Average Home Insurance in Ontario

By Michelle Moon

Buying a house is incredibly exciting, and even a little scary, but most of us get so caught up in the experience that we don’t always realize the insurance rates we’re going to get before signing on the dotted line.

It’s important to know what you’re likely to pay in a given city before getting too attached to a house. That’s why we studied 2,800 home insurance policies to see what people pay in Ontario’s major cities. Just remember that home insurance can vary according to many personal factors, even within the same city.

For a quick refresher, those factors include:

  • The cost to rebuild the home
  • The cost of your belongings (“contents insurance”)
  • Distance from the nearest fire hydrant
  • Home upgrades
  • Your credit score
  • Your personal claims history

The only way to know your rate definitively is to get a proper quote, but you can still use these averages like a cheat sheet if you haven’t short-listed any homes yet.

Ontario’s Average Home Insurance Rates

Across detached homes, condos, and rental dwellings, the average Ontarian pays $761 in home insurance every year—but it’s higher for full-blown home owners with more expensive dwellings, of course.

Here’s the breakdown by the type of home insurance Ontarians get:

  • Home insurance for owners: $1,521
  • Home insurance for condo owners: $345

It varies considerably by the kind of insurance you buy, but that’s not a surprise. Home owners need to insure the actual structure on a property, whereas tenants and condo owners don’t.

Specifically, condo owners usually just need to insure the inside of their own units—but the condo corporation will usually have a master policy that covers public areas, sometimes even covering damages inside each unit up to a certain point (but not unit upgrades).

These are just averages, obviously. Your home insurance rate can vary widely based on the cost to rebuild the structure, your neighbourhood, distance from the nearest fire hydrant, and plenty of other factors.

It sure helps to have a ballpark figure, though.

What Insurance Costs for Home Owners, by City

Ontario is a big place. A home policy for someone in Toronto probably won’t cost the same as a comparable dwelling in Windsor, but the data can help you form a budget while you’re entering the real estate market.

We’ll focus on data for home owners here:

Some cities have surprisingly high rates, whereas some cities that you’d expect to be more expensive have pleasantly affordable rates.

That’s because property value isn’t really a factor when it comes to home insurance—in fact, home insurance rates aren’t underwritten based on your property’s value. The “cost to rebuild” is, by far, the most common way to payout the value of damage to your home.

The regional cost of real estate might have a tangential impact on the cost of labour at most, but the core underwriting factors will have a bigger impact on your home insurance rate.

Quick Tips to Beat the Average Rate in Your City

You don’t have to pay exactly what you see listed as the average in your city. Rates can vary due to all kinds of factors, but there are some you can affect directly while you’re still in the home-buying process.

Follow this checklist when you’re evaluating a property as your next home. It could end up saving your money, and that’s never a bad thing:

  • Choose a home within 300 feet of a fire hydrant
  • Keep your credit score in good shape
  • Double-check that the neighbourhood has a low crime rate.
  • Look at newer neighbourhoods, as older homes tend to experience more sewer back-ups
  • Eyeing an old house? Get an inspection to rule out uninsurable features, like knob and tube wiring.
  • Mention your home security system, if you have one.

You’ll be in good shape to get a relatively inexpensive policy if you follow those guidelines. Always think about the insurance rate for homes to help with your budget—it makes managing the mortgage that much easier.

Happy house hunting!