As the largest city in Alberta and one of the largest cities in the country, Calgary offers lots of work opportunities. Whether you’re looking for work at one of the many companies based in Calgary or starting your own business, you’ll find fruitful employment in the city.
Economist Intelligence named Calgary as the number one city to live in Canada and the third-best city to live in worldwide. The report cited Calgary’s high-quality healthcare, vibrant culture, and excellent infrastructure as some of the reasons why Calgary is such a great place to live in.
Here’s another reason living in Calgary is great: it’s affordable for such a big city. The living cost in Calgary is 18.6% lower than in Toronto, which means you can save a lot of money. Homes are also cheaper in Calgary, with an average home price of $538,561 – that’s over $600,000 under Toronto’s average
However, there are many risks to your Calgary home. From flooding due to heavy rain to fires, unforeseen incidents can damage your home or its attached structures severely, which can take a lot of money to repair. Somebody can even get into an accident on your property, which might result in hefty legal and medical fees.
Unexpected expenses due to these incidents can stretch your finances thin. The good news is that home insurance can help. A home insurance policy can foot your home repair bills if a covered peril damages it. Additionally, it pays for the many costs associated with personal injury lawsuits.
With the many options for home insurance, which one is right for you? There’s no one “best” home insurance policy for everybody, so you need to learn more about home insurance in Calgary to make the right decisions.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Calgary?
You technically don’t need home insurance in Calgary, 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.
Your mortgage lender may require home insurance as part of their loan conditions. Lenders tell borrowers to get home insurance to protect their investments.
In addition to protecting your home, insurance provides liability coverage to settle legal fees if somebody gets injured on your property.
How Does Home Insurance in Calgary Work?
Home insurance in Calgary 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 Calgary:
Your basic home insurance coverage in Calgary 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.
An Calgary home insurance policy comes with a standard set of insurance protection. Here’s an overview of the four coverages you get from Calgary 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.
Calgary 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.
Who Provides Home Insurance Quotes in Calgary?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Calgary. Here are the four providers that you can use or contact for home 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Calgary. Talk to your home insurance provider to see what’s covered by your policy in case of loss or damage.
How Much Does Home Insurance in Calgary Usually Cost?
Home insurance in Calgary costs around $1,958 annually. Home insurance premiums are affected by factors like your home’s age, roofing type, proximity to fire hydrants, and more.
Using your home as a place of business may also influence your home insurance rates. Using your home for business means more people coming in and out of your property, increasing your liability and risk of losing belongings.
What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Calgary?
The cost of home insurance in Calgary 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 Calgary:
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Whether you live in a condo unit or a single-detached home, different types of dwellings will be evaluated differently by an Calgary 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 Calgary home.
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. Calgary 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.
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.
Common Risk Factors for Homeowners in Calgary
Calgary is often exposed to extreme weather. Here are some common risk factors homeowners in Calgary should watch out for:
Crime levels vary in each city, but the overall crime rate in Alberta rose 5% between 2022 and 2023. A higher crime rate means you may encounter more theft, vandalism, and other incidents that damage your home.
Alberta sees an average of 208 wildfires annually from 2018 to 2022. However, that number doubled in 2023 with 416 wildfire incidents as of May. The fire risk in Alberta is high because the natural freeze and thaw cycles create dry grass that can ignite and start wildfires. Moreover, fires can start from human error due to lit cigarettes, candles, and electronic malfunctions. While residents within Calgary’s city limits are relatively safer from wildfires, that doesn’t mean you can rest easy, since fires can happen at any time.
Due to heavy rain and snow melt, Alberta is prone to flooding. Many of these are flash floods, meaning you may not have enough time to prepare. Since flash floods come with little to no warning, your property damage may be more severe. Calgary’s high river flow season lasts between May and July each year, which means you need to be extra vigilant for flooding during that period.
Hail and storms
Damage from high winds, storms, and hail is very common in Alberta. Adverse weather can damage your roofs, windows, and outdoor furniture if you don’t take steps to mitigate their effects. One of the most recent hail storms happened in July 2023, where hail stones pelted homes and gardens in some south Calgary neighbourhoods.
Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere, regardless of how safe your home is. People may hold you liable for slips and falls that happened on your property, which is where home insurance comes in. Home insurance policies can cover numerous costs related to a slip and fall lawsuit.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Calgary
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 Calgary 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.
Does Where You Live in Calgary Affect Your Home Insurance?
Where you live in Calgary 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.
The T2X postal code has the lowest average home insurance rates in the city, likely since it’s a fair distance away from the city centre.Meanwhile, T3A has the highest average home insurance rates in Calgary. T3A includes Edgemont and Varsity, which are safe and well-desired neighbourhoods, explaining its higher insurance costs.
