Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or planning to buy a new home in Niagara Falls, you may have considered getting home insurance. Though home insurance isn’t legally required, a policy can protect your house, belongings, and even your liability in case of injuries, accidents, or other unforeseen events like a fire.
Home insurance has three levels of coverage: basic, broad, and comprehensive. Each one has different levels of protection, but you can get add-ons to cover more risks. Learn more about Niagara Falls home insurance, how to lower your quotes, and what risks you should look out for as a homeowner.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Niagara Falls?
You don’t really “need” home insurance in Niagara Falls, but it’s still highly recommended for homeowners because of the protection it affords. Natural disasters or unpredictable situations like break-ins or fires can result in damage or even total destruction, resulting in huge expenses you may not be able to handle. Here’s how home insurance can help:
Protection for your house and possessions
Both your home and personal belongings have financial and sentimental value, but they can be damaged or lost at any time by unpredictable causes. A home insurance policy financially prepares you for perils like hail storms and flooding so you’re not worrying over hefty bills.
Protection for additional structures
Apart from your main house, your home may also have attached structures such as a tool shed or garden gazebo. A home insurance policy can also cover these structures from included risks so you won’t be out of pocket if they need repairs or replacement.
If you took out a mortgage, your Niagara Falls bank or lending institution may have required you to get home insurance before you receive your loan. This is because your lender now has a financial interest in protecting your house and its attached structures from risks, and home insurance is seen as an assurance that these will be covered in the case of unforeseen events.
How Does Home Insurance in Niagara Falls Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls. 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 Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Niagara Falls. 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 Niagara Falls. 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 Niagara Falls Usually Cost?
The average cost of home insurance in Niagara Falls is anywhere between $828 to $1,380 annually. Note that your own quotes may be affected by different factors like your neighbourhood’s claim history, discounts received for bundling with auto insurance, and the age and size of your home.
For example, if your neighbourhood has well-maintained roads or has fire hydrants nearby, your quotes may be lower. On the other hand, if you live in a neighbourhood where more insurance claims have been filed or there’s greater exposure to certain risks, your premiums may be higher.
What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Niagara Falls?
The cost of home insurance in Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls:
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 Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls 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. Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls Homeowners?
If you’re a Niagara Falls homeowner, you’ll need to be more vigilant against certain risks that may damage or destroy your home and belongings. These are some of the most common risks faced by Niagara Falls homeowners which may affect the amount of coverage you’ll want from a policy:
Very cold winters
Winter can damage both the exterior and interior of your home, with common winter-caused problems being frozen pipes, sidewalk cracks, and leaky roofs. Niagara Falls residents should also be wary about melting snow trickling into their homes and causing water damage.
According to the 2021 Canada Crime Severity Index, the rates for both violent and non-violent crimes have gone up in the Niagara region. Niagara Falls homeowners can protect their property from intruders by installing security systems, changing to stronger locks, and putting up strong fencing.
Flooding is a major concern for many Canadian homeowners, but Niagara Falls homeowners should be especially vigilant because of the numerous surrounding waterways. Because of rain and melting snowfall, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority periodically issues flood watches to warn residents of riverbank floods.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Niagara Falls
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 Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls Affect Your Home Insurance?
Yes, where you live in Niagara Falls can affect your home insurance. Niagara Falls home insurers will look at a number of considerations before offering you quotes, and one of their biggest considerations is where your home is located. These are some of the ways that your Niagara Falls home’s location affects your premiums:
Local claims history
Many Niagara Falls home insurance companies will assess the number of claims that have been made in your neighbourhood in recent years. If more claims have been made in your zip code, your home insurance premiums will generally be higher. This is because your insurer may deem it more likely that you’ll file a claim too.
Incidence of natural disasters like flooding
Simply put, if more natural disasters have occurred and caused property damage in your neighbourhood, your quotes will likely be higher. For example, some parts of Niagara Falls are more prone to flooding than others due to their proximity to waterways, so home insurance tends to be more expensive in these neighbourhoods.
Proximity to fire hydrants and fire stations
Fire is a risk that all homeowners face. It can be started by a wide range of causes such as a defective appliance or unattended stove, and it also spreads quickly between homes. Generally, being closer to a fire hydrant or fire station reassures a Niagara Falls home insurer that you face a reduced risk of damage or loss, so this may make your premiums more affordable.
Census Data: Housing Data in Niagara Falls
Wondering about the average age and condition of homes in Niagara Falls, or how many rent their homes instead of owning them? Here’s a quick overview of Niagara Falls housing data according to the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Nearly two-thirds of Niagara Falls’ occupied dwellings are single-detached houses (66.1%). Only 13.2% of occupied dwellings in Niagara Falls are apartments in buildings that have fewer than five storeys.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
Most Niagara Falls residents own their private residences (70.4% of a 25% sample data set), while only 29.6% declared that they were renting their homes. 92.1% of Niagara Falls residents surveyed live in occupied dwellings that are not condominiums, compared to just 7.9% of residents living in condominiums in Niagara Falls.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
Nearly a third of private dwellings in Niagara Falls (30.9%) were built in 1960 or earlier, while 29.9% were constructed from 1961 to 1980. Newer homes are fewer in this city, with just 6.9% of homes constructed from 2016 to 2021.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
Most Niagara Falls homes are in good shape, with 94.6% of homes needing only regular maintenance and minor repairs. Just 5.4% of occupied Niagara Falls private dwellings need major repairs.
FAQs About Home Insurance in Niagara Falls
Can you cancel home insurance in Niagara Falls?
Yes, you can cancel your home insurance in Niagara Falls. 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 Niagara Falls home insurance fees tax deductible?
Generally, Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls home in 2023 is within the $1,000,000 range, making it much higher compared to the Ontario average.
The average prices of all home types have gone up in Niagara Falls this year. This may be due to reduced listings despite a pick-up in buying intentions, causing competition between interested buyers. These higher prices and greater demand in turn may also increase the price of Niagara Falls home insurance.
Do I need home insurance in Niagara Falls for Airbnbs?
Yes, you need a specific type of home insurance in Niagara Falls 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 Niagara Falls home insurance rates?
Factors that insurance providers don’t consider when calculating Niagara Falls home insurance rates include the following:
Sexual orientation and gender
How expensive is insurance for a home in Niagara Falls compared to the rest of Ontario?
Insurance for a home in Niagara Falls can be lower or higher 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 Niagara Falls, the cost of living is about 12.9% lower than the provincial average. In 2022, a flood alert was issued for the Niagara region because of an anticipated winter storm causing huge waves and higher water levels in Lake Erie. The risk of flooding is also continually present in this area, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Consult your preferred home insurer to find out what other factors may cause your Niagara Falls policy quotes from them to be higher than the provincial average.