Just because home insurance in Chatham isn’t legally required, it doesn’t mean that you should do without it. A policy can protect you if a peril (e.g., flood, fire, theft, vandalism) damages your property or personal belongings. It can also cover you in the unfortunate event that someone gets injured on your property.
Home insurance policies have varying levels of coverage depending on your budget and needs. Learn more about how home insurance in Chatham works, what’s included in a standard policy, and how to save on premiums here.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Chatham?
You may end up needing home insurance in Chatham if your home gets damaged unexpectedly. It can protect you from financial loss if you have to:
Pay for repairs or rebuilding
If your home is damaged by flooding, snowfall, earthquakes, theft, or vandalism, home insurance can help you restore it without having to pay out of pocket.
Replace lost or damaged belongings
Your home is valuable, but so are the things in it. Policies can reimburse you for the cost of furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. if they are damaged or lost in a covered circumstance.
Rent temporary housing
If your house is so damaged that you can’t live in it, insurance can give you the money you need to rent temporary accommodations, such as a hotel or Airbnb.
Another instance where a home insurance policy can help you is if someone gets hurt on your property. The payout can cover any legal or medical fees after an accident or injury.
Additionally, home insurance may help you secure a home loan. While home insurance is not mandatory in Ontario, some lenders may require it before you can take out a mortgage. As having a policy lowers the risk of lending to you, loan providers may even offer better rates or terms.
How Does Home Insurance in Chatham Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, Chatham home insurance gives you financial coverage for your home in the event of certain unforeseen events. By purchasing a home insurance policy, you can file a claim that allows you to handle the cost of damage or losses covered under your policy terms.
There are three types of home insurance policies that you can buy in Chatham. Here’s a basic overview of each type:
This is usually the most affordable type of home insurance, where you can choose coverage only against specific perils. If it’s not listed in your basic policy, your insurer won’t give you coverage for that risk.
This is typically the most expensive option but also the one that offers the most protection for your home and belongings in it. Under comprehensive home insurance, you’ll have protection against all risks that aren’t explicitly excluded, as well as risks that don’t require optional add-ons.
This mid-price option offers comprehensive coverage for your home but basic coverage for your personal belongings. This means your home will be protected from all risks except those that need add-ons or are specifically excluded, while your possessions are only protected against risks listed in your policy.
The typical Chatham home insurance policy may come with these types of home insurance coverage and liability coverage. Here’s a quick description of each standard coverage inclusion:
- Additional living expenses: If you’re suddenly displaced from your home because of an insured risk, your policy will also cover the cost of temporary housing.
- Detached private structure: This covers damages to private, detached structures on your property, such as a detached garage or tool shed.
- Dwelling: This covers damages to your home (a.k.a. your dwelling) and its attached structures, like a garage. Coverage is typically for damages caused by risks such as lightning or fire, depending on the terms of your policy.
- Personal liability coverage: This covers settlements and legal expenses in case someone is accidentally injured on your property.
- Personal property: Home insurance policies also cover your personal property, such as furniture and appliances. Note that some special or high-value items like artwork may need additional coverage.
- Voluntary medical expenses: This coverage helps you pay for the medical expenses of a person you’ve unintentionally injured on your property or someone who accidentally hurts themselves on your property. This usually covers up to one year of expenses up to one year from the time of injury, with certain cost caps.
- Voluntary property damage: This covers direct damage or loss that you’ve unintentionally caused to someone else’s property. This also applies to unintentional loss or damage caused by a minor who is 12 years old or younger in your care.
Apart from the standard coverage offered by Chatham home insurance policies, there are other types of coverage you can purchase for extra protection for your property. These are some of the most common coverage add-ons:
- Credit and debit card forgery: This additional coverage will offset any financial losses or other damage you suffer because of credit or debit card forgery.
- Earthquakes: This add-on covers damage or losses due to earthquakes.
- Flooding: Protection from flooding typically includes both overland water and sewer back-up coverage. While you may opt to purchase these water-related add-ons separately, you may want to combine them into a flooding protection package because of severe weather and other regional risks.
- Freezer food: This protects food in your property’s freezers if your freezer malfunctions or there’s a power outage.
- Home sharing: Standard policies don’t cover loss or damage caused when you rent out your home. This add-on covers your property if you plan to use it for short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb.
- Identity theft: This covers the cost of replacing crucial documents for identification, such as your birth certificate and driver’s licence.
- Lock replacement: Some insurers offer to cover the cost of replacing your home’s locks.
- Mass evacuation: If the government issues an evacuation order due to an incident like a flood, this add-on covers some expenses incurred during your absence from your home.
- Overland water: Rainfall or thawing snow can cause nearby freshwater and wastewater sources to overflow beyond their typical levels. This add-on covers damage caused by this excess water when it seeps into your property.
- Personal valuables: Standard plans offer limited coverage known as riders for items like jewelry and artwork. This add-on increases the limits for these items in the event of loss or damage.
- Sewer backup coverage: If sewage or wastewater comes up from a main sewer, this add-on will cover the damage and losses caused.
