Insuring a heritage building in Canada can sometimes be difficult, but there are signs that the situation is improving. There are two main reasons why insurance companies may be hesitant to insure a heritage building:
- a perception that heritage buildings carry higher risks due to old wiring, piping, heating sources, foundations, and roofs
- a perception that, in the case of a claim, it is too costly for insurance companies to replace the materials of designated heritage sites.
There are several steps that owners of heritage buildings can take to reduce the risk for insurance companies:
- install smoke detectors
- assess and replace old wiring if needed and
- ensure that heating sources do not pose fire risks.
Remember, in the case of a claim, not all heritage bylaws require that homes be replaced using the exact materials with which they were originally built. Most designations are only concerned with the exterior of heritage buildings.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers five tips for heritage homeowners who are seeking insurance:
1) Shop around for the most suitable policy and price.
2) Consider the claims settlement process and the deductible.
3) Reduce your risk by reducing your chances of having to make a claim.
4) Keep accurate records of the unique features of your heritage home.
5) Make sure to purchase enough insurance coverage.
Contact information for the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s regional and head offices: http://www.ibc.ca/en/Contact_Us.asp
- Insurance Bureau of Canada’s brochure, "Heritage Properties: Insuring the Living Past" and their online video, "You Wanted to Know"
- Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's, "Insurance and Heritage Properties" (2012)
Ecclesiastical Insurance Focus document, “Insuring Heritage Buildings in Canada” (2010)
- “Insuring Old Homes in Nova Scotia”
- “Heritage Insurance Sizzling in B.C." (Hēritage, Fall/Winter 2007)
- “Getting Insurance for your Heritage Property: Insurance Industry Working to Make it Easier,”(Hēritage, Winter 2005)
- “What’s Your Policy? Owners Face Insurance Woes On Older Homes,”(Hēritage, Spring 2004)
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