Northern communities among top 10 most expensive for home insurance

Five communities in northern Ontario make up half of the top 10 most expensive areas for home insurance in the province, according to insurance comparison website RatesDotCA. (Photo from video)

Five communities in northern Ontario make up half of the top 10 most expensive areas for home insurance in the province, according to insurance comparison website RatesDotCA.

Based on data collected from its comparison software, the site lists the following areas with the highest estimated annual insurance premiums:

1. Lasalle - $2,098

2. Windsor - $2,072

3. Kingsville - $1,889

4. Amherstburg - $1,864

5. Thunder Bay - $1,857

6. Timmins - $1,821

7. Lively (Walden) - $1,761

8. Essex - $1,760

9. Garson - $1,747

10. Elliot Lake - $1,747

With some of the least expensive areas in the province closer to $1,000, such as a city like Oakville, the website's managing editor, John Shmeul, said the main cause is higher levels of claims being made in smaller and rural communities.

There are a variety of reasons for this, he said, including risks of weather hazards, flooding, sewer backup and break-ins.

"In some areas in northern Ontario and in some of the smaller municipalities, you'll see higher home insurance rates correlate with higher crime rates and in particular property crime," Shmeul said.

Water damage claims

The president of PAIB insurance in Timmins, Dan Ayotte, said claims related to water damage have been a large cause of rising premiums in recent years.

He said more claims will inevitably lead to higher premiums, so for people looking to save money, it's best to be diligent about filing one only when absolutely necessary.

"The less claims we have will drive down premiums," Ayotte said. "Now, we are there to pay claims. So when a disaster does occur, that's why your insurance is there -- a fire, a theft, a full sewer backup."

Many insurers do offer discounts for homeowners who make upgrades to prevent sewer backups and break-ins, he said.

Paying a higher deductible and having an emergency fund to use instead of filing a claim will help people save money in the long run, Ayotte said.