What perils are insured?

Insurable perils can include:

  • fire
  • lightning
  • theft
  • riot
  • windstorm or hail (contents are covered only if storm has first created an opening in the building; coverage for this peril does not include outdoor antennas nor damage from melting snow and ice, waves, and floods ).
  • explosion (does not include vibrating pipes, known as “water hammer”)
  • water escape from – or rupture or freezing of – a plumbing, heating, sprinkler or air-conditioning system or domestic appliance
  • sudden release of smoke (but not from fireplaces)
  • impact by aircraft or vehicle
  • vandalism while building is normally occupied
  • glass breakage in a building that is normally occupied
  • transportation (of personal property while it is temporarily removed from your home; includes building fixtures and fittings being repaired or in seasonal storage)
  • falling object (not including objects propelled by snowslide or earth movement)
  • earthquake coverage is sometimes available as an extra-cost option

Oil Damage: Contamination of property is not normally covered, but optional coverage is sometimes available for spills of furnace oil.

Water Damage: Water escape is an insured peril that is often misunderstood. It means accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, sprinkler or air-conditioning system, appliance, pool (and related equipment) and public water mains. This could be due to freezing, or due to cracking or bursting from a variety of causes (including excess pressure, or lack of water in a furnace). Excluded are floodwater (from an overflowing creek, for instance), water seepage that is repeated or continuous (from a cracked basement wall, perhaps), sewer backup, malfunctioning sump pumps, leaky eaves troughs and downspouts. Coverage for sewer backup may be available for an additional premium.

Freezing Damage: Your policy will not normally cover damage caused by freezing that occurs during the usual heating season if you have been away from your premises more than four days. However, if you had arranged for a competent person to enter your home daily to ensure that heating was being maintained, or if you had shut off the heater supply and had drained all the pipes and appliances, you would still be insured. Damage from freezing outside the home is not covered.

Lack of Maintenance: An insurance policy is not a maintenance contract! Your insurer would not consider a claim for damage if, for example, a wall of your bedroom were to be soaked by water leaking from a rusty outside eaves trough or downspout.

Hot Property: Illegally acquired property is not covered (including stolen goods). Some insurers won’t cover imported items which have not been declared to Canada Customs. Still on the subject of “hot” property, direct damage resulting from the application of heat is not covered. For example, clothing scorched by an iron would not be covered, because the heat was applied intentionally. But if the iron set the clothing on fire and the flames spread to the room and its contents, that damage would be covered. Intentional damage caused by you or damage that results from criminal activity is not covered.

Moving: Discuss your coverage with your insurance broker – and your moving company – before you move. Your regular policy doesn’t include coverage for moving.