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A comprehensive home insurance policy covers your home against someone injuring themselves on your property, as well as covers you for damages to the building from perils. An integral part of the home policy is the contents insurance – financial protection in case your belongings are lost or suffer damage. It is important to understand that having a home insurance policy doesn’t mean that everything in your home is insured for the amount it is worth. To better understand the relationship between the two, let’s answer some frequently-asked questions about home and contents insurance.

What is the difference between home and contents insurance?

Contents insurance is part of your comprehensive home insurance coverage, offering protection for your belongings in the event of damage or loss. Home insurance also protects your physical home, detached structures (e.g. fence, gazebo), and third-party liability in case someone injures themselves on your property.

Do you need contents insurance?

Whether you own or rent, contents insurance will protect your personal belongings in the event of a loss from theft, fire, water damage and other perils. Without it, you will have to pay out-of-pocket to replace lost and damaged items.

Does contents insurance cover kitchen appliances?

Typically, it will cover your kitchen appliances that are damaged because of a named peril, such as fire or flooding. If it is a “sudden and accidental” occurrence involving your appliances (such as an unexpected hose break,) you’ll be covered. However, it does not include normal repairs for wear and tear, or maintenance neglect on your part.

Is jewelry covered in contents insurance?              

Yes, your jewelry is covered. However, it is subject to a coverage limits as outlined in your plan. You can purchase additional insurance or a “floater” for jewelry if you have high-value or large amounts of jewelry. Don’t assume all home insurance policy coverage is the same because policy conditions may kick in if your possession is damaged, but may not if you lose it or it is stolen. Purchasing an individual jewelry insurance policy covers your jewelry if the item is lost or stolen without affecting your home policy limits.

Does contents insurance cover carpets?

Yes, carpets are typically covered, but always check with your isure broker to confirm coverage.

Can I submit a claim for a TV on my house insurance policy?

Most home insurance policies will pay you out for damage to home entertainment equipment, like televisions or stereos, if it is affected by a specified peril on your policy, such as theft or fire.

Are laptops covered on house insurance policies?

Yes. Just like any other type of personal property, homeowner insurance will provide coverage for your laptops for the same types of scenarios it would for other contents in your home, such as TVs or furniture. However, if a laptop is extremely valuable, you might want to purchase extra contents insurance to insure it for the full replacement cost.

Does contents insurance cover theft?

Yes, most home insurance policies provide protection for theft, break-and-enters and burglaries. You can find out specific details about your coverage in the property damage and theft section of your policy. Items will be replaced or you will be reimbursed for most personal belongings stolen during a break-in. It is important to note that your home policy will also help cover the costs to repair areas of your home that were damaged. Doors, windows and other entry points will be repaired or replaced up to your policy limits. Additional damage to your property caused by burglars while in your home may also be covered.

How much does contents insurance cost in Canada?

The premium for contents insurance will vary based on your type of policy. If you rent, your contents insurance is included as part of your renter’s insurance. Basic plans for renters start at around $15 per month, but for a home, it is generally around $120 per month.

What’s the difference between tenants and contents insurance?

Tenants insurance is a type of contents insurance that is specifically designed for renters. It provides protection for your personal belongings when you live in a rental unit. If there was a fire, water damage or theft, your personal items would be covered. The building and property are insured by your landlord.

Does your home insurance cover your home-based business?

If you’re running a business from your home, you may not have enough insurance to protect your business equipment. A typical homeowner’s policy provides only $2,500 coverage for business equipment, which is usually not enough to cover all of your business property. Your coverage may extend to some business property stored in your home, but not necessarily to merchandise, computers or specialized equipment.

Can I add coverage for my business to my home policy?

Yes. Some insurers have made provisions for the new wave of work-from-home status since the beginning of the pandemic. Intact Insurance, for example, offers a low-cost option which is ideal if you are either a self-employed worker or a small business operating out of your home. It’s called Coverage for Home-Based Workers, and it can be added to your home insurance. This protection includes $10,000 to $50,000 coverage for business property.

What is NOT included in contents insurance?

There are items that are not commonly covered under your policy:

  • Business property. Partially covered, but additional coverage may be purchased through select insurance companies.
  • Data. Although the storage medium for computer data is tangible, the data is not. Computer data cannot be touched, held and has no physical substance. As such, the damage you caused to the unit does not fall under the policy.
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Illegally-acquired property
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Some types of sporting equipment. As every athlete (and parent of athletes) knows, sporting equipment carries a heavy price tag. If you or a family member plays at a higher level of sport, the investment in equipment can be quite large, so individualized insurance may be in order. Talk with your isure broker to help decide on the coverage you may need.

Does my home policy cover items in my car?

Yes, many policies include theft that happens outside of the home. Some personal belongings are also covered when you take them outside of your home and when travelling. However, it’s important to note that personal property in your car, cameras, laptops and other belongings are covered within policy limits. Your car insurance does not cover the contents within your car. If someone breaks into your automobile, your auto insurance will cover damage to your vehicle specifically mentioned in your policy.

Is my car covered by my home policy if my attached garage burns down?

Contents insurance typically doesn’t cover a motor vehicle (even if it’s on your property) in the attached garage of your house. If a motor vehicle is able to be licensed through a registry, home insurance will not cover it. Basically, anything where you would normally get a separate insurance policy (i.e. car insurance), home insurance will not cover that.

My golf clubs were stolen out of my car. Are they covered?

If your car gets broken into and some items were stolen, like a computer or golf clubs, that would be covered under your contents policy and not your auto policy. It doesn’t even have to happen near your home, and you would still be covered.

Does contents insurance offer protection from water damage?

One of the most common perils that lead to a policyholder filing a claim—whether a homeowner or a renter—is water damage. Any average contents insurance policy should protect you from these events, but there are limits you should be aware of. Primarily, the incident that caused the damage or loss would have had to have been “sudden and accidental”. If the seal on your dishwasher or the hose leading to your washing machine suddenly breaks, you’ll be covered. If, on the other hand, you’ve been ignoring a slow leak for months, or your toilet overflowed due to your own negligence, you won’t receive coverage.

For renters or condo owners, it can be a bit more complicated. If you live in an apartment or condominium and your upstairs neighbour overflows their bathtub, you may suffer damage to your contents through no fault of your own. Generally, if it’s a large enough loss, your insurance company will go after the upstairs neighbour’s insurance for being liable for the damages.

If you feel that your current insurance coverage may not be enough, or if you are planning on some higher value purchases over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, speak with an isure representative to discuss if your coverage is adequate.

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