7 Things Not Covered by Your Home Insurance (That You Probably Didn’t Know About)

Did you know poor property maintenance can be grounds for denying an insurance claim?

Or that basic insurance plans in Canada don’t cover floods or earthquakes?

There are a number of surprising things not covered by standard home insurance policies in Canada.

Here’s 7 big ones that every homeowner should be aware of:

1. Water damage for unattended homes

If your home is left unattended for longer than 4 days in the winter, your home insurance is unlikely to cover you for water damage unless someone has been appointed to check on the heating every day (to ensure your pipes don’t freeze).

Cover all your bases by appointing a responsible adult to check on your home when you leave town in the winter.

2. Fire and water damage for vacant homes

If a house is vacant for more than 30 days, you could be denied coverage for fire or water damage.

If your property is vacant for an extended period of time (maybe you own a rental property), contact your insurer and they can give you a vacancy permit.

Note: the vacancy permit must be purchased within the first 30 days of a vacancy.

3. Jewelry

Standard home insurance only covers the cost of jewelry up to a certain amount, typically around $5,000 or $6,000.

If you own a lot of precious jewelry, it’s recommended you get your jewelry appraised and purchase an extension to your policy if necessary.

The same applies to any rare items you own. When in doubt, check with your insurance company to see what is or isn’t covered.

4. Sewer backups

Sewer backups used to be covered by basic policies but are no longer, due to the higher incidence of flooding across the country (a precursor to sewer backups).

Consider purchasing sewer backup insurance if your property is below sea-level, there’s a high frequency of severe weather in your neighbourhood, and/or there’s a high incidence of sewer backups in the area in which you live.

5. Earthquakes

One earthquake could wipe out an entire insurance company, so if you want to be covered in the event of an earthquake, you’ll need to purchase additional insurance.

6. Maintenance exclusions

Poor property maintenance can be grounds for denying an insurance claim as well.

This applies to claims that could have been prevented with proper upkeep, such as water damage due to cracks in your foundation or needing a new roof because critters have been gnawing away at it for years.

7. Renovations and upgrades

If you’re adding on to your home or making things a bit nicer, then you’re adding value. It’s important to let your insurance company know of any upgrades, otherwise, you might not be covered.

Even with these points in mind, we recommend everyone take a close look at their insurance policy and read the fine print.

Ensure you’re prepared in case disaster strikes!

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