With so many moving parts, home insurance can be challenging to understand. But if you want to protect yourself, your home, and your loved ones, there are a few basic things you need to know.
Keep reading to learn all about home insurance in Kingston, including how the process works, what affects your premiums, and where to find the best insurance providers for you.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Kingston?
Home insurance is not mandatory in Kingston, but we highly recommend getting a policy. Here’s why:
Coverage for damage or loss
Natural disasters, theft, and vandalism can all damage your home. Aside from the stress it can cause, it can also be expensive to recover from – you may even end up house-poor if you can’t afford renovations or a new home. Thankfully, home insurance can cover the damages, plus the cost of temporary housing while your house is being repaired.
Coverage for liabilities
Home insurance can help you cover legal fees and settlements if someone is hurt or injured on your property.
Requirement for mortgage
Some lenders require you to get home insurance before you can get a home loan.
How Does Home Insurance in Kingston Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, Kingston 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 Kingston. 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 Kingston 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:
- 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.
- Detached private structure: This covers damages to private, detached structures on your property, such as a detached garage or tool shed.
- 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.
- 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.
- Personal liability coverage: This covers settlements and legal expenses in case someone is accidentally injured on your property.
- 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.
- 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.
Apart from the standard coverage offered by Ontario 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 Kingston?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Kingston. 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 Kingston. 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 Kingston Usually Cost?
Because home insurance rates are determined by a variety of factors, there’s not going to be a definitive answer as to how much Kingston home insurance premiums will cost.
Insurance providers will look at the value and age of your home, where it’s located, and what policy type you prefer. Expect to get different quotes, as different companies will have different ways to assess your coverage needs and potential risk.
That said, the cost of home insurance in Kingston ranges from $644 to $1288/year, with premiums averaging at $1,011/year. This is much lower than Ontario’s average of $1,368/year.
What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Kingston?
The cost of home insurance in Kingston 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 Kingston:
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 Kingston 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 Kingston 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. Kingston 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 Homeowners in Kingston?
Canadian homeowners across the nation experience similar natural and man-made risks, but there are a few risks specific to the Kingston area. These include:
Whether from storms, thawed snow, or damaged piping, water can be a destructive force on your home. If moisture seeps into your house, it can significantly weaken the infrastructure, cause mould, and even pose a risk to your well-being. You can get flood protection as an add-on to your policy.
While Kingston isn’t particularly prone to strong earthquakes, there have been more than 150 earthquakes that occurred within 500 km of the city within the last decade. Kingston is also close to Ottawa and Quebec, two cities that were seriously damaged in the 2010 Central Canada earthquake. Earthquake coverage is typically added to a standard home insurance policy.
When it comes to natural disasters most Kingston residents are primarily concerned with harsh winter conditions such as blizzards and ice storms. Cold temperatures can freeze pipes, which can lead to extensive (and expensive) damage.
Does Where You Live in Kingston Affect Your Home Insurance?
Yes, where you live in Kingston can affect your home insurance. Insurance providers take into account various factors related to your location when determining your home insurance rates and coverage. Here are some ways in which the location within Kingston can impact your home insurance:
The crime rates in your neighborhood can influence your home insurance premiums. Areas with higher crime rates, including theft, vandalism, and burglaries, are considered riskier, and insurance providers may charge higher premiums to offset the potential risk of property damage or theft. Petty thefts and vandalism are considered relatively moderate in Kingston. Some areas with high crime include Chandler-Mowat, Cedar Hill, and the Market District.
Proximity to emergency services
The distance between your home and the nearest fire or police station, as well as the availability of fire hydrants in your area, can impact your home insurance rates.
The cost of rebuilding or repairing your home in case of a loss is a significant factor in determining home insurance rates. Residential development costs in Kingston for a single detached home cost roughly $14,000 in central neighborhoods.
Does Where You Live in Kingston Affect Your Home Insurance?
Yes, where you live in Kingston can affect your home insurance. Insurance companies take your location into consideration when setting your premiums as certain places pose more risk.
Living in a location that’s considered “riskier” increases your likelihood of filing a claim, so insurers charge accordingly. For example, if you live in an area of Kingston that sees a lot of property crime, you might pay more than someone in a safer area, even if they have a house of similar size, condition, and value.
Downtown Kingston is known for having higher rates of theft and break-ins than other areas of the city. Thus, rates in this area may be higher than the average.
Census Data: Housing Data in Kingston
Learn more about the average Kingston home, based on housing data in the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
A third (33.1%) of occupied Kingston homes are in apartment buildings, but a large majority (48%) are single-detached houses.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
Most Kingston houses are owned (55.9%), while rentals come in second (44.2%). Condominium dwellings make up just 6.6% of the owned housing market, while 93.4% are other types of dwellings (e.g., semi-detached).
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
More than half of the homes in Kingston (52.7%) were constructed before 1980. Only 5% of houses in Kingston were built from 2016 to 2021.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
If you have a Kingston home, chances are it only needs minor repairs and maintenance. Only 6.5% of homes in Kingston need major repairs.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Kingston
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 Kingston 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.
FAQs About Home Insurance in Kingston
Can you cancel home insurance in
Yes, you can cancel your home insurance in Kingston. 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.
home insurance fees tax deductible? Kingston
Generally, Kingston 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.
real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance? Kingston
Yes, Kingston 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 Kingston home is within the $550,000 to $600,000 range, making it less expensive than the Ontario average of $950,000 to $1 million.
While homes in urban areas like Downtown Kingston still fetch high prices, real estate prices in Kingston have decreased since the previous year. Average residential sale prices are expected to increase in 2023, and rural listings in Kingston are getting more expensive as well, thanks to more demand from move-up buyers and remote workers. The limited number of houses on the market has created bidding wars for available homes, further driving prices up.
Do I need home insurance in
for Airbnbs? Kingston
Yes, you need a specific type of home insurance in Kingston 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
home insurance rates? Kingston
Factors that insurance providers don’t consider when calculating Kingston home insurance rates include the following:
Sexual orientation and gender
How expensive is insurance for a home in
compared to the rest of Ontario? Kingston
Insurance for a home in Kingston is about $200 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 Kingston, the cost of living is about 20% lower than the provincial average. That said, Kingston is also prone to extreme winters that can result in property damage, such as the 2022 holiday weekend storm that toppled trees and power lines into homes. Consult your preferred home insurer to find out what other factors may cause your Kingston policy quotes from them to be higher than the provincial average.