As brokers we often have referrals from our clients for people moving to Canada. Many of the insurance companies we deal with have operations internationally. However, one of the things that is not always obvious when moving to Canada is that even though the insurance company may be the same, or the coverages may be similar, the rules can be slightly different and there are aspects of the insurance that can save you money if you come prepared for your move.
We have put together some tips based on commonly asked questions we get when insuring people who are moving to Canada.
Here are some things that can help you when moving to Canada with insurance:
1. Moving Insurance
Find out if your current insurance company does business in Canada, and get a quote with them for your new home. You might be able to negotiate coverage for your items while in transit if your Canadian insurance branch is willing to step in. This could save you money on your moving costs.
Beware that the coverage they provide may be limited to theft and fire, and not extended coverages like breakage of fragile items.
If you cannot obtain insurance coverage for your items from your home insurance company during the move, you can look into insurance with your moving company. They will be able to offer you several levels of coverage, so be sure to ask them what is included in the option they are offering you.
Depending on the type of transportation you will have for your items, you should also find out what the requirements will be at the border crossing, or if the moving transport company will charge you additional fees (such as brokerage fees).
2. Home, Condo or Renters Insurance
Residential insurance works very similarly in Canada as it does in the U.S.A. Although we don’t use the same policy form names (like HO-3 or HO-5), in Canada we do use similar terminology that describes the coverage. For example, All Risk in Canada is the same concept as All Perils or Open perils in the U.S.
You will want to make sure that if you choose all perils or all risk on your building, you also have the same coverage on your contents, which is known as comprehensive coverage in Canada.
There is an option where you can elect to save money by choosing all perils on the building and only named perils on the contents. This would be known as Broad form coverage. However this could put you at risk for a lot of losses that may not be fully covered. Make sure you understand what you are purchasing.
Coverage options in the U.S. and Canada both share the same concept for Actual Cash Value coverage, Replacement Cost Coverage or Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage (although the limits in the wording may vary).
Each insurance company may come up with a special name for the type of policy, but if you stick to the basics (like asking for an All Risk policy), or if it is replacement cost or cash value, you will have an idea of where you are starting out. For more information on Canadian Insurance policy forms you can also take a look at the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s consumer information site. http://www.ibc.ca/ns/home
3. Other Coverages to Consider When Moving to Canada
For property, depending on the part of the country you move to, certain coverages may become more important when insuring your property in Canada. Be sure to inquire about:
Above Ground Water
Flood Insurance or Overland Water Coverage – which is available as a basic add-on to a home policy with some homes companies, unlike flood coverage in the U.S.
4. Health Care Insurance – Visitors to Canada and Immigrants
When you arrive in Canada, you will not be eligible at first for our public health insurance; therefore it is important to obtain a policy that covers you while you wait to be accepted into the Canadian health care system. As brokers we specialize in visitors to Canada health insurance, you can learn more about this in our article here.
5. Moving Your Car to Canada
If you are driving or transporting your car because you are moving to Canada, it is important to discuss with your current insurer how they will cover the vehicle and until when. You can then contact an insurance broker in Canada to take care of the transfer of insurance. Normally a vehicle cannot be insured in Canada until it is registered in Canada, however you may be able to obtain a transit permit which will allow insurance to begin under special circumstances. An insurance broker can help you figure this all out.
Car Insurance Coverage in Canada is almost the same as the United States; you have the same basic coverages: Liability, Collision and Comprehensive Coverage. Just like in the U.S., the coverage for personal injury and other liability concerns will vary from province to province, so you will want to discuss those details with a licensed broker who can guide you through the coverages.
6. Paying Less for Insurance When Moving to Canada
You can save a lot of money when you move to Canada if you remember to bring these items with you, or provide them to your insurance representative:
Letter of claims experience, or driving history, for your car and residence
Credit rating or letter from your bank confirming a good credit history.