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Written By Taras Trofimov

Updated

Home insurance in Burnaby

Despite being the third largest city in British Columbia by population – after Vancouver and Surrey – Burnaby did not achieve its official city status until 1992. That's probably because its population is at 270,204 – a minuscule number when compared to the other two cities, which have populations of 2,657,000 and 1,223,245, respectively. Even with this difference in population, Burnaby is a relatively large city – that also happens to be very close to Vancouver. This means that its insurance rates are likely to be comparable to those of its neighbour due to the similarities between the two cities.

Unlike car insurance, however, home insurance isn’t mandated by law in British Columbia, nor is it government-owned. So, you can technically forego it, if you want. That said, if you intend to take out a mortgage, then home insurance is unavoidable, as most lenders require it.

Types of home insurance in Burnaby

There are four major types of home insurance policy you can choose from, which differ mainly by the amount of coverage they offer and price. As you might expect, more coverage means higher costs. Though each insurer may have their own names for each coverage type, they are usually described in the following manner:

  • Basic: Sometimes referred to as ‘named perils,’ this is the cheapest type of coverage you can purchase, and as such, it’s incredibly limited. It protects your property and its contents only against the perils listed in the policy. So, if fire, for instance, is not listed, then your home is not protected from it.
  • Broad: With this, you get comprehensive coverage for your property, which protects it from anything that isn’t named in the policy. In this case, if fire is not listed, then the property is protected from it. Note that when it comes to your possessions, they are only protected from the perils named in the policy, same way as they would be under the basic coverage.
  • Comprehensive: Also known as ‘all perils,’ this is your full coverage. It protects both your property and possessions from all perils, other than a few named exclusions. If, for instance, overland flooding is named as an exclusion, then you’re not covered for it. This is the most expensive type of home insurance you can purchase in Burnaby. Even so, it does not include everything.
  • No-frills: This coverage is even more stripped-down than the basic one and is meant for special cases only. If your home is old, for example, and extremely likely to suffer damage due to brittle pipes or poor structural integrity, then it may not qualify for regular insurance, such as basic, broad or comprehensive. No-frills coverage exists to provide protection for such homes. It is especially useful when you’re required to purchase insurance for mortgage purposes. It should be a temporary measure, however, until you address all the issues that disqualify your home from proper coverage.

What gets covered

Regardless of whether you go with basic, broad or comprehensive coverage, it must cover these three things:

  • Property: This should include all the structures on your property, such as the home itself, garage, guest house and other buildings. The covered perils will depend on your policy – whether it’s basic, broad or comprehensive. Don’t take it for granted that all your structures will be covered, however. Consult with your insurer to make sure that they are to avoid issues down the road.
  • Contents: This entails your personal possessions, such as furniture, electronics, clothing and so on. Note that some items may be too expensive to be covered by regular insurance, even if you buy a comprehensive policy. Items like fine art, jewelry and collectibles may require policy add-ons to be fully protected. Evaluate everything you own and consult with your insurer to see if all of your items are covered.
  • Additional living expenses: Should you become temporarily displaced due to an insurable event, this will cover your living expenses. For instance, if you’re forced to live in a hotel, your insurer may pay for both your room and groceries for the duration of your displacement (or up to a certain amount).

Liability coverage

Your liability coverage should encompass the following:

  • Personal liability: This will protect you if someone gets accidentally injured on your property.
  • Medical payments: If you unintentionally injure someone on your property, this will pay for the medical expenses for up to a year – from the date of the injury.
  • Property damage: If you (or a minor in your care under 12 years) cause unintentional loss or damage to someone’s property (such as your neighbour’s), then this will cover the costs.

Note that if any of the above are done intentionally (for instance, you intentionally hurt someone), then your liability coverage will become void.

Commonly covered perils

The most commonly covered perils in Burnaby – whether you choose basic, broad or comprehensive coverage – will usually be these:

  • Fire: No matter what causes the fire, your insurance company will cover the costs of replacing, rebuilding or repairing your property and recovering your belongings.
  • Lightning: Should lightning strike your property, it could damage the wiring in your walls as well as break your appliances and electronics. This will pay for repairing or replacing whatever ends up damaged.
  • Theft and vandalism: If your home happens to get robbed, this will pay for the replacement of the stolen items. The same applies if the home gets vandalized.
  • Water damage: This pays for the damage to your property and belongings caused by water leakage from indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning, sprinklers and similar appliances inside or outside your house. The tricky part is knowing what’s excluded. Most coverages usually exclude sewer back-up and overland flooding, so be sure to confirm what is and isn’t covered with your insurer.
  • Hail and wind: Should wind or hail damage your property or belongings in any way, this will pay for them. This includes damage from flying debris as well as falling trees and branches (if caused specifically by hail or wind).
  • Falling objects: This protects your property and belongings from falling objects, including space debris and space craft. There are exceptions, however, such as objects moved by landslides or snowslides. Confirm with your provider what is and isn’t covered.

