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Written By Alexandra Bosanac

Updated

Home insurance in Winnipeg 

Unlike car insurance, you’re not legally required to buy insurance for your house.

Nevertheless, most homeowners get it since mortgage lenders won’t provide a loan without proof of coverage.

Home insurance provides financial and emotional benefits even without the arm-twisting from banks.

If a covered peril causes damage to your home, you won’t be out of pocket to rebuild, which is great for your finances and peace of mind.

Another unsung benefit of home insurance is the liability coverage it provides. You will be covered if someone is injured on your property or if you cause damage to another person’s property.

Need more convincing? Here's a whammy. Homeowners in the Prairies are used to harsh weather. Still, climate change is producing more extreme storms, and the Western provinces are getting the brunt of it.

Insurance losses caused by severe weather routinely pass the $2 billion mark annually. In comparison, in the decade before 2008, insurers only averaged $456 million in losses, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Simply put, it’s more important than ever to have home insurance. Here’s the type of coverage that's included in standard insurance, plus the coverage you can add to your base policy at extra cost.

Types of home insurance in Winnipeg 

A standard Winnipeg home insurance policy usually has two parts: property and liability coverage. Here's a breakdown of each one.

Home insurance coverage

  • Property and building: Covers the structures on your property. Protected incidents include fire theft and water damage, among others. Garages and guest houses may require additional insurance. The amount you receive from your insurance company is based on the replacement cost, not the market value of your home.
  • Contents and personal property: Protects furniture, clothing, and other effects against damage, theft, or vandalism. The policy limit on a standard insurance policy is usually low and can't adequately cover high-value items like jewelry or fine art. Consider additional coverage for these items. Compiling an inventory of your possessions is also a must. Knowing what you own will help you select the right amount of insurance and will ensure you retrieve any losses should you ever need to file a claim.
  • Additional living expenses (ALE): Covers temporary housing costs if an insurable event displaces you. For example, water damage forces you to check into a hotel. In that case, ALE will cover the cost of your room and food up to a certain amount.

Liability coverage 

  • Personal liability: Safeguards your liability if someone is accidentally injured on your property.

    The default on most home insurance plans for personal liability is $100,000, but it is recommended that homeowners have coverage for as high as $1,000,000. Depending on your policy this can go as high as $5,000,000.
  • Voluntary medical payments: Pays for medical expenses for up to a year if someone is accidentally injured on your property. Without it, you’ll be on the hook to pay for their care.

    Insurers in Winnipeg offer coverage for Voluntary Medical Payments that typically range between $5,000 and $10,000, and there is no deductible.
  • Voluntary property damage: Coverage for when you unintentionally, or any minors in your care, cause damage to someone's property.

    Most insurance companies in Winnipeg set their limits for Voluntary Property Damage at $1,000. However, this will vary according to insurer and policy, and often goes as high as $6,000.

Add-ons to Winnipeg home insurance coverage  

Sometimes standard coverage needs to be broadened to meet your needs. Not a problem; purchasing additional protection for your home and contents is easy.

  • Overland water: Covers property damage from overflowing water from streams, rivers, lakes, and thawing snow.
  • Sewer back-up: Protects your home when a main sewer backs up in your home and causes damage.
  • Earthquake: Covers losses or damage caused by an earthquake.
  • Mass evacuation: If the government issues an evacuation order, this add-on pays for some of the expenses you incur.
  • Identity theft: Covers the cost of replacing important identification, your passport, for example.
  • Lock replacement: Pays to replace your home’s locks if your keys are lost or stolen.

What is not included in a typical Winnipeg home insurance policy? 

