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The claim conundrum – get the most out of your home insurance policy


Home insurance protects your biggest investment: your home and its contents. Working with an insurance broker will help you get the best possible value from your policy by ensuring that the proper discounts and relevant endorsements are included.

In addition to working with your broker, you can also get the best value from your policy by learning how to evaluate if it’s worth submitting a claim.

Is the claim larger than your deductible?

Your home insurance policy’s deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for covered damages. If the amount you want to claim is less than your deductible, then it is not worth filing the claim. For example, if the repairs cost $800 and your deductible is $1,000, you will end up paying the full $800. In this case, you probably would not want to submit the claim as it will not help you cover the cost of the repairs.

Is the loss or damage covered by your policy?

Two women review something on their laptop together while at their kitchen table.Before you submit the claim, review your policy to see what’s covered. Some losses and damage are never covered by home insurance, such as damage caused by birds and vermin or wear and tear. Reviewing your policy first can save you the time of filing a claim if your policy does not cover the loss or damage that occurred. You can add additional coverage to a policy, such as overland water coverage or sewage back-up coverage; however, the addition to your policy must have been completed prior to the loss occurring.

Is the specific item that was damaged covered by your policy?

Your home insurance policy will cover most items you own, like your personal computer or clothes. However, some items such as bikes, jewelry, antiques and art have their own coverage limits. You must add additional coverage for these valuables separately to cover the full value, known as scheduling an item. Review the limits and exclusions for these specialty items to see if your home insurance policy will cover their value.

Is it worth keeping your claims free discount?

Typically, home insurance policies will grant a claims free discount if you have not filed a claim within a set amount of time specified by your insurer. If you file a claim, this discount will no longer apply, and your premium may increase accordingly, until you have been claims free again for a number of years. 

If you’re looking to file a large claim worth thousands of dollars, it’s likely in your interest to file that claim. However, if the claim is for something small that you can afford to pay, calculate how much more you would pay in premiums without the claims free discount. This will help you determine which option will save you more money down the road. 

Keep your claims free discount with Claim Protector coverage

When you add Claim Protector coverage to your home insurance policy, you can keep your claims free discount after your first claim. This way you will continue to save on your home insurance premium. Claim Protector coverage will only apply with your current insurer, so if you switch to a new insurer you won’t qualify for their claims free discount if you have made a claim. 

If you’re interested in adding Claim Protector coverage to your home insurance policy or have questions about your current policy, call your OTIP broker at 1-800-267-6847. If you would like to get a quote for home insurance, call 1-866-561-5559

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