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

Updated on May 30, 2024

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated May 30, 2024

Visit author page

9 minute read

Article Contents

Quick Facts About Home Insurance in British Columbia

  • The average annual cost of home insurance in British Columbia is around $1,250.
  • Some of the more expensive cities for home insurance in the province are Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond.

As a homeowner in British Columbia, you’ll need to learn to navigate its home insurance landscape. Unfortunately, it can be confusing, thanks to the abundance of insurance options, risk factors, and insurance companies.

Knowing the ins and outs of home insurance in British Columbia helps you find the best policy deals. Discover what types of insurance coverages are available, what to do to save money on insurance, and what risk factors are common to homeowners in the province.

Common Risk Factors for Homeowners in British Columbia

Different parts of Canada have their own unique risk factors for homeowners. Here are two major risk factors you may encounter when living in British Columbia:

Earthquakes

British Columbia is prone to earthquakes. Notably, Victoria and Vancouver are two heavily-populated areas located on two major tectonic plates. Unfortunately, earthquake coverage isn’t in the standard protection package offered by most insurance policies. You need to buy an earthquake endorsement to protect yourself from them.

Forest Fires

Homes in areas like Vancouver Island, Penticton, and Kelowna are more prone to fire damage because they’re close to dense forests. Fortunately, fire damage coverage is usually standard in most British Columbia home insurance policies. That said, double-checking with your insurer is still a good idea to ensure you’re adequately protected.

Does Where You Live in British Columbia Affect Your Home Insurance?

Where you live in British Columbia affects your home insurance, because different areas have different risks. For instance, living in Vancouver Island increases your home’s risk of fire damage, which may raise your likelihood of making insurance claims. A home in Vancouver Island and a comparable home somewhere less fire-prone may have different insurance rates.

Most Expensive Cities to Insure a Home in British Columbia

The average home insurance rate that you pay will vary depending on which city you live in British Columbia, rates can vary greatly based on your surroundings. For the most part, the more expensive locations are in and around Vancouver which shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, the median house price for the area can be up to 9x higher than the rest of the province, which affects home insurance rates.

CityAverage Annual Insurance Premium
Vancouver$1,425
North Vancouver$1,384
Richmond$1,381

Housing Data in British Columbia

The 2021 Census of Population has complete information on the housing landscape in British Columbia. Here’s a summary of several key points:

Type of Occupied Dwelling

Most British Columbia homes are single-detached, making up 42.4% of the province’s total dwellings. However, single-detached homes aren’t in the vast majority like many other Canadian provinces. All types of apartments make up 43.5% of the province’s total dwellings, beating out single-detached homes by a single percent.

Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owner

Two-thirds (66.8%) of homes in British Columbia are owned, while one-third (32.8%) are rented. Non-condominium homes comprise the majority of the province’s homes at 76.4%, while condominium homes at 23.6%.

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

At 27%, most homes in British Columbia were built between 1961 to 1980. In contrast, the fewest homes were built from 2001 to 2005, making up only 6% of total homes in the province.

Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?

Almost all homes in British Columbia are well-maintained, with 94.2% of them only needing minor repairs. Meanwhile, 5.8% of homes require major repairs.

How Does Home Insurance in British Columbia Work?

Home insurance in British Columbia works by compensating you if your home or its contents get damaged by unforeseen events. If the events are covered in your policy, you can file an insurance claim to receive money. Tenant insurance and condo insurance work the same way but for different types of dwellings.

Here are the three types of home insurance coverage available in British Columbia:

Basic home insurance in British Columbia only protects your home and property from specifically-named perils and nothing else. For instance, if you pick “fire” as a named peril, you’ll receive compensation if your home is damaged in a fire but not if your home is damaged in a hurricane.

Broad coverage protects your home’s structure from most perils but only protects your belongings from specifically-named perils.

Comprehensive coverage is your all-in insurance coverage, where your home and its contents are protected from all risks aside from specifically-named exclusions. Fortunately, you can patch up these holes in coverage by purchasing optional coverage like earthquake insurance and flood insurance.

