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Written by Katie Rook

What do I need to know when I’m insuring a condo in Edmonton?

Condo insurance is simply home insurance for a condominium unit.

While Canadian law doesn’t require you to have it, most lenders consider it a prerequisite. Even though condo buildings have insurance policies themselves, they protect shared spaces rather than individual units. A condo board is likely to insist that the unit owners all have coverage, as well as anyone they rent the unit to.

Like most home policies, condo insurance in Edmonton will offer protection against damage to your home and belongings, while also providing liability protection and additional living expenses if you’re unable to stay home following an insured loss.

You’ll be glad you have it if something bad happens to your home.

What’s not covered by condo insurance in Edmonton?

In general terms, condo insurance offers protection to your specific unit and its contents. This means that if your condo is damaged following an insured loss, it will be repaired or replaced — depending on the terms of your policy and limits of your coverage. 

The amount of protection you receive depends on the type of policy you have, and what perils are covered under the policy.

Many policies include protection against water damage, broken windows, fire, hail, wind, theft and vandalism. 

However, there are also several perils that are often excluded, such as:

  • Avalanche
  • Damage from renters
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding
  • Landslide
  • Previous damage
  • Water damage due to freezing inside the house
  • Damage while you’re away from home for an extended period

When you’re securing an insurance policy for your condo in Edmonton, make sure you clearly understand which perils are insured, as well as any exclusions.

Other add-ons you can consider when insuring of your Edmonton condo include: 

  • Condo board: Additional liability protection if you’re a member of your condo board and are sued.
  • Earthquake: Covers loss or damage caused to a home and its contents by the earth shaking. 
  • Identity theft: Protection for policyholders whose identity is stolen and used unlawfully.
  • Overland flooding: Refers to protection for damage caused by water overflowing from a nearby river or lake. 
  • Personal property: While your belongings such as clothing, entertainment units and furniture will be protected by most comprehensive condo insurance policies, you can get additional protection for items that are especially valuable. This includes items such as expensive sports equipment, jewelry or other valuable collections.
  • Sewer back-up: Includes protection for damaged caused by sewage seeping into the condo after the water table is overwhelmed. Homes located on a flood plain are particularly vulnerable to this form of flooding. Be aware that on its own, your condo insurance policy won’t have sewer backup protection built into it. For maximum protection, you’ll need to add it. Without it, you may not be fully protected — particularly if you’ve updated your unit.
  • Unit betterments: Covers you for any upgrades that you, or the previous owner, have made to your condo unit. It includes coverage for damage to things like your floors, built-in shelves and upgraded light fixtures and faucets.
  • Unit loss: Protects you financially, up to a limit, for any charges you receive following damage not covered by the condo building’s insurance or another unit holder’s insurance.

Why is condo insurance in Edmonton so expensive?

Home insurance rates have been going up across the country, with condo insurance rates specifically increasing dramatically in some provinces. 

Some of the key reasons for the increase:

  • Sustained low interest rates: As a result, insurance companies are receiving less investment revenue while also having to pay out claims. Since they’re unable to increase car insurance rates without regulatory approval, home insurance rates tend to go up instead.
  • The pandemic: Believed to also be contributing to home insurance rate increases with a higher volume of claims from DIY renovations undertaken during long lockdowns, though it will be a number of months before insurance experts can review data and confirm the affect.
  • Skyrocketing cost of building materials: This has made condo construction more expensive, which eventually trickles down to the consumer.
  • Severe weather: An increasing volume of incidents across Canada is encouraging insurance providers to anticipate flood-related claims, particularly since many home insurance policies have traditionally excluded flood protection, leaving home owners without recourse if your home is damaged by a flood.

Frequently asked questions about condo insurance in Edmonton 

Is condo insurance mandatory in Edmonton?

No, condo insurance isn’t a legal requirement in any province. However, the condo building where you have a unit may require it. And, it’s likely that you will only be able to secure a mortgage if you have a home insurance policy.

Beyond these logistical considerations, you’ll be relieved to have protection if your condo in Edmonton and and/or your contents are damaged.

Most policies also offer liability protection, which means you’ll be protected if you or a guest are injured in your home.

Finally, a policy will provide additional living expenses if you’re forced to leave your home following an insured loss. For example, if a water pipe bursts and damages your condo, a policy will cover the cost of repairing your unit and also cover the cost of accommodation during repairs.

How much does condo insurance cost in Edmonton?

According to RATESDOTCA data in 2020, the average annual cost of condo insurance in Edmonton was $372.29. This works out to about $30/month.

When you add coverage to any policy, you can expect your home insurance costs to increase. 

How much insurance coverage do I need for a condo in Edmonton?

Regardless of what type of home you live in, you’ll have to make some decisions around the policy type, as well as coverage amount and any additional coverage you select.

When you opt for a comprehensive, or all perils, policy, you’ll be protected against common perils such as water damage, broken windows, fire, hail, wind, theft and vandalism. 

Your policy, however, is likely to have exclusions for things like floods and earthquakes. For protection against such perils, you’ll need additional coverage, which is also known as an endorsement or a rider.

For the contents insurance and liability protection your home insurance policy, you’ll have to decide on limits. Most home insurance policies assume a contents value of about $30,000.

If your belongings are more valuable than that, you can add an endorsement to your policy ensuring that they’re protected. This is common among condo owners who may also have expensive sports equipment, jewelry or other valuable collections.

While some home insurance policies assume a limit of $1 million on liability protection, we recommend that you increase it to $2 million. Any medical and legal fees easily add up if someone successfully sues you.

How can I save on condo insurance in Edmonton?

The best way to save on insurance costs is to comparison shop.

Another effective savings tactic is bundling your policies so both are held by a single provider. For example, one company will hold both policies for your home in Edmonton, as well as your car.

Other tactics for bringing down your insurance costs include: 

  • Age: You may be eligible for discounts if you’re 65 or older.
  • Be mortgage-free: You may receive a lower rate if you’ve paid off your mortgage.
  • Be a non-smoker: When you’re a non-smoker, insurance providers may consider you to be at lower risk of making a claim and reduce your rate accordingly. 
  • Credit score: If you allow your credit score to be pulled when applying for insurance, you can receive a discount for a high score. However, providers are not allowed to penalize you for having a low credit score.
  • Deductible increase: This is only a good idea if you’re likely to have the cash available following an insured loss. 
  • Fewer or no claims: In general, limiting the volume of insurance claims you make will help you secure a better rate.
  • Membership discounts: Discounts may be available through organizations you’re a member of, and/or your alma mater.
  • Payment schedule: If you opt to pay your premium annually rather than month-over-month, you may receive a discount. 
  • Upgrading your home: Installing burglar, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms to protect your condo in Edmonton can result in a lower rate.

My condo building in Edmonton has condo insurance; do I need more? 

Yes, we encourage you to get coverage beyond what your building has. 

While the building’s coverage will cover the cost of repairing or replacing shared common spaces, any damage to your specific unit will only be protected by your own personal condo insurance policy. This is especially relevant if you’ve updated your unit. Most policies are designed to cover units in their original construction rather than any unit betterments.

The liability protection included in most condo insurance policies will also protect you financially if you or a guest are injured. 

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