Though home insurance isn’t legally required, St. Catherines homeowners should still consider getting a policy. Home insurance covers your home and personal possessions in case they’re destroyed or damaged by an insured risk such as a flood or a fire. A policy also covers your liability if an accident results in injuries or damage to your home.
Learn more about how St. Catherines home insurance works, what its standard inclusions are, and what add-ons you can get for more protection. Discover how your home’s location affects your quotes and what risks you should be mindful of as a St. Catherines homeowner.
Why Do I Need Home Insurance in St. Catharines?
Home insurance isn’t mandatory for St. Catherines homeowners, but it’s still a good idea to get a policy for your peace of mind. Natural disasters can cause unexpected damage and destruction, as can accidents in your home. These can result in big bills you may have trouble paying without a policy to cover you.
Here are some compelling reasons why you should get home insurance in St. Catharines:
Fulfillment of mortgage requirements
St. Catharines banks and lending institutions typically require you to get home insurance as a loan condition. Because your bank or private lender is financially invested in your property’s safety, a policy reassures them that your home will be protected from destruction or damage caused by various perils.
Coverage for your house and personal possessions
Your home and your belongings are vulnerable to damage or destruction from causes like flooding, fires, and hailstorms. A home insurance policy can help you manage the steep costs of repairs and restoration, protecting you from a wide range of risks.
No matter how many precautions you take, there will be times when accidents just can’t be helped. These unforeseen incidents can result in someone getting injured in your house or in your property being damaged. A home insurance policy covers your liability in these situations, giving you much-needed funds for related expenses like legal fees and repair bills.
How Does Home Insurance in St. Catharines Work?
As with other insurance products like tenant insurance or condo insurance, St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines?
There are different ways that you can get a home insurance quote in St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines Usually Cost?
The average cost of home insurance in St. Catharines is $1,914 annually. Note that your quotes will go up or down depending on different factors like your neighbourhood’s claims history, your home’s proximity to fire hydrants, and the area’s crime rate.
If your neighbourhood has a lower crime rate, easier access to emergency services, and well-maintained infrastructure, this can result in more affordable home insurance premiums. However, if your area is more densely populated or has increased exposure to certain perils, this can increase the average quotes in your zip code. This is because these considerations increase the chances that a policyholder will file a claim.
Why Are St. Catharines Home Insurance Rates so Expensive?
There are three factors that may be driving up St. Catharines home insurance rates. Here’s a quick explanation of why these things make premiums higher in St. Catharines:
- Greater number of older properties: Most homes in St. Catharines 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: St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines?
The cost of home insurance in St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines:
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 St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines 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. St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines?
If you’re a homeowner in St. Catharines, there are specific risks that you need to be vigilant against as they’re more likely to damage or destroy your home and belongings. Here are some common perils that may affect St. Catharines residents and the type of coverage they may need:
Flooding can be caused by various reasons such as excessive rain and thawing snow. St. Catharines experienced overland flooding in 2014, costing residents thousands of dollars for repairs or restoration. More recently, residents suffered property damage due to overflowing sewers in 2019, when unprecedented rainfall caused basements to flood and led to over 300 calls to the city for help. Note that overland flooding is not part of a standard policy, so consider getting this add-on for extra protection.
Winter temperatures in St. Catharines stay well below freezing temperatures all day from November to April. The temperature in St. Catherines doesn’t rise above 32°F for nearly a third of the year, so homeowners need to take precautions against frozen pipes or water damage from thawing snow.
Both non-violent and violent crime rates have gone up in St. Catharines, according to data from the 2021 Canada Crime Severity Index. This may increase the risk of damage or destruction due to crimes like vandalism, break-ins, and theft. St. Catharines homeowners should consider adding safeguards like additional locks, durable fences, and home security systems.
Does Where You Live in St. Catharines Affect Your Home Insurance?
Yes, where you live in St. Catharines can affect your home insurance. Home insurance companies will look at different considerations to calculate your premiums, and one of these is your neighbourhood. Here are some ways that your location can make your quotes cheaper or more expensive:
Home insurance companies will look at how many claims have been filed in your neighbourhood in the past few years. If more claims have been filed in your area, your quotes are likely to be higher as your insurer may consider your likelihood of filing to be higher too.
Protection from fires
Fire is a common insured risk and can start due to a variety of causes, such as damaged wiring, defective appliances, or an unattended stove. If you live close to the fire department and fire hydrants, this reassures your home insurance company that you’ll have a fast response to protect your home and possessions.
Unfortunately, several parts of St. Catharines are prone to flooding. Over the past few years, there have been several incidents of serious flooding due to heavy rainfall that the city’s sewer system simply can’t handle. Generally, the more often that flooding has historically happened in your area, the higher your home insurance premiums will be.
Census Data: Housing Data in St. Catharines
Wondering how many St. Catharines residents own their homes instead of renting them, or the average condition of a St. Catharines home? Here’s a breakdown of housing data in St. Catharines according to the 2021 Census of Population:
Type of Occupied Dwelling
Over half (55.6%) of St. Catharines’s occupied dwellings are single-detached houses, while 14.4% are apartments in buildings that have fewer than five storeys. The third-most common type of occupied dwelling in the city is an apartment in a building that has five or more storeys, at 11%.
Owner vs Renter Stats/Condo vs Non-Condo Owners
From a 25% sample, the census found that a majority of St. Catharines residents own their private dwellings (64.4%). 35.6% of all private dwellings are rented. A vast majority of those surveyed in St. Catharines live in occupied dwellings that are not condominiums (89.3%), while only 10.7% live in condominiums.
Private Dwellings by Period of Construction: New or Older Homes?
The majority of St. Catharines’ residents were constructed before 1990, with 32.5% of homes built in 1960 or earlier, and 38.5% constructed between 1961 to 1980. Only 2.8% of St. Catharines homes were constructed between 2016 to 2021.
Major Repairs or Just Maintenance Needed?
Though many St. Catharines homes are older, most of them (94.2%) need only regular maintenance and minor repairs. Just 5.8% of houses in the city need major repairs.
How You Can Get Cheap Home Insurance in St. Catharines
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 St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines
Can you cancel home insurance in St. Catharines?
Yes, you can cancel your home insurance in St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines home insurance fees tax deductible?
Generally, St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?
Yes, St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines home is within the $580,000 range, making it lower than the Ontario average.
The St. Catharines real estate market has been noticeably cooler this year, with prices dipping from the city’s previous MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark price of $741,800. The number of home sales has also declined in the city, and homes are taking longer to sell after being placed on the market. These lowered prices may cause home insurance premiums to dip as well, so talk to your preferred home insurer to see how the market may lower your quotes.
Do I need home insurance in St. Catharines for Airbnbs?
Yes, you need a specific type of home insurance in St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines home insurance rates?
Factors that insurance providers don’t consider when calculating St. Catharines home insurance rates include the following:
Sexual orientation and gender
How expensive is insurance for a home in St. Catharines compared to the rest of Ontario?
Insurance for a home in St. Catharines is about $600 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 St. Catharines, the cost of living is about 12.6% lower than the provincial average. St. Catharines has also experienced severe flooding and overflowing sewers in the past five years, causing serious property damage. This may be a reason why home insurance prices are higher even though houses in the Niagara area are more affordable. Consult your preferred home insurer to find out what other factors may cause your St. Catharines policy quotes from them to be higher than the provincial average.