Home insurance is essential protection for anyone who owns their own home. It’s not mandatory, but if you have a mortgage, your bank will insist that at least the structure itself be insured. So if you’re buying for the first time or looking to move, you might want to know how much you’re likely to pay for home insurance in your area. Across Ontario, the average cost is approximately $121 a month. In Toronto and the GTA, it’s a little higher.
Most of us will never own anything nearly as valuable (in dollars) as our home. In fact, for many Canadians, the equity in their home is their primary source of savings. So it’s critical to protect that investment with homeowners insurance. But how much is it going to cost you?
Average Homeowners Insurance Premiums in Ontario
The following average premiums for different parts of the province come from Mitchell & Whale’s customer database. All premiums are for policies that began in 2020. As you can see from the table below, the average cost of home insurance in Ontario is around $121 a month. In Toronto and the GTA, it’s a little higher.
|City/Region||Avg. Annual Premium||Avg. Monthly Premium||Leading Insurers|
|Niagara Region||$1,568||$130||Economical, Wawanesa, Aviva, Pembridge|
|York Region||$1,540||$128||CAA, Economical, Wawanesa, Pembridge|
|Halton Region||$1,519||$126||CAA, Aviva, Travelers, Economical, Pembridge|
|Eastern Ontario||$1,513||$126||Economical, Pembridge, Wawanesa, CAA|
|Toronto||$1,505||$125||Economical, CAA, Wawanesa, Aviva|
|Peel Region||$1,461||$121||CAA, Economical, Travelers, Wawanesa|
|Simcoe County||$1,458||$121||Wawanesa, Pembridge, CAA, Economical|
|Northern Ontario||$1,358||$113||Economical, CAA, Pembridge, Gore|
|Windsor-Essex||$1,312||$109||CAA, Wawanesa, Economical, Pembridge|
|Durham Region||$1,279||$106||CAA, Pembridge, Wawanesa, Economical|
|Ottawa||$1,237||$103||Economical, Pembridge, CAA, Travelers|
|London||$1,235||$102||Pembridge, CAA, Aviva, RSA|
|Waterloo Region||$1,143||$95||CAA, Pembridge, Economical, Travelers|
|Hamilton||$1,093||$91||Economical, Aviva, CAA, Pembridge, Wawanesa|
What Does Home Insurance Cover You For?
A homeowners insurance policy covers a number of different things:
1. It protects you if you get sued (liability insurance)
Liability insurance, also known as third party liability, is standard with any home, condo or tenants insurance policy. Although this coverage is associated with your home, it’s meant to protect you and your family in case someone decides to hold you financially responsible for an injury or damage to their property. If someone sues you, the policy will pay for your legal bills regardless of whether the lawsuit is successful. Obviously, it will also pay for any out-of-court settlement or court award, up to the policy limit.
2. It covers damage to the main building, including any additions and renovations, as well as landscaping, decks, fences and sheds
Property coverage on the house itself will pay to repair or replace the physical building, any other structures or landscaping on your property, and any additions and renovations (so long as you’ve let your broker know about them). This coverage is what ensures your life savings won’t be lost in an instant if you get hit by a fire or tornado. This is also the reason why homeowners insurance costs about 4 times what you would pay if you were renting.
3. It covers your hotel and food bills if your home is unsafe after a fire or other loss
Home insurance also includes coverage that will pay for any additional living expenses (hotel, food) you have if you can’t stay in your home for a time after a loss. There are limits, so you may not be staying in a luxury suite, but your expenses will be covered if there’s structural damage to your home of if it’s unsafe for any other reason after an insured loss.
4. It covers your belongings
Of course there’s also protection for everything you have in the house (contents coverage). You may not know it, but if you own a home it would probably cost you between $50,000 and $100,000 to replace all your clothes, furniture, appliances, electronics, plates etc. after fire. There is an upper cash limit which is a percentage of your home’s rebuild value. You’ll also want separate insurance for any high-value items like engagement rings, fine art, collectibles etc., because under a standard policy, there are sub-limits on these items that won’t allow you to recover their full value.
How is the Price of Home Insurance Calculated?
Home insurance is primarily calculated based on the estimated cost of rebuilding your home from scratch. It doesn’t matter what you paid for your home, because in some cases, especially in the GTA, the value of the land itself inflates the price. That’s why average home prices in Toronto are almost twice what they are in Ottawa (as per Zoocasa.ca), but average home insurance premiums are only 20% higher. Here are a few key factors that will determine whether you’ll pay $50 a month or $200:
- The square footage of your house
- Your credit score – Higher credit score means lower premiums
- How close you are to a fire station
- How close you are to a fire hydrant
- How remote your home is (if you live in the woods, it’s not only harder to put out a fire, it’s also more expensive to get materials and labour to you for repairs or a rebuild)
- Whether you have a monitored burglar alarm
- Whether you want optional coverages like earthquake, sewer backup and overland flooding (the last two are highly recommended)
Then there are other factors that could further affect your premium:
- If you have past claims, they could drive the price up
- If have high-value items like jewelry, fine art, musical instruments or collectibles that you want to insure, that will add to your premium
It all breaks down more or less like this:
|Add Earthquake Insurance||+$4-12/mth|
|Add Sewer Backup Insurance||+$8-12/mth|
|Add Overland Flooding Insurance||+$8-12/mth|
|Add Identity Theft Insurance||+$1-2/mth|
|Increase to $2 million liability||+$1/mth|
Is Homeowners Insurance Mandatory?
Unlike auto insurance, there is no law in Ontario that requires you to buy home insurance. If you have a mortgage, however, your bank will definitely require proof of insurance. But even if your home is paid for, going without insurance is a big gamble. Most years, around 5% of homeowners make claims, and the claims average well over $10,000. If you’re uninsured and your home goes up in flames, so do your life savings.
The Only Way To Get Your Best Price
We’ve tried to break it all down for you above, but the only way to know exactly how much you’re going to pay for home insurance is to talk to an insurance professional and give them all the specifics about your home and your situation. Mitchell & Whale works with 40+ different insurance companies, which means we have lots of options for you whether you have a fairly standard home in Toronto, a century home in Ottawa or a cabin in Northern Ontario. We’ll get you the coverage you need at the best possible price. Please give us a call and talk to one of our personal insurance experts. We can get you insured in 20 minutes.