Property Insurance 101

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Congratulations! You’ve bought a house. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, or moving into a new home, purchasing a house can be a very exciting – and sometimes daunting – accomplishment in life.

For many people, one of the first things that comes to mind when buying a new home is to ensure that your house, as well as those that live within it, are properly protected. However, if you’re not familiar with home insurance, it can seem complicated. This article will help you to understand some of the basic elements and types of property insurance.

What is Property Insurance?

Property insurance helps to protect the investment you’ve made in your home and its contents in case of theft, loss, or damage to the inside and outside of your property. Home insurance may cover:

  • Damage or loss to your home
  • Damage, theft or loss of your personal possessions
  • Personal property stolen from your vehicle
  • Damage or injury to others who visit your home or property
  • Accidental damage you cause to somebody else’s property

It may also help cover additional living expenses if you’re temporarily unable to live in your home. These additional living expenses may include living in a hotel or renting another home.

Unlike auto insurance, which is required and regulated provincially, home insurance is optional. However, if you are purchasing a condominium or renting an apartment, condominium or tenant insurance may be a requirement set by the landlord or building management.

Understanding Tenant, Condominium, and Home Insurance

Tenant, condominium, and home insurance are three types of property insurance that have the same basic elements: namely, protecting your investment. However, there are some important differences.

Tenant Insurance

Most landlords’ insurance policies don’t cover personal items owned by tenants if the property is destroyed or unintentionally damaged. So, it’s important to have peace of mind with your own rental insurance policy to cover your treasured items.


Common Coverage Options

  • Personal Property (contents) – Tenant insurance provides coverage for your personal belongings if they’re stolen, damaged or lost.
  • Additional Living Expenses – If an insured peril makes your home unfit to live in, or you have to move out while repairs are being made, this will help cover living expenses and moving costs.
  • Tenant Liability Insurance – Liability coverage provides support when someone not living with you is injured while on your property (e.g. a fall or trip).

Condominium Insurance

Condominium insurance is a home insurance product, which provides coverage for the inside of your condominium. It may protects against liability claims and property damage, as well as provides coverage for personal belongings and any improvements you make to the unit you own.

Condominium insurance may not be mandatory by law however; most banks and mortgage lenders require homebuyers to show proof of home insurance before advancing the mortgage. In addition, condominium associations may require you to have proof of coverage before moving in.


Common Coverage Options

  • Additions and Alterations Covers upgrades (e.g. built-in sound systems, custom counters) to your unit that might not be considered part of the standard unit by the condominium corporation.
  • Unit Contingent Coverage – Provides additional coverage to your unit if your condominium corporation’s insurance is insufficient.
  • Loss Assessment Coverage – Provides coverage (up to a stated limit) to cover major property and liability losses for common condo elements (e.g. swimming pool, laundry room, fitness room) when a special assessment is levied against you and other unit holders. Provides protection in the event you are assessed a portion of a loss due to the condo corporation’s deductible.
  • Liability Coverage – Provides coverage when someone not living with you is injured while on your property. Bodily injury liability coverage can help save you from legal and/or medical expenses that may follow, if you are found at fault.
  • Personal Property Protection – This covers your personal belongings (depending on the value) if they’re stolen, damaged or lost. Expensive belongings such as jewelry, furs, and antiques may require extended coverage to cover their full value. It’s a good idea to keep an inventory of all your personal belongings.

Home Insurance

Home insurance helps protect your investment in your home and its contents in case of theft, loss or damage to the inside and outside of your home or property.


Common Coverage Options

  • Coverage for Your Dwelling – This covers your home as well as structures that are attached to it, such as a deck or garage.
  • Detached Private Structures – A typical home insurance policy also covers structures that are separate from your home, but are still on your property, like a detached garage, tool shed or fence.
  • Liability Coverage – Helps protect you if someone not living with you is injured while on your property.
  • Personal Property – Provides coverage for your valuable personal belongings in your home if they are stolen, damaged or lost.

To learn more about tenant insurance, condominium insurance, and home insurance (as well as the optional additional coverage to add to an existing policy), be sure to visit