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Written By Joel Kranc

Contributing writer


What is voluntary property damage coverage?

Not only will home insurance help pay to rebuild your home and replace its contents, it will shield you if you accidentally damage someone else's property. This coverage is listed as 'voluntary property damage' in your policy, and it's useful because it can avert unnecessary legal expenses.

Voluntary property damage covers unintentional loss or damage that you or a person in your household causes to someone else's property that you are not legally liable for, and it’s included in most home insurance policies. It also covers unintentional and intentional damage caused by a minor (under 12-years-old) in your care.

Most insurance companies in Ontario set their maximum limit for voluntary property damage at $1,000 for each occurrence; however, this may vary according to insurer and policy.

Your insurer will pay for repairs or a replacement item while factoring in depreciation. You don't have to pay a deductible to use your voluntary property damage coverage.

In addition to voluntary property coverage, home insurance provides third-party liability protection, which you can claim when someone hurts themselves on your property and sues for damages. Some of the most common causes for lawsuits that call for third-party liability insurance include animal bites, swimming accidents, injuries stemming from overconsumption of alcohol, and slips and falls from icy, cluttered, or unstable surfaces. Insurance experts recommend carrying at least $1 million in liability coverage.

Another type of liability insurance you'll find in your policy is 'voluntary medical payments.' If someone hurts themselves on your property, this coverage pays for their medical expenses for one year after the date of the accident. What distinguishes this coverage from standard third-party liability is that you don't have to accept liability to claim voluntary medical payments coverage. The limit for voluntary medical payments is usually $5,000 per person.

Scenarios where voluntary property damage coverage might come in handy

Let’s say you and your friends are playing road hockey, and a flick of the wrist shoots the puck into the neighbour’s window. Voluntary property damage insurance would cover the damage if the damage.

Or, perhaps a tree on your property falls onto your neighbour’s house. You could draw upon voluntary property damage to help your neighbour with the cost of cleaning up.

Recent Ontario home insurance quotes

Recent Home Insurance Quote from London, ON
Detached 1,499 sq ft
July 20, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 134 / month
$1,605 / year
Average Quote
$ 218 / month
$2,612 / year
$ 84 / month
$1,008 / year
39.00 %
Recent Home Insurance Quote from London, ON
Detached 1,363 sq ft
July 18, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 88 / month
$1,058 / year
Average Quote
$ 111 / month
$1,328 / year
$ 23 / month
$276 / year
20.00 %
Recent Home Insurance Quote from London, ON
Detached 1,258 sq ft
July 18, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 96 / month
$1,151 / year
Average Quote
$ 170 / month
$2,044 / year
$ 74 / month
$888 / year
44.00 %
Home insurance quotes are compared from Apollo Insurance, CAA, Economical Insurance, Pembridge, Square One Insurance, and SGI

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What isn’t covered by voluntary property damage coverage? 

Voluntary property damage coverage will only pay to repair or replace a damaged object. It will not cover you if: 

  • You or a member of your household intentionally caused damage (unless the person responsible is 12-years-old or younger). 
  • The cost to repair or replace the broken item is too small.

You also can't file a claim under voluntary property damage to compensate someone for loss of use or missed time from work. You may need to draw down on the third-party liability portion of your policy.

What is the typical payout for voluntary property damage coverage?

Most insurance companies in Ontario limit settlements to $1,000 per occurrence.

Your insurer will pay for repairs or will pay to replace a broken item while factoring in depreciation. You don't have to pay a deductible to use your voluntary property damage coverage. 

Each provider is different, and limits can vary. Talk to your provider about their limits around voluntary property damage coverage.

How do I know voluntary property damage home insurance is suitable for me? 

Voluntary property damage is already included in most home insurance policies, and it can prevent significant headaches by dissuading the third party from going to small claims court.

You and anyone in your household have extra protection from unintentional damage caused to someone else. It even covers intentional damage caused by children. While that may seem like an unlikely event, you’ll be happy you got the extra coverage if something does happen — being able to offer cash to repair or replace a broken object can go a long way to restore goodwill between two parties.

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