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Written By Katie Rook


Insurance for condos in Ottawa

If you live in a condo, protect your individual unit with insurance beyond any coverage your condo corporation has for the building itself.

For about $30/month, you can secure a policy that will protect your condo unit and your belongings, while also providing liability protection and additional living expenses if there’s an insured loss.

Condo insurance is not a legal requirement in Canada, but you’ll be relieved you have it if there’s an unexpected problem that affects your home, its contents, you and anyone visiting your home.

Your condo insurance rate will be determined by a range of factors, including the policy type and coverage amounts you select, as well as details about the property you’re insuring and your personal claims history.

Using RATESDOTCA’s online quote tool, you’ll receive free quotes for condo insurance in Ottawa from dozens of the best providers in Canada.

The tool takes less than one minute to use, and could help you find a rate that is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the current cost of your home insurance.

What condo insurance perils are specific to Ottawa?

When purchasing condo insurance, you’ll choose between a comprehensive policy (also known as an all perils policy), or a named perils policy.

A comprehensive policy will cover common perils, such as damage from:

  • Broken glass
  • Electrical current
  • Hail
  • Water
  • Wind

A named perils policy will only cover perils specifically named in the policy.

Regardless of policy type, make sure you’re aware of any exclusions.

What’s not covered for condo insurance in Ottawa?

Most home insurance policies have exclusions, which are perils that are not covered.

Two of the most common exclusions are for flooding and earthquakes. If you’re seeking protection against either peril, you must purchase additional coverage.

While the water damage protection offered in most policies will protect your unit and belongings if your unit is damaged when a water pipe bursts unexpectedly, it likely won’t protect you if a nearby river overflows and water enters your unit.

If your condo is on a lower level of the building, we encourage you to consider adding additional overland flood protection to your policy.

Due to an increasing volume of severe weather incidents across Canada, overland flooding protection is a good idea for owners and residents of every type of home: houses, condos, townhouses and rental units.

Why is condo insurance in Ottawa expensive?

In 2020, RATESDOTCA data reflected that the average cost of condo insurance in Ottawa was $305/year, or about $25/month.

This is in line with what you’re likely to pay for condo insurance in any major Canadian city.

Home insurance rates tend to be less expensive in parts of the country less vulnerable to severe weather such as flooding.

Nevertheless, the cost of condo insurance has been steadily increasing across Canada for several years for the following reasons:

Severe weather: A greater volume of severe weather events is part of the problem. Many insurance providers are revisiting the coverage they’re providing, and are cancelling or declining to renew policies for homes in locales they now deem vulnerable.

Construction costs: The price of lumber and building supplies skyrocketed in 2021. While these costs stabilized toward the end of the year, the costs are likely to have been passed on to the consumer. For example, a condo owner may have chosen to upgrade their unit, paid more for materials and, unwittingly, increased the cost of their home insurance. Condo insurance policies generally protect the original construction of the unit. Coverage for unit betterments is often an additional cost.

Low interest rates: The cost of condo insurance is also going up due to consistently low interest rates, which are reducing the amount of revenue insurance companies receive from their investments.

Pandemic effects: Some insurance experts believe the effects of the pandemic will lead to increased rates. Many carriers report, anecdotally, that they’ve received a higher volume of claims from DIY renovations during lockdowns and kitchen fires while more Canadians are working from home.

Increasing deductibles: Condo owners may also end up paying more overall to insure their units if their building’s condo board has increased the deductible for the building’s insurance policy, which often covers the structure, exterior and common areas such as elevators, hallways and the lobby.

While this may reduce premiums in the short term, the burden of paying a high deductible can shift to an individual unit holder in the event of an insured loss.

For example, if there’s a fire in their condo and a shared space is damaged, they could be on the hook to pay a deductible of many thousands of dollars. It’s a scenario condo owners may not be aware of if they’re not following their condo board’s decisions in close detail.

Frequently asked questions about insurance for condos in Ottawa

Is condo insurance in Ottawa mandatory?

