As a homeowner in Richmond Hill, you’re exposed to risks like fires and floods. Moreover, it can be costly to repair the damage caused by various perils. Home insurance gives you peace of mind by protecting your home, its attached structures, and its contents. It also provides liability coverage in the case of accidents happening on your property.
Learn how Richmond Hill insurance works, why getting a policy is a good idea, and how to save money on insurance premiums.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Richmond Hill?
Home insurance isn’t legally required in Richmond Hill. That said, having a policy is still a good idea. Home insurance protects you from unforeseen events that cause costly damages. Instead of paying to fix it out of pocket, your policy can lighten the financial load. Here’s a quick look at the reasons why you should get home insurance in Richmond Hill:
Accidents happen; when you do, you want to be protected. Unforeseen events can damage your property or get somebody injured on your property. Home insurance policies foot the liability costs of these incidents, meaning you don’t have to shell out as much for legal fees, medical expenses, and other costs you must pay.
Home and belongings protection
Protecting your home and its contents is often the primary reason people get home insurance. A home insurance policy can cover repair and replacement costs if any of your belongings are damaged due to unforeseen events.
Most mortgage lenders require you to get home insurance. Your lender has a financial interest because they have a stake in the house, so they’ll require you to have a home insurance policy to protect their investments.
How Does Home Insurance in Richmond Hill Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill. 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 Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Richmond Hill. 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 Richmond Hill. 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 Richmond Hill Usually Cost?
Home insurance in Richmond Hill costs around $1,195 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.
Why Are Richmond Hill Home Insurance Rates so Expensive?
There are three factors that may be driving up Richmond Hill home insurance rates. Here’s a quick explanation of why these things make premiums higher in Richmond Hill:
- Greater number of older properties: Most homes in Richmond Hill are quite old, so it’s more likely that they have older systems for heating, plumbing, and electricity. This increases your likelihood of filing a claim for a fire or flood.
- Higher real estate values: Real estate prices indirectly affect home insurance premiums. As home values go up, so do the cost of rebuilding and the amount of coverage you’ll need from a policy.
- Housing density: Richmond Hill is densely populated, and most of its homes are connected houses or apartments with very little space between units. This increases the risk of spreading fires between homes.
What Determines the Cost of Home Insurance in Richmond Hill?
The cost of home insurance in Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill:
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 Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill 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. Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill?
Every area has unique risks that can damage or even destroy homes. Here are some common risks that you should watch out for as a Richmond Hill resident:
As a whole, Ontario averages around 1,000 major forest burns annually. Most recently, Richmond Hill emergency services issued a city-wide burn ban in June 2023 in response to the Ontario and Quebec forest fires. Fortunately, fire protection is usually one of the basic coverages in a home insurance policy.
Water damage is one of Ontario’s most common causes of home insurance claims, especially damage caused by overland flooding. Unfortunately, basic home insurance policies usually don’t cover overland flooding, so you must purchase additional protection.
Does Where You Live in Richmond Hill Affect Your Home Insurance?
Where you live in Richmond Hill affects your home insurance. Insurers consider many different factors when determining your premiums. One of the major considerations is where you live in Richmond Hill. Here’s a breakdown of why your home’s location matters to home insurance companies:
Your rates may increase as the likelihood of fires in your neighbourhood increases. You should be wary of the risk of fires, which may happen from appliance malfunction, electrical faults, and other causes. Closely grouped older homes are more prone to fires because they can easily spread to nearby homes when a fire starts.
Your insurer usually checks how many home insurance claims were made in your neighbourhood. More claims usually mean homes in that area are more likely to be damaged, raising the area’s insurance rates.
Proximity to fire hydrants and other infrastructure
Access to fire hydrants and other infrastructure affects your quotes because it affects how fast emergency services can arrive at your home. Faster and easier access to emergency aid usually leads to lower premiums.
Census Data: Housing Data in Richmond Hill
Want to learn more about the housing landscape in Richmond Hill? Here’s a look at housing data in Richmond Hill from the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Most (56.7%) dwellings in Richmond Hill are single-detached houses. Apartments in buildings over five storeys and row houses take second and third place as the most popular dwellings in the city, at 18.7% and 15.2%, respectively.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
Out of the 25% sample data taken for this census, over three-quarters (78.2%) of Richmond Hill residents own their homes, with the remaining 21.8% living in rental properties. 79.9% of the sampled dwellings are non-condominiums, while the remaining 20.1% are condominiums.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
Out of the 25% sample data, homes built between 1991 and 2000 are the most common at 23%. Meanwhile, older homes built before 1960 are the least common at just 5%.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
Richmond Hill homes are generally well-kept, with 96.3% of them only needing minor repairs and regular maintenance. Meanwhile, the remaining 3.7% need major repairs.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Richmond Hill
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 Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill
Can you cancel home insurance in Richmond Hill?
Yes, you can cancel your home insurance in Richmond Hill. 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 Richmond Hill home insurance fees tax deductible?
Generally, Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill home is approximately $1,439,192, nearly double the Ontario average.
The average home price in Richmond Hill rose considerably over the last six months, jumping from $1,210,114 in December 2022 to $1,439,182 in May 2023. With rising home prices, we can likely expect the insurance cost to follow suit in the future.
Do I need home insurance in Richmond Hill for Airbnbs?
Yes, you need a specific type of home insurance in Richmond Hill 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 Richmond Hill home insurance rates?
Factors that insurance providers don’t consider when calculating Richmond Hill home insurance rates include the following:
Sexual orientation and gender
How expensive is insurance for a home in Richmond Hill compared to the rest of Ontario?
Insurance for a home in Richmond Hill is about $200 lower than the provincial average, depending on the type of coverage you get. 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 Richmond Hill, the cost of living is about 3% higher than the provincial average. Richmond Hill has also been under a burning ban since early June 2023 in response to the Ontario and Quebec forest fires. Consult your preferred home insurer to find out what other factors may cause your Richmond Hill policy quotes from them to be higher than the provincial average.