- Whether you own or rent, where you live makes a difference.
- Insurance companies track claims by geographic location and use the information to adjust premiums accordingly.
- Based on past experience in your neighbourhood, they can determine how likely it is you will need to make a claim.
- If you live in an area with a high incidence of break-ins or vandalism, for example, your rate will be higher than what you would pay in an area where those things are rare.
Fire hydrant/fire station proximity
- Because fire is a major concern, it’s an advantage to live near a fire hydrant or fire station.
- The closer you are, the better the chances of saving your property in the event of fire.
- In urban areas, proximity usually isn’t a problem. But in more remote or rural areas, the distance may be greater, influencing the cost of your insurance.
Amount and types of coverage
- The higher the amount of coverage you purchase, the higher your premium will be.
- The type of package you choose – Comprehensive, Standard or Broad – will also affect the cost of your insurance.
- Insurance coverage for a condo owner will cost more than coverage for a tenant.
- With a condo, your policy may have to cover your liability exposure for shared or common areas of the structure, which adds to the cost of insuring it.
- Optional coverage for specific items like a bicycle, or jewellery, will also mean a higher premium.
Amount of your deductible
- A standard deductible might be $500.
- If you choose a higher deductible ($1,000, for example) your insurance company may reduce your premium.
- An alarm system, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors or other security features will generally get you a discount and help reduce your insurance premium.
Other factors for homeowners
If you own a home, these are some of the other variables that may affect what it will cost to insure your property.
- One of the biggest factors is the size of your house. The bigger your house and the more you have in it, the more it will cost to replace everything.
- Apart from the square footage, the quality of construction may also be a factor.
- With oil heating, you may have to pay more than you would with a forced-air gas furnace or electric heat.
- The risk of leaks with oil tanks increases the potential for damage to your property as well as the potential for environmental hazards.
- Depending on the age and condition of your oil tank, you may be encouraged to replace it.
A variety of factors associated with your electrical system can affect the risk of fire and, with it, the cost of insuring your property.
- Breakers pose less of a risk than fuses.
- If the flow of electricity into your home is less than 100-amps, it increases the risk of overloading and fire.
- Older types of wiring can also raise the level of risk, particularly if the wiringhas deteriorated.
- Lead or galvanized pipes are usually found in older plumbing, which increases the risk of cracking, leaking or other damage.
- Copper or plastic pipes are considered less of a risk.
- Wood stoves can pose an increased risk of fire.
- Older model wood stoves, especially if they have not been correctly installed or maintained, are a common source of house fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning.
- Roofs that are older than 20 years increase the potential for leaks and other damage.
- Some insurers will pay only depreciated values for roofs that are near the end of their service life.
How you use your home, as well as some structural features, can also affect your insurance cost. Here are a few examples:
- If you build or plan to build a rental unit into your home
- If you decide to operate a business from home
- If you make any other major changes to the structure or how it is used.
- If you have other structures on your property (a swimming pool, pool house, guest house or storage shed) that are worth more than 10% of the total insured value of your home.
Finally, here are a couple of things that normally do not affect the cost of your property insurance:
- The type of appliances (gas or electric) typically does not affect the cost of your home insurance
The exterior (brick or aluminum siding) is usually not a factor in calculating premiums, however, it is a factor when calculating the building replacement cost (i.e., the cost to rebuild with materials of like kind and quality, if the building were destroyed).