If you’re tired of long commutes and big-city life, the five-minute commutes and vibrant community of Sault Ste. Marie will delight you. Known as the “Friendliest City in Algoma”, Sault Ste. Marie offers all the comforts of the big city bundled into a small-town package.
With high demand for various skilled professionals and affordable housing, it’s an excellent place to live if you’re looking for a new home away from the big city. Another reason to move to Sault Ste. Marie is its low home prices. You can find homes in Sault Ste. Marie priced half the national average.
However, there are many risks to your Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie to make the right decisions.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in Sault Ste. Marie?
Home insurance isn’t legally required in Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie:
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.
Coverage for loss or damage
Your home is at risk of suffering expensive damage or loss due to natural disasters or other perils like theft and vandalism. A home insurance policy can keep you from becoming house-poor if you need to rebuild your home or find a new one. It can even cover the cost of temporary housing as your home is repaired.
Lenders and financial institutions like banks may require you to get a home insurance policy as a condition for getting a mortgage loan.
How Does Home Insurance in Sault Ste. Marie Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie Usually Cost?
Home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie costs around $1,617 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 Sault Ste. Marie?
The cost of home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie:
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 Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie 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. Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie?
Many homeowners in Canada are affected by similar risks. However, there are some specific risks which Sault Ste. Marie homeowners should keep an eye on, and these are:
While crime levels differ from city to city, there’s always a risk of your home being damaged in criminal acts like vandalism and theft. In fact, Ontario has the highest crime rate in Canada, with a Crime Severity Index of 88.3.
Flooding in Ontario is extremely common because so many things can cause it. Some common flood causes include snow melts, heavy rains, and ice jams. Worse still, flash floods can happen with little to no warning. These frequent, sudden floods make flooding the costliest cause of property damage in the province. Sault Ste. Marie residents near the Goulais River should keep a close eye on water conditions during warm seasons, since floods are likely to happen.
On average, Ontario experiences around 1,000 major forest burns each year. These fires can damage homes and force people to evacuate in extreme cases. Fire departments across the province often issue fire bans that restrict the use of fire pits and other similar items to avoid house fires. In addition to the fire itself, haze and smoke from fires burning near Sault Ste. Marie can bring particles that damage your home and belongings.
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.
Does Where You Live in Sault Ste. Marie Affect Your Home Insurance?
Where you live in Sault Ste. Marie affects your home insurance. Insurers consider many different factors when determining your premiums. One of the major considerations is where you live in Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie
Researching a city’s housing statistics is a good way to determine whether living there is right for you. Here’s a look at the residential landscape in Sault Ste. Marie from the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Out of the 32,530 Sault Ste. Marie households surveyed, 21,150 (65%) of them live in single-detached homes. Low-rise apartments are the second-most popular type of dwelling in the city, with 4,965 households or 15.3% of the city’s residents. High-rise apartments come in third with 2,060 households or 6.3% of Sault Ste. Marie residents.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
Based on the 25% sample data taken by the survey, 68.3% of Sault Ste. Marie’s households own their homes, with the remaining 31.7% renting their homes. 880 households, or 2.7% of the city’s households, live in condominiums, while the remaining 97.3% live in non-condos.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
Most Sault Ste. Marie residents live in older homes, as seen by the majority of households living in homes built from 1961 to 1980 (41% share) and before 1960 (34.2% share). New homes are relatively rare, with only a total of 7.6% households living in homes built after 2000.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
While homes in Sault Ste. Marie are relatively old, they’re generally in good condition. Only 7.1% of the city’s households stated their home needed major repairs, compared to the remaining 92.9% who reported their homes are in good condition.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in Sault Ste. Marie
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 Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie
Is home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie mandatory?
No, home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie home insurance plan?
The following are typically not covered by a Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie?
Yes, you can cancel home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie. 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 Sault Ste. Marie home insurance rates?
These are some of the factors that companies typically won’t use to calculate Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie home insurance claims work?
Here’s how Sault Ste. Marie 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 Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA).
Do Sault Ste. Marie real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie for Airbnb?
Yes, you need home insurance in Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie home insurance fees tax-deductible?
Generally, Sault Ste. Marie 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 Sault Ste. Marie home insurance fees.