Who Provides Home Insurance Quotes in Chatham?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Chatham. 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 Chatham. 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 Chatham Usually Cost?
Home insurance in Chatham usually costs $1,272/year, slightly less than the provincial average of $1,368/year. However, these are just averages – your insurance rate may be higher or lower depending on several factors. For example, if your house is older, more expensive, or requires significant repairs.
As such, we recommend requesting quotes from different providers to understand how much home insurance in Chatham will cost you. Each insurer has its own criteria for determining premiums, so you may get different rates even for the same house.
What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Chatham?
The cost of home insurance in Chatham 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 Chatham:
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 Chatham 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 Chatham 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. Chatham 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.
What Risks Affect Chatham Homeowners?
Erosion, floods, and storms are some of the most common risks that Chatham homeowners face. Here’s how each may affect your property and your choice of insurance:
Warmer winters result in higher erosion rates. Most erosion is slow, but it can add up and cause serious damage. Barrier beach erosion also increases wave height, which could further threaten coastal communities. Unfortunately, most insurance won’t cover damages to your home caused by erosion or landslides unless it was caused by an earthquake, although some policies may cover damages to retaining walls and other detached structures.
Storms and flooding
In the last 10 years, Chatham has experienced several hurricanes in the last 10 years. This means local homeowners have had to grapple with damage from both flooding and strong winds. While coverage for the former typically isn’t included in most standard home insurance policies, we highly recommend getting it as an add-on, especially considering that Chatham is located near lakes and waterways.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Chatham
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 Chatham 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 Chatham Affect Your Home Insurance?
Yes, where you live in Chatham can affect your home insurance. Insurers calculate your premiums based on how risky you are to insure, and where your property is is one of the biggest contributors to that risk.
Here are some of the ways your home’s location can affect your insurance:
Property crime rates
Most crimes in the county are property crimes. If you live in an area with higher reports of breaking and entering, insurance providers may consider you higher risk to insure.
Vulnerability to natural disasters
Homeowners who live near lakes and rivers are most at risk of flooding and erosion. This includes the Lake Erie coastline and downtown Chatham along the Thames River. Additionally, Zuzek Inc. estimates that almost 4 km of the Talbot Trail is threatened by erosion.
Census Data: Housing Data in Chatham
Knowing more about the average home in Chatham can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly. Below are statistics on Chatham housing, based on the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Single-detached homes comprise a majority of occupied dwellings in Chatham at 76%, while apartment buildings with less than five storeys make up another 11.5%.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
72% of all private households in Chatham are owned, while 28% are rented. Meanwhile, of the total occupied private dwellings, a mere 2.9% are condominiums.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
Timmins homes are generally older, with a whopping 91.3% built before 2000. Only 2.4% of homes in the city were built from 2016 to 2021.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
In Timmins, almost all homes (92.8%) only require minor repairs or maintenance, while 7.2% are in need of major repairs.
FAQs About Home Insurance in Chatham
Can you cancel home insurance in Chatham?
Yes, you can cancel your home insurance in Chatham. Check your policy’s terms and conditions for any fees or penalties you may incur, as these are typically charged if you cancel your policy before its end date.
Are Chatham home insurance fees tax deductible?
Generally, Chatham home insurance fees are not tax-deductible as they’re usually considered personal expenses. However, they may be tax-deductible in certain circumstances, such as running a home-based business or having a designated office area in your home. Consult a tax professional to learn if your insurance policies can be considered deductibles in your situation.
Do Chatham real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, Chatham real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance. Because high real estate prices translate to higher repair or restoration costs in the event of loss or damage, home insurers may charge higher premiums in higher-priced areas. The average price of a Chatham home is within the $400,000 to $500,000 range, making it a lot more affordable than the Ontario average of $950,000 to $1 million.
While it’s still recovering from the 2022 downturn, the Chatham market is well-supplied with homes, meaning there’s no lack of inventory for interested buyers. The number of sales and listings continues to rise, with 264 new listings in May 2023 – the highest number year-on-year for over a decade.
Do I need home insurance in Chatham for Airbnbs?
Yes, you need a specific type of home insurance in Chatham for Airbnbs. Property owners who run Airbnbs can apply for a customized rental insurance policy to protect against property damage or liabilities.
What factors aren’t used to calculate Chatham home insurance rates?
Factors that insurance providers don’t consider when calculating Chatham home insurance rates include the following:
Sexual orientation and gender
How expensive is insurance for a home in Chatham compared to the rest of Ontario?
Insurance for a home in Chatham is a little cheaper than the provincial average. Some factors which may affect this difference include the cost of living in this city, property values, and the incidence of natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms.
In Chatham, the cost of living is about 20% cheaper than the provincial average. That said, homes in the area are prone to serious damage from erosion and flooding. In April 2023, the Thames River overflowed due to heavy rainfall, leading to basement flooding in nearby businesses and homes. Just a few years earlier, erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline collapsed nearby embankments and damaged several properties.
Consult your preferred home insurer to find out what other factors may cause your Chatham policy quotes from them to be higher than the provincial average.