberta?

No, fire insurance is not mandatory in Alberta. However, it’s highly recommended that property owners get it to cover damages or loss to their property caused by fire, smoke, and other related perils.

Note that some Alberta mortgage lenders may require borrowers to have fire insurance coverage as a loan condition. This is because the property is collateral for the loan, and the mortgage lender may require coverage to protect the property from loss or damage.

Can I bundle home insurance with auto insurance in Alberta?

Yes, you can bundle home insurance with auto insurance in Alberta. Insurance companies typically offer bundled packages, and getting one can lead to big cost savings. It can also be more convenient for managing your insurance policies and premium payments, so you should compare bundles between insurers to see what discounts and levels of coverage they offer.

It’s my first time owning a house in Alberta. What type of home insurance should I get?

Before choosing a home insurance policy, first-time homeowners should consider the following factors:

– Financial capability
– Risk of exposure to specific risks in their area, such as flooding or earthquakes
– Home value and condition

If you’re on a low budget and live in an area that isn’t prone to natural disasters or crime, a basic policy may be enough for your needs. But if you want to cover all your bases, comprehensive home insurance will help you rest easy. 

Talk to your insurance provider to find the best option for your budget and the coverage you need.

Who has the best home insurance rates in Alberta?

There’s no definitive company that offers the “best” home insurance rates in Alberta. This is because different providers will have their own processes for assessing the cost of providing coverage, so premiums vary from company to company for the same homeowner-applicant.

To find the best Alberta home insurance rates, compare offers through MyChoice’s home insurance calculator. We can help you find the most affordable options on the market.

Will I be charged if I switch home insurance providers in Alberta?

Yes, you may be charged if you switch home insurance providers in Alberta. Depending on the terms of your current policy, your provider may charge a fee for cancelling your policy before its expiration, while others don’t. Review your policy and talk to your provider to prepare for potential penalties.

What companies offer high-risk home insurance in Alberta?

Most insurance companies in Alberta offer high-risk home insurance. However, the rates that they’ll present will vary depending on their assessed risk of insuring your property in your area, as well as the factors that make you “high-risk”.

High-risk home insurance can be much more expensive than a standard policy, so compare rates through MyChoice to find affordable coverage for your home.

What is a home insurance peril?

A home insurance peril is a risk or event that may cause damage or loss to your home, covered by your home insurance policy. Examples of perils typically covered by standard home insurance policies in Alberta are:

– Hail and ice damage
– Fire and smoke
– Damage from lightning strikes
– Theft
– Vandalism

Do I need home insurance before closing in Alberta?

You need home insurance before closing in Alberta if your mortgage lender requires it. Lenders require you to get home insurance because they have a stake in your property as well.

What factors aren’t used to calculate Alberta home insurance rates?

Factors that aren’t used to calculate Alberta home insurance rates include:

– Disability
– Marital status
– Political affiliation
– Race
– Religion
– Sexual orientation and gender

How is home insurance regulated in Alberta?

Home insurance in Alberta is regulated by the Superintendent of Insurance of the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance.

Sources

1. Statistics Canada, 2021, Census of Population, Alberta, Housing Statistics. Data Published March 29, 2023.

2. Province of Alberta. Link

3. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Home Insurance Quotes Collected, 2023.

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