Mackay Insurance Blog
Avoid These Homeowner Insurance Pitfalls When Purchasing Your Home Insurance Policy
As a homeowner, why would you want to buy a home insurance policy? Is it just because the lender requires it? After all, it is not a mandatory purchase here in Canada.
Yet the vast majority of homeowners - even those who own their homes outright - still carry a policy. Why?
Because you want protection, of course. You want to be protected in case your home or its contents are damaged or destroyed. You want protection from third party liability in case a visitor trips and sues you.
Most of all, you want protection from the perils you don't know you need protection from - especially the ones that could cause your insurer to drop you entirely!
So let's find out what those are and explain what you need to do to make sure you are covered.
Home Insurance and Wood Stoves
Homeowners love wood stoves. They are efficient, economical and extremely homey to enjoy when it is cold outside.
Insurance companies do not love wood stoves because, well, fire. Wood stoves are among the leading causes of home fires each year. And home fires generate home insurance claims.
So it just makes sense that your insurance company would be less enthused about your wood stove than you are. In fact, we made a whole video about the topic!
Some insurers outright refuse to issue policies when wood stoves are involved. Most of the time, this is because the wood stove does not meet minimum safety standards according to current building codes and certifications. Most insurance companies will accept it when it’s auxiliary heat but if you are burning too many cords of wood, it could be considered primary heat and not insurable by many insurance companies.
But most insurers simply tack on a surcharge.
How much extra will you pay?
You can expect to pay at least 10% more on your annual premiums. Alternatively, your homeowners insurance provider may simply assess you an annual flat fee on top of your annual premium.
And if for any reason your home does catch fire and the inspection later indicates the wood stove was to blame, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for damages.
All this to say - be sure to talk with your Mackay Insurance broker before choosing a wood stove to meet your cooking or heating needs.
Home Insurance and Dogs
Everyone loves dogs. Dogs are the number one choice of companion animal here in North America and in many places around the world.
Most homeowners do not initially link homeowners insurance and their canine family members together. How on earth could these two be related?
Insurers do not like dogs for the same reason they do not like wood stoves - because of liability. However, not all dog breeds are treated equally for the purposes of a homeowners insurance policy.
Certain dog breeds have become staples on so-called "dangerous dog lists" here in Canada and across the globe. These dog breeds are the ones that consistently outrank the others in terms of confirmed dog bite cases.
Here in Ontario, there are four breeds or categories of canines that are now banned or heavily restricted. Currently, these breeds include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier.
This can get more confusing still because if you are a dog lover, you know that the "pit bull" is not a dog breed, per se, but rather a category of dogs that have similar physical characteristics and may have some bulldog or terrier in the genetic makeup.
Why is this important to know when you are applying for homeowner's insurance?
Basically, if you do not disclose the presence of a dog that fits the criteria of a dog that is banned or regulated, your insurer can refuse to pay damages arising from a dog-related claim and may also cancel your policy.
Home Insurance and Home Based Businesses
The global pandemic has changed a great deal about our daily routines. One of the biggest changes is the number of individuals who are now working remotely or even running new businesses out of a home space.
If this describes you, it is time to check in with your homeowners insurance provider to let them know. If you are currently shopping for a policy and plan to run a business from your new home, you definitely want to mention this up front.
What could happen if you don't? Your homeowners insurance policy provider could refuse to pay any claims that arise from damages to your home based business equipment, supplies or inventory. You may also find yourself with a voided policy.
Home based business owners need a separate home based business insurance policy to cover business operations and liabilities that can sometimes arise.
Home Insurance and Vacancy or Renovations
While you may not think to notify your homeowners insurance provider if you are away from home for an extended time period, an extended vacancy can sometimes result in denied claims.
In the same way, failing to alert your provider of upcoming renovations to your home may mean unpaid claims or even a dropped policy.
In both cases, the provider is reacting to an increased safety risk these two events can pose. Leaving your property vacant or opening up the premises to workers can each trigger an increased risk of insurance claims.
What should you do if you plan to be gone any longer than a week or have any upcoming home renovations?
Call your Mackay Insurance broker in Quinte to discuss whether you need to notify your homeowners insurance provider in advance. You may need to make additional advance plans to be sure your policy stays active.
Contact Mackay Insurance For Your Napanee and Belleville Home Insurance Needs
Looking for a quick home insurance quote near you? Your friendly, knowledgeable Mackay Insurance brokers can help!
Mackay Insurance works with a number of homeowners insurance providers to make sure you always get the most competitive policy quotes in the industry. We can also work with you to be sure you are fully covered for perils both known and known.