Add-ons to home insurance coverage in Burnaby

You can enhance your standard Burnaby home insurance with ‘add-ons’ or ‘endorsements.’ This is useful when you find out that certain items or perils are not included in your policy – even if you go for comprehensive coverage. Here’s what typically gets covered in the form of add-ons:

  • Overland flooding: If your home gets flooded due to overflowing water from a river, stream, lake, thawing snow or another body of water, this add-on will protect you. In Burnaby, homes around the Still Creek are especially vulnerable to flooding. If you’re concerned about overland flooding, talk to your insurer. Do note that this add-on isn’t always offered.
  • Sewer back-up: This type of flooding occurs due to backed up sewage pipes, toilets, drains or showers. Such back-ups happen when too much rainwater or melted snow enters the sewer system at once. Sewage waste is known to cause illnesses and even death, so if sewer back-ups are a concern in your area, be sure to talk to your insurer about them.
  • Earthquake: Like most of British Columbia, Burnaby is in the earthquake risk zone. If you’re worried about earthquakes or other ‘earth-based’ perils, such as landslides, snowslides or volcanic eruptions, talk to your insurer to buy yourself extra coverage.
  • Windstorm: A windstorm can wreck your home’s structure, possessions and windows and shower everything you own in debris. Depending on your insurer and policy, you may have this covered from the get-go, but it’s worth inquiring your provider about the coverage just in case.
  • Mass evacuations: Should a major peril like flooding or wildfires lead to mass evacuations, this will cover your accommodations and food, while you’re away from home.
  • Valuable possessions: If you own expensive things like jewelry, collectibles and artwork, then you may need extra coverage for them. Do an inventory of all your possessions and assign monetary value to them. Then talk to your provider to find out if you need extra coverage.

What is not covered under your Burnaby home insurance

Unfortunately, your home insurance in Burnaby can’t protect you from everything. Certain perils are always excluded, no matter what. Here’s what they are:

  • Mold: Since mold occurs slowly due to pre-existing conditions, such as extreme humidity, there is usually enough time for you to prevent it. Home insurance isn’t meant for maintenance – it's here to address major perils only.
  • Pest infestations: Like mold, pest infestations, including mice, bedbugs, cockroaches and termites, are also a maintenance concern. So, if they cause any damage, it’s highly unlikely that your home insurance will cover it. That’s why, as soon as you notice an infestation, you should contact the appropriate service to help you resolve the issue (this service shouldn’t be your insurer!).
  • Deliberate damage or injuries: If you deliberately damage your own property or its contents, your insurance company will not cover the costs. In fact, if you attempt to claim money for damaging your own property, you may be accused of insurance fraud, which is illegal. If you purposely hurt someone on your property, your insurance will not cover the associated liability costs either, so don’t do it.

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What types of risks do homeowners face in Burnaby?

Burnaby faces many of the same risks as other cities in British Columbia. Here are some that you should watch out for as a homeowner:

  • Water damage from floods: It rains often in British Columbia, which is why many areas in the province are prone to overland flooding. Repeated rains can also cause sewer back-up, flooding homes through clogged up sewage pipes, toilets, drains and/or showers. Still Creek in Burnaby is notorious for overland flooding.
  • Earthquakes: While Burnaby isn’t as endangered by earthquakes as cities such as Delta and Richmond, it’s still at risk. Like many cities in British Columbia, Burnaby is close to the fault line between the North American Plate and the Juan de Fuca, which is what causes most of the earthquakes in the province.
  • Landslides: The mountainous terrain in Burnaby makes the city vulnerable to landslides in certain areas. Luckily, protection from earthquakes usually also includes protection from landslides, so consider getting this coverage if you think your home is at risk.

