Smarter Loans Inc. is not a lender. Smarter.loans is an independent comparison website that provides information on lending and financial companies in Canada. We work hard to give you the information you need to make smarter decisions about a financial company or product that you might be considering. We may receive compensation from companies that we work with for placement of their products or services on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of products & companies listed on our website, it does not influence our evaluation of those products. Please do not interpret the order in which products appear on Smarter Loans as an endorsement or recommendation from us. Our website does not feature every loan provider or financial product available in Canada. We try our best to bring you up-to-date, educational information to help you decide the best solution for your individual situation. The information and tools that we provide are free to you and should merely be used as guidance. You should always review the terms, fees, and conditions for any loan or financial product that you are considering.
British Columbia is home to some of the country’s most expensive properties – particularly along the coast – so having the right property insurance is critically important for the province’s residents. But choosing the right insurance requires homeowners to understand the market and their options, and this is where we can help.
In this article we have broken down everything you need to know about insuring your home in B.C. Get started by taking a browse through the table of providers shown below; these are some of the most trusted insurance companies in B.C., able to help you with all of your property insurance needs.
Unlike auto insurance, home insurance is not a legal requirement in B.C.; technically this means that all homeowners and renters can choose not to purchase insurance, and simply risk being unprotected. However, if you have a mortgage on your home, your mortgage provider will almost certainly mandate a minimum level of home insurance coverage. And even if you don’t have a mortgage, or if you are renting, having home insurance is by far the safest and most responsible route.
There are a couple of different types of property insurance available in B.C.; although all three are colloquially known as “home insurance”, they are actually distinct. They are:
Homeowner’s insurance is what most people think of when they say “home insurance”. This type of insurance covers the physical buildings that constitute a home (including detached structures), personal belongings within the home, and personal liability in the event that someone is injured on the property. In a basic home insurance policy, these aspects of the home are covered against common events, known as “insured perils”.
However, some (potentially common) issues are not covered by basic homeowner’s insurance policies. Coverage for these less likely events (like flooding, wildfires and earthquakes) is sometimes available as an add-on, or as part of more comprehensive policies (also known as “all perils” policies). For example, 65% of British Columbians have chosen to add earthquake insurance to their home insurance policy, because of the high risk of earthquakes locally.
Over a million people live in condos in B.C., and condo insurance is the appropriate form of insurance for this segment of the population. Condo insurance is very like homeowner’s insurance, but it only covers the named unit within a condo building - not the larger building’s structure. The condo building itself will have its own insurance policy to cover the common areas and main structure of the property.
Many condo boards have requirements for occupant’s condo insurance, and you should check these before purchasing a policy. It’s also wise to ask to see the condo building insurance policy, so you know how far this goes and any exclusions you need to be aware of.
Lastly, for those who don’t own their own home but who still want protection, there is tenant’s insurance. Tenant’s insurance does not cover the building in question, but it does cover your personal belongings within the building, as well as personal liability.
If you don’t have a lot of valuable possessions, this may feel unnecessary, but the liability portion matters; imagine if you had a cooking fire in your kitchen, and it damaged the property itself. Without insurance, you’d be liable for the repairs. This level of protection is valuable and costs much less than homeowner’s insurance.
British Columbians pay a lot for their home insurance compared to other provinces. The average homeowner’s insurance policy costs around $100 a month, though the range can be quite broad, depending on your exact location and property details. Tenant’s insurance is understandably cheaper, averaging $26 a month.
Insurance costs in B.C. have been on the rise for the past few years, and this is partly because of the increasing number of natural disasters, driving claims and increasing insurance costs across the board. Weather-related claims in particular have steadily increased over the past decade. This has combined with rising property prices to make insurance even more expensive (and necessary). Vancouver and Victoria are the most expensive places to insure a property in the province.
Shopping around is still the number one way to save on your home insurance, but there are other methods, including:
Yes, absolutely, and protecting your vacation home is important. You can often add vacation property coverage to your main homeowner’s insurance policy to save money. You can also take out a separate policy.
No; those running a B.C. home-based business need to have a separate insurance policy to cover their business activities, as homeowner’s insurance does not cover business-related claims. You may be able to get home-based business insurance as an add-on to your existing home insurance policy.
You can use standard homeowner’s insurance if you choose to rent your property out, but you need to be clear with your policy provider about who will be living in the home. And remember that homeowner’s coverage does not cover loss of income from the home, if something happens that prevents you from renting it out. This is why many landlords choose rental property insurance instead.
Technically, yes, any individual insurance company can deny you coverage, but this is very rare. If you are denied, you can ask why, and potentially solve the problem or find another provider.
The Insurance Council of British Columbia licenses and regulates insurance agents and adjusters in the province, but formal oversight and rate approvals come from the Financial Institutions Commission.
Performing renovations on your home will not affect your insurance coverage, but you must inform your insurer of any changes you make to the home. Improvements may decrease or increase your insurance rates, but in the event of a claim the insurer has room to deny you if you’ve failed to give them accurate and up-to-date information on the home’s condition.
B.C. is home to the country’s most active seismic zone, so earthquakes are a major risk factor in the province. The province is also known for wildfires.
The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada's highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the "GPS of Fintech Lending" by the Toronto Star.