No. Home insurance is not required by law in Canada, regardless of whether you own or rent a house, condo apartment or townhouse.

However, we recommend you consider getting a condo insurance policy for the following reasons:

  • You’ll be able to secure a mortgage, as most banks will only lend to condo owners with insurance.
  • Your condo board may require that condo owners have it.
  • In the event of an insured loss, you’ll be financially compensated for the repair of your unit and replacement of your belongings.
  • Liability protection comes with the policy, as well as additional living expenses.

What coverage do I need for my condo in Ottawa?

The policy type you select depends in large part on your risk tolerance. If being protected against the most common perils as well as exclusions is your preference, a comprehensive policy with add-on coverage is right for you.

On the other hand, if you’re less fussed about being protected against every imaginable peril and prefer to pay less in premiums, a scaled-back named perils policy will suit you.

Some additional coverage to consider purchasing for condo owners in Ottawa includes:

  • Condo board: Protection if you’re a member of your condo board and are sued.
  • Earthquake: Protection in the event of the earth shaking.
  • Identity theft: Protection if your private information is compromised and used in a crime.
  • Overland flooding: Refers to protection for damage caused by water overflowing from a nearby river or lake.
  • Personal property: Protection for any personal property inside your unit, especially valuable belongings.
  • Sewer back-up: Includes protection for damage caused by sewage seeping into the condo when the water table is overwhelmed. Be aware that on its own, your condo insurance policy won’t include sewer backup protection. For maximum protection, you’ll need to add it to your policy. 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.
  • 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.

What perils are specific to Ottawa?

In addition to the perils covered by your policy, we recommend you consider purchasing flood and earthquake coverage.

While Ottawa is not particularly vulnerable to flooding, cities across the country are experiencing floods more and more often.

Earthquake coverage will protect your home and its contents in the event of the earth shaking. In June 2010, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake affected parts of central Ontario, including the Ottawa region. While there was not significant damage to Ottawa condos, an earthquake in that part of the country is not unheard of.

What can I do to save on home insurance premiums in Ottawa?

Comparison shopping is the most effective way to reduce your insurance costs. Beyond that, the following factors can help bring down the cost of insurance for your condo in Ottawa:

  • Asking for a discount through your membership with various organizations, such as your alma mater or union.
  • Being 65+ years old
  • Being mortgage-free
  • Being a non-smoker
  • Bundling your policies so both are held by a single provider
  • Close proximity to fire services
  • Installing and monitoring alarms such as burglar and carbon monoxide
  • Keeping your home in good repair
  • Low crime rate for your neighbourhood

What are the best home insurance companies in Ottawa?

The best home insurance company in Ottawa is the one that’s right for you, offering you the best coverage at the lowest rate.

While RATESDOTCA works with dozens of the best carriers in the country, you’ll be the one to decide which is ideal.

When determining a rate for insuring a condo in Ottawa, the insurance provider will closely consider a range of factors, trying to gauge how likely it is that you’ll make a claim in the future.

Some of the key factors they’ll consider include the policy type and coverage amount you select, details about the property you want to insure and your personal claims history.

What if I rent out my condo? Do I still need a condo insurance policy?

Yes. We strongly recommend you hold a condo insurance policy beyond any coverage your condo corporation has, and that you insist any tenant living in your condo has a renter’s insurance policy.

In the event of an insured loss, a landlord’s policy will cover the cost of damage to the unit, but will not cover the cost of damage to a tenant’s belongings.

*Shoppers in Ontario who obtained a condo insurance quote on RATESDOTCA from January to December 2023 saved an average amount of $125. The average savings amount represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of the second and third lowest quoted premiums generated by RATESDOTCA. Excludes home and tenant insurance.

Katie Rook
Katie Rook

Content Manager

Katie Rook was a content manager at RATESDOTCA, specializing in home insurance. She has been a full-time reporter at CTV, National Post, and The Globe and Mail. Her work has also appeared in Dow Jones’ MarketWatch, Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Saint John Telegraph-Journal and VICE. Katie is a graduate of Ryerson and Dalhousie universities.

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