Even the most comprehensive home insurance policy won’t protect you from some perils. These are known as ‘exclusions’ in insurance-speak. Here are some standard exclusions:

  • Absence from the home: Any damage that takes place while you’re away from home for an extended period (usually 30 days or more) won’t be covered.
  • Alterations: Always inform your insurance company before you make any significant changes to your home. Suppose you don’t clear it with insurance first, and a customarily insured peril occurs during construction. In that case, you won’t be covered for it. That said, you don’t have to give a heads-up for common repairs like painting or fixing a broken railing. Your insurance company might require you to hire a licensed and adequately insured contractor, reducing the chances of shoddy, unfinished work and the possibility of a claim being filed.  
  • Bylaw enforcement: If you violate a bylaw and suffer a financial loss, your policy won’t recoup your costs. You can buy protection against this as an add-on.
  • Damage from renters: Your personal home insurance policy won't cover damage caused by tenants. For this, you need landlord insurance, a different insurance product.
  • Earthquake: Standard home insurance policies exclude damage from earthquakes, but you can buy earthquake protection at extra cost.
  • Existing damage: You’re unlikely to be covered for damage that existed before you bought the policy.
  • Flooding: Most policies exclude flood protection, but you can purchase it as an endorsement.
  • Volatile substances: You won’t be covered if a fire breaks out and you keep volatile or combustible substances on your property.

One peril for which no coverage is available is for homes built on a known flood plain. In tthishe scenario, you may not be able to get home insurance at all.

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What types of risks do homeowners face in Winnipeg? 

Manitobans endure long, frigid winters and short, humid summers. The climate can take a toll on a home's structure. Here are the specific perils that Winnipeg homeowners need to guard against: 

  • Water damage: Winnipeg gets heavy snowfall, which can cause water damage when it melts. Flooding is common in the spring due to melting snow and heavy rain. Water damage can cause mould and damage insulation, drywall, electrical systems, and flooring, carpets and cause cracks in the walls.  
  • Frozen pipes: When the temperature dips, the water inside pipes can freeze, especially on cold and windy days. The ice creates pressure inside the pipes, which eventually burst. Damage from burst pipes can cause mould and damage to your contents and compromise the structural integrity of your home.  
  • Roof collapse: If too much snow accumulates on your roof, it may cave in. Keeping your roof in good shape is imperative to avoid making a claim. 
  • Fire: Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity throughout Canada, including Manitoba.  
  • Wind damage: Winnipeg is in the path of Canada’s Tornado Alley. Tornadoes can do extensive damage within minutes. They have been known to flatten houses and uproot trees. 
  • Pest infestation: Some pests seek shelter in homes during winter by entering your home through tiny crevices.  

Factors that determine your Winnipeg home insurance rates  

Understanding your home's unique risk factors is crucial to understanding how home insurance pricing works. The more risk your home presents, the more likely you will file a claim, resulting in higher premiums.

Here are the variables that have the most significant impact on the cost of your home insurance policy:

  • Flood risk: Insurance costs more for homes located beside waterways or within known flood plains.
  • Disrepair: Home insurance only protects you against unexpected damage. Deferring any projects essential to keeping your home in good repair is a bad idea. Any claims against your policy may be denied.
  • Replacement cost: Home insurance compensates you for the cost to repair or rebuild your home, not its current market value. The more premium the materials you use, the more expensive your coverage will be.
  • Property location: If you live in a neighbourhood prone to break-ins, you might pay more for insurance.
  • Basement: A basement could increase your premium, as all basements are susceptible to flooding.
  • Electric wiring: Houses with outdated knob-and-tube wiring are at greater risk for fire, making them more expensive to insure.
  • House age: Older homes have more problems; therefore, owners pay more to insure them.
  • High-risk household appliances: Wood-burning stoves and oil-based heaters can reduce energy costs but also increase fire risk.
  • Roof: Replacing a roof can easily run into the five digits. The materials will also affect your insurance premium.
  • Pets: You need to disclose whether you have a pet to your insurance company, as some are considered a liability. Some insurers even refuse coverage to people with pit bulls or rottweilers.
  • Smoking: An unattended cigarette is a major fire hazard, so home insurance providers offer discounts to non-smokers.
  • Pools: Pools, especially in households with young children, are a liability. Home insurance companies charge more for homes with pools.