Factors that determine your Burnaby home insurance rates

Your Burnaby home insurance premium will depend heavily on certain factors that are unique to you and your property. Here are some of the biggest ones:

Home-related factors

  • Replacement cost: The cost of rebuilding your home from scratch can influence your premium. Your home’s age, square footage, number of floors and construction will all play a role in determining the costs. And as you might’ve guessed already, the higher the replacement cost, the higher the premium.
  • Square footage: More square footage equals higher premiums. That’s because bigger homes usually contain more items and require more materials to rebuild. So, when buying a home, take its size into account, if you want your insurance to be cheaper.
  • Piping: Older pipes, which tend to be either galvanized or made of lead, are more likely to leak or crack, which can cause water damage to your home. Because of the risk they pose, your premiums will be higher. If you end up purchasing an older home with outdated plumbing, consider switching to either copper or plastic pipes.
  • Electrical wiring: Aluminum or knob-and-tube electrical wiring poses a significant risk of fire damage. That’s why before insuring you, your provider may ask you for a guarantee that your home doesn’t include such wiring or inspect it to make sure the wiring is safe. Either way, your premium will be expensive as a result. Same applies if your home has fuses instead of breakers or an electrical service that’s below 100 amps, as they pose a higher risk of fire too.
  • Roof age: If your roof has not been renovated in over 20 years, then it’s old enough to start having issues, such as poor insulation and leaks, both of which can cause severe damage to the rest of your home. Because of this, insurers may cover no more than 25% of the roof’s replacement cost should an issue arise, in addition to charging you higher premiums.
  • Renovations: If your renovations happen to make your home more expensive to replace, then your premiums will go up. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to notify your insurer about this or not. Do note that if you choose not to notify your insurer, and something happens to your home, your payout may be lower than expected.
  • Location: Certain perils, such as relatively regular flooding in parts of Burnaby, can cause your insurance premiums to go up. Higher crime rates, including theft and vandalism, can do the same. Unfortunately, you can only control this factor when purchasing your home. So, do a little research ahead of time, and you’ll save yourself some money.
  • Closeness to fire halls and hydrants: This is more of an issue for homes in rural areas than homes in large cities like Burnaby. Even so, the farther your home is from a fire hall or fire hydrant, the more fire damage it is likely to suffer – as the fire would not be put out on time to prevent a good portion of the damage. The risk of this is what can lead to more expensive premiums.

Homeowner-related factors

  • Claims history: Aside from various risks, there’s also your claims history. The more claims you make, the higher the premium. Remember, insurance is meant for covering major damage only. If it’s a minor problem, then you’re better off handling it yourself. For instance, if a small part of your floor gets damaged by water, then it’s probably better to fix it yourself. On the flipside, if your entire basement gets flooded and destroyed, then it’s time to make a claim.
  • Mortgage: The less mortgage you owe, the lower your premium will be. In fact, you may get a discount ranging from 10% to 20%. Check with your insurer to see if you’re eligible.

Which companies offer home insurance quotes in Burnaby?

Company name Company type Phone number Address

Allied Insurance Services Inc.

Insurance agency

604-523-0900

106-7885 6th St, Burnaby, BC V3N 3N4

Allwest Insurance

Insurance agency

604-731-1319

4664 Lougheed Hwy., Burnaby, BC V5C 3Y2

Community Insurance Services (Metrotown)

Insurance agency

604-336-9111

1154-4700 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4M1

Hyde Park Insurance Agencies Ltd.

Insurance broker

604-999-2727

14-5901 Broadway, Burnaby, BC V5B 2Y1

InsuranceHotline.com

Quotes comparison

1-855-821-7312

100-360 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7

LowestRates.ca

Quotes comparison

1-855-487-6911

401-1910 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S 3B2

RATESDOTCA

Quotes comparison

1-844-726-0907

100-360 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1R7

Reliance Insurance Agencies Ltd.

Insurance agency

604-255-4616

4853 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2L1

Scoop Insurance

Insurance broker

1-866-456-6620

22-300 Lincoln St, Welland, ON L3B 4N4

Westland Insurance

Insurance broker

604-526-8645

1-7398 Edmonds St, Burnaby, BC V3N 1A8

How to get cheap home insurance in Burnaby

There are several ways to get cheap insurance in Burnaby, most of which will involve addressing the factors listed above. In addition to that, there are a few hacks you can apply as soon as you’re done reading this. Here’s what they are:

