Money & Career

5 Things You Might Not Know About Home Insurance (But Really Should)

Do you *actually* know what’s covered under your home insurance policy? Here’s why you should.

In partnership with Surex

Like oil changes or furnace maintenance, home insurance is a regular expense you don’t question. But if you don’t totally get what home insurance does for you—and hey, you’re definitely not alone—then you won’t know if you’re under-insured and at risk of being on the hook for a major payout until it’s too late. We asked Kim Neilly, vice-president of corporate development at online insurance brokerage Surex, to shed some light on our most baffling insurance Qs, including whether we should update our policy following renovations or save receipts from every purchase we make!

What’s the difference between insuring a house and insuring a condo?

A condo policy insures everything from the walls in—your furniture, appliances, and other belongings. Imagine you could pick up your condo and shake it: anything that would fall out is insured under a condo policy, plus liability coverage (which protects you if someone is injured on your property). A homeowner policy, on the other hand, covers not just the contents of the house, but also the actual building, and liability coverage.

Which disasters are covered by a standard home insurance package?

Coverage for damage from fire, lightning and explosions is built into nearly every home insurance policy. However, coverage for damage from floods or sewer backup requires an endorsement—meaning you pay an additional premium on top of your standard policy.

Do you need to update your home insurance when you renovate?

If your renovation increases the value of your home, you should update your insurance policy. So, painting the walls might not be worth mentioning—but finishing your basement or adding an extra bedroom would make the cut.

How does running a business out of your home affect your home insurance?

If you are a typical remote worker, there’s nothing to worry about; you don’t need to make any changes to your policy. But if, for example, you run a hair salon out of your basement and have clients coming in and out of the house, you’ll want coverage for added liability exposure. Or, if you’re an entrepreneur stocking products and supplies, you’ll want to purchase an appropriate endorsement that will cover the replacement of any business materials due to loss, damage or theft.

How do you make a claim after a theft or break-in?

Insurance companies often require proof that you owned what was stolen before they’ll reimburse you for the loss. You can claim that you owned five flat screen TVs, but you’ll have to prove it! But don’t worry about keeping receipts; instead, take photos of anything valuable that you would want to replace and store it in a cloud location, in case your files get damaged.