Typical British Columbia home insurance policies come with a standard set of insurance protection. Here’s a look at what you’ll get from a home insurance policy:

  • Additional living expenses: This covers the costs of living away from home, like hotel expenses, if an insured peril damages your home.
  • Detached private structure: This protects you from damage to detached structures that are part of your property, like tool sheds and pool houses.
  • Dwelling building: This protects your main dwelling building and all its attached structures. It also covers pools and permanent outdoor installations.
  • Personal liability: This protects you from lawsuits against you if somebody suffers an injury on your property.
  • Personal property: This covers damages to your belongings which include furniture, clothes, and more. Valuable items like jewellery may need extra insurance coverage.
  • Voluntary medical payments:  This covers medical payments for injuries suffered on your property.
  • Voluntary property damage: This covers repair and replacement of another person’s property due to damages caused by you or your household member.

You can buy additional endorsements to increase your home insurance protection. These endorsements protect you from perils not included in your main policy. Here are the add-ons you can buy for your British Columbia home insurance policy:

  • Credit/debit card forgery and counterfeit: This endorsement offsets the financial loss caused due to credit card theft, forgery, or counterfeiting.
  • Earthquake: This endorsement protects your home from earthquake damage. It’s a good idea to purchase this in British Columbia since the province often experiences earthquakes. 
  • Freezer food: This endorsement covers you for any loss of food caused by freezer failure.
  • Identity theft: This endorsement replaces the money you lose when recovering from identity theft.
  • Lock replacement: This endorsement helps replace your locks after somebody breaks into your home.
  • Mass evacuation: This endorsement helps fund your living expenses if you have to evacuate your home.
  • Overland water: This endorsement protects you from damage caused by overflowing bodies of water or spring thaw.
  • Sewer backup: This endorsement protects you from damages caused by sewer water issues.

FAQs About Home Insurance in British Columbia

How much is home insurance in British Columbia?[2]

The average cost of home insurance in British Columbia is about $1,250 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 British Columbia home insurance, such as your home’s value and the property’s condition. 

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

Is home insurance mandatory in British Columbia?

No, home insurance isn’t mandatory in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia for my renovation?

Yes, if you’re planning a major home construction or renovation project in British Columbia, 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 British Columbia?

The home insurance claims process in British Columbia 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 British Columbia (FSRA).

Can you cancel home insurance in British Columbia?

Yes, you can cancel your home insurance policy in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia?

Yes, you may need home insurance for Airbnb in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia. 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 British Columbia 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 British Columbia?

No, fire insurance is not mandatory in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia 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 British Columbia?

Yes, you can bundle home insurance with auto insurance in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia. 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 British Columbia?

There’s no definitive company that offers the “best” home insurance rates in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia 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 British Columbia?

Yes, you may be charged if you switch home insurance providers in British Columbia. 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 British Columbia?

Most insurance companies in British Columbia 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 British Columbia are:

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

Do I need home insurance before closing in British Columbia?

You need home insurance before closing in British Columbia 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 British Columbia home insurance rates?

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

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

How is home insurance regulated in British Columbia?

Home insurance in British Columbia is regulated by the British Columbia Financial Services Authority, which oversees and regulates the daily operations of insurers in the province.

Methodology

Profiles

Average rates were calculated using a standard profile and incident profiles. All personal details pertaining to the quotes and policies have been kept confidential.

Standard Profile

Quoted rates are based on either a 35-year-old male and/or female homeowners with a clean claim history and good credit. They are also non-smokers and live in a home with monitored fire alarms and burglar alarms. The homeowners also have a $1,000 deductible, a $1,000,000 liability and water damage included.

Incident Profiles

We examined how rates change by evaluating profiles. We looked at the most common home insurance claims in Canada: water damage claims, sewer backup claims, breaking/theft claims and property damage claims like wind/hail damage while comparing to a rate with a clean record (standard).

Home Details

Quoted rates are based on either a semi-detached or detached 3 or 4 bedroom home with a valuation around or close to $1,000,000.

Team

MyChoice data science, MyChoice research.

Sources

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

2. Mychoice.ca Internal Data, Home Insurance Quotes Collected, 2024.

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