  • Increase your deductible: The higher the deductible, the less you have to pay for your insurance. That’s because you’ll be paying more out of pocket if something happens to your home. Given that this can be a risky proposition, consider the prospect of increasing your deductible carefully.
  • Install various alarm systems: If you live in a high-crime area with lots of break-ins and vandalism, consider installing a burglar alarm system, which will reduce the risk of both – and lower your premiums. Having good fire detectors would do the same, especially if your home is far away from any fire stations or hydrants, as mentioned above.
  • Upgrade your electrical and plumbing systems: If your home is on the older side, then it may have outdated plumbing and electrical systems, which increase the risks of flooding and fire, respectively. Consider upgrading them if you have the money. Doing so will not only lower your premiums but improve your safety.
  • Protect your home from severe weather and floods: Adding sump pumps, reinforcing your basement walls as well as renovating your roof can reduce the risk of weather-related damage, especially water damage. This will lower your premiums and make your home more reliable.
  • Ask for a loyalty discount: If you’ve been with the same insurer for a long time, then you may be entitled to a loyalty discount. When you’re about to renew your policy, ask your insurer about discounts.
  • Avoid monthly payments: Processing monthly payments results in higher administrative costs for insurers. By paying your premiums annually, you allow your provider to save on those costs, and thus, lower your premiums.
  • Don’t over-insure your home: Having all the coverage in the world may make you feel secure, sure, but it will also cost you a lot of money. And the reality is that most of this coverage will never be of any use to you. For instance, if you don’t have any overly expensive items, you may not require the ‘valuable possessions’ add-on. Evaluate your needs carefully and purchase only the coverage that meets them.
  • Bundle up: Bundle multiple insurance policies under the same provider, as it will not only net you a good discount but simplify your payments.
  • Comparison shop: Check out RATESDOTCA to compare quotes from over 50 home insurance providers in your area and secure the cheapest premium available. It’s quick, and it’s free.

Frequently asked questions about Burnaby home insurance

Got more questions about Burnaby home insurance? We got you covered.

Why is home insurance in Burnaby so expensive?

Burnaby is one of the most expensive cities for home insurance in British Columbia, coming close to places like Vancouver and Richmond. 

There are several reasons for this:

  • Earthquakes: Due to Burnaby’s proximity to the fault line between the North American Plate and the Juan de Fuca Plate, it’s at a very high risk of earthquakes, like many other cities in the province.
  • High replacement costs: Home rebuilding costs differ from city to city due to factors such as labour costs, material costs and so on. According to Altus Group, building a home in Vancouver is more expensive than anywhere else in Canada, and home insurance premiums seem to back this up. It’s not a stretch then to assume that Burnaby is in a similar position, given that its premiums are comparable to those in Vancouver. In addition, homes in Burnaby, and in British Columbia as a whole, need to be resistant to earthquakes, which further increases their rebuilding costs.

Do high Burnaby real estate prices affect the cost of home insurance?

No, real estate prices have no direct effect on home insurance premiums – in Burnaby or anywhere else in Canada. What does impact home insurance premiums, however, is the cost of rebuilding a home from scratch. When determining rebuilding costs, insurers account for materials, labour, permits and other factors, all of which vary in cost from city to city. That’s why rebuilding costs are different across Canada, and so are the insurance premiums.

Which company offers the cheapest Burnaby home insurance?

The cost of home insurance in Burnaby depends on your property, claims history and coverage. Because of this, naming the ‘cheapest’ insurance provider is impossible. That said, you can find a provider who will offer the cheapest quote to you. Doing so will involve shopping around and using online tools such as RATESDOTCA to compare the cheapest quotes available in your area.

How do I save on Burnaby home insurance?

Start by shopping around for the cheapest quote, using websites like RATESDOTCA. On RATESDOTCA, you can compare quotes from over 50 insurance providers in your area for free. All you need to do is take a minute or so to share a little information about yourself, so you can get the coverage that matches your exact needs, and the quotes should start pouring in.

If you’re still not satisfied with your premium, even after shopping around, then you may want to reduce the risks to your property, increase your deductible, ask for discounts, among other things. For more details, check out our tips on how to get cheap home insurance in Burnaby.

*Shoppers who obtained a home insurance quote on RATESDOTCA from January to December 2023 saved an average amount of $417. 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 tenant and condo insurance.

Taras Trofimov ,
Content Manager

Taras is a content manager at RATESDOTCA, specializing in home insurance. He has worked at the company for a year and has since collaborated with multiple experts to fully familiarize himself with the intricacies of the insurance industry.

He has over nine years of content marketing experience across multiple industries in B2B and B2C spaces. He has produced thought leadership content for organizations like Constellation Software, Facebook and Yellow Pages as well as outlets like Huffington Post and MSN Canada.

He has graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies and has also studied Technical Communication at Seneca College – the co-op program that introduced him to the world of content marketing.

Experience
  • Home Insurance
Education
  • Bachelor of Arts at York University

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