Your standard home insurance policy contains three main pieces: building insurance, contents insurance and liability insurance. While liability covers you for lawsuits, you may wonder: what is building and contents insurance?
Essentially, building (or dwelling) insurance covers the structure you live in, and contents (or personal property) insurance covers your stuff.
Is building insurance the same as home insurance?
Home insurance is a policy containing the coverage you need to protect all aspects of your home. Building insurance is one of those coverages. It’s also found in condo insurance and landlord policies.
Building insurance is critical if you own the building or unit you live in. It protects you by covering the cost of repairing or replacing your home or any attached structures, like a backyard deck.
The damage is insured if it was caused by a named peril. These typically include:
- Vehicle Impact
You may notice this list is shorter than what’s on many home insurance policies. That’s because building insurance is the basic coverage – perils like water damage, natural disasters and sewage backup, while fairly common, aren’t listed in building insurance and must be added as optional endorsements. However, most comprehensive home insurance policies will often include some add-ons for your convenience.
As part of a policy, building insurance is often the most valuable. The idea of paying out of pocket to rebuild even part of your home after a fire is enough to keep anyone up at night. That’s why it’s also generally the most expensive part of home insurance.
How much building insurance do you need?
When you buy a policy, the insurance company will determine how much building coverage you need based on the cost to completely rebuild your home.
They’ll look at the price of construction in your neighbourhood, the size of your home, the number of stories, its age and style.
These determinations are important because they’ll help decide the cost of the other parts of your policy. For example, your contents coverage is usually valued at about 50% of the building coverage.
For this reason, you should have your building re-appraised whenever you make a major change; like if you decide to finally do that major renovation you’ve always dreamed of and it rightfully raises the value of your property, or you add an extension to your house, increasing your square footage. Suddenly, the cost to rebuild your house is higher than when you first purchased home insurance, and your building insurance coverage may no longer pay for a complete reconstruction.