Census Data – Housing Data in Calgary
Is living in Calgary right for you? Research can help you find the answer. To help you decide, here’s a look at Calgary’s key housing statistics from the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Calgary has 502,300 households, 55% of which live in single-detached homes. The share of residents living in single-detached homes in Calgary is quite large for a big city, especially considering Toronto only has 23.3% of households living in similar properties.
Apartments in low-rise buildings are the second-most popular type of dwelling with a 16.3% share of households, while row houses take third place with 9.7%.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owner
From the 25% sample data taken for the census, two-thirds or 68.8% of Calgary households own their homes, while the remaining 31.2% rent theirs. Around a quarter or 24.7% of Calgary households live in condominiums, with 75.3% living in non-condo properties.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
There’s a relatively even spread of home ages in Calgary. 26.5% of the city’s households live in homes built between 1961 to 1980, and 15.1% of households live in homes built between 1991 and 2000. Residents living in homes built before 1960 are the most uncommon, with just a 8.7% share of households.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
Calgary residents maintain their home well. 95.5% of households reported their homes only needed regular maintenance and minor repairs, while only 4.5% of them needed major repairs.
FAQs About Home Insurance in Calgary
Is home insurance in Calgary mandatory?
No, home insurance in Calgary is not mandatory. However, you should still consider getting home insurance to cover your house and belongings. A home insurance policy can give you the funds you need to repair or rebuild your home after an insured event causes loss or damage.
What is not covered by a typical Calgary home insurance plan?
The following are typically not covered by a Calgary home insurance plan:
Flooding: Flooding is a separate add-on.
Earthquakes: This risk is typically not covered, but you may opt to get an earthquake risk add-on.
Wear and tear: Damage or destruction caused by improper home maintenance won’t be covered.
Tenant damage: You’ll need separate coverage if you plan to use your home for short-term rentals.
Insect damage: Most insurers consider this a preventable risk and won’t cover it.
Mortgage or property taxes: These expenses are excluded as they’re unrelated to your policy.
Vacant dwelling: Leaving your home vacant for an extended period may void your policy.
Mould: Only mould caused by an insured peril will be covered by your policy.
Criminal activities: Home insurance doesn’t cover damage due to criminal activity conducted in your home, such as fraud.
Home business activities: Home businesses need to get separate home-based business insurance.
Can you cancel home insurance in Calgary?
Yes, you can cancel home insurance in Calgary. Note that cancelling your home insurance before its expiry may cause you to incur penalties and cancellation charges. That said, switching to a more affordable home insurer can offset the costs of cancelling your old policy.
Check your policy’s terms and conditions first to find out how to cancel your policy and what financial consequences to expect. Most home insurance companies will need a written notice of cancellation either physically mailed or emailed to them to formally start the step.
What factors aren’t used to calculate Calgary home insurance rates?
These are some of the factors that companies typically won’t use to calculate Calgary home insurance rates:
– Your age
– Your sex
– Your race
– Occupation (unless you regularly work from home, as some insurers may increase your quotes)
Some factors you may never even have considered can impact your rates, such as your marital status and credit score. Talk to your insurance company to find out more about what can increase or decrease your insurance quotes.
How do Calgary home insurance claims work?
Here’s how Calgary home insurance claims generally work, step by step:
Report the damage or loss: Inform your insurer about the loss or damage to file your claims. Include all relevant evidence, such as detailed descriptions of the event, photographs, and videos.
Evaluation: An adjuster from your home insurer will schedule a visit to assess the extent and value of the damage or destruction.
Approval or denial: After evaluating your documents and inspecting the damage, your insurer will either approve or deny your claim. If approved, they will offer a settlement amount.
Claim resolution: You can accept your settlement or negotiate with your insurer. In some instances, you may also file a dispute with the Alberta Superintendent of Financial Institutions (ASFI).
Do Calgary real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, Calgary real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance. While real estate prices aren’t used as a factor for calculating your home insurance premiums, they may indirectly affect the cost of coverage because they affect the cost of rebuilding or repairing a home that’s been damaged or destroyed.
Because higher real estate prices make the cost of rebuilding higher, this affects the amount of coverage you’ll need in a home insurance policy. Consequently, higher real estate prices tend to increase home insurance costs.
Do I need home insurance in Calgary for Airbnb?
Yes, you need home insurance in Calgary if you plan to use your house for short-term rentals on Airbnb. Getting home insurance isn’t mandatory and Airbnb offers very limited host protection insurance.
For peace of mind, getting home insurance for short-term rentals can protect your home. Notify your insurer if you plan to use your home as an Airbnb to see how much additional protection will cost. Renting your home out without informing them may void your policy.
Are Calgary home insurance fees tax-deductible?
Generally, Calgary home insurance fees aren’t deductible for personal residences. However, there are some instances where your home insurance fees may be tax-deductible, such as if your home is a rental property or used for business purposes. Consult a tax professional to see if you’re eligible for any deductions connected to your Calgary home insurance fees.