How to lower your Winnipeg home insurance premium  

To get a lower home insurance premium, you have to find creative ways to lower your risk. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Bundle your policies: Bundling refers to when you purchase multiple lines of insurance from the same company. By giving them more business, insurers will usually reward you with discounts of up to 15%. The most common bundle is home and auto insurance, which isn’t available in Manitoba due to the province’s public car insurance system. However, if you have more than one property (like a cottage, condo, or income property) you could receive a discount by insuring them with the same company.
  • Compare rates: Comparing quotes online is a fast, convenient, and effective way to find the lowest possible insurance rate. RATESDOTCA’s free online quoter will scan offers from 50+ insurance providers and find the best offers for you, highlighting the one with the best coverage at the lowest rate.
  • Consent to a credit check: In Manitoba, insurance companies can do ‘soft’ credit inquiries (meaning it won’t affect your score) with your permission. Homeowners with excellent scores are eligible for discounts.
  • Keep your home in good repair: Don't defer necessary repairs or updates. No home insurance policy will cover the cost of damage caused by neglect.
  • Increase your deductible: Raising a deductible will lower your monthly premium. Just make sure you have the cash available if you ever make a claim.
  • Install a backwater valve: Prevent flood damage from sewer back-up with a backwater valve that automatically closes if sewage backs up.
  • Install a security system: A system that’s monitored by a third party can deter thieves from breaking into your home altogether. Security systems also effectively mitigate the damage if they enter your home. There is also a range of consumer security devices that you can monitor yourself. Insurance companies will reward you for taking either route, although the discounts might be greater if you install a third party system.
  • Memberships: You could be eligible for discounts for being an alumnus or member of a professional guild.
  • Pay upfront: Insurance companies will lower your bill for paying for the year in a lump sum. Because you’re paying upfront, they save on overhead costs.

What’s the average cost of home insurance in Winnipeg? 

Home insurance is a custom product, so the average premium isn't always a reliable indicator of what you'll end up paying.  

Premiums are based on a dwelling's type and size, location and many other factors. They're also influenced by the insurance company's size and quality of their insurance “pool” (insurance-speak for their other customers).  

As all these factors are in play, premiums can vary significantly between insurance companies.  

A quick way to find your average estimated rate is to compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. RATESDOTCA can aggregate quotes from 50+ Canadian insurance providers, letting you see which one offers your lowest premium.  

Frequently asked questions about Winnipeg home insurance 

Here’s more about Winnipeg home insurance.

Which company offers the cheapest Winnipeg home insurance?

The answer often differs by applicant. The final price depends on a multitude of factors. That’s where comparing quotes — the more, the better — comes in.

Rates comparison sites like RATESDOTCA source quotes from dozens of Canadian insurance companies to help you find the one offering the coverage you want for the lowest price.

How do I save on Winnipeg home insurance?

You can save money on Winnipeg home insurance by comparing quotes from the top home insurance providers in the province and de-risking your home.

How do Winnipeg home insurance claims work?

Most Winnipeg home insurance claims can be made online. In some cases, you will need to download forms and provide documentation about the claims you are making. Most companies also have an app that allows the claims process to begin on your phone.

You can also call your insurance agent or provider directly and get the claims process going that way. It’s best if you have receipts and photos of the items you are making claims on. It’s also a good idea to keep an inventory of your valuables that you want to be insured, in case you need to make claims on them. 

Once the forms and documentation are provided, your Winnipeg insurance provider will contact you about an adjuster consultation and payment.

Is fire covered under my Winnipeg home insurance policy?

Winnipeg home insurance policies cover named perils except in policies that have additional add-ons or riders. Most standard policies will cover the damage to your home from risks, including fire, water damage, wind, theft and vandalism.

*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.

Alexandra Bosanac ,
Content Manager

Alexandra Bosanac has been a content manager for RATESDOTCA since 2021, specializing in auto insurance. She began covering auto insurance in 2017. Alexandra has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University. Before joining the RATESDOTCA editorial team, she reported for the Canadian Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post, and the CBC.

Experience
  • Car Insurance
Education
  • Bachelor of Journalism, Toronto Metropolitan University
Featured in
  • Investigative researcher at CBC
  • Breaking news reporter at Toronto Star
  • General assignment reporter at National Post
  • Business and general assignment reporter at The Canadian Press
  • Writer at Canadian Business

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