Outbuilding insurance is protection for private structures detached from your home. Outbuildings can include sheds, garages, pools, decks, and more. Outbuilding insurance is part of your home insurance, and limited coverage is included in your residential policy. In insurance terminology, outbuilding insurance is part of Coverage B of a home policy. There are situations, however, when you may need more coverage for outbuildings than what is provided in a standard home policy. Speaking with an insurance broker is the best bet to determine the right outbuilding insurance for your individual situation.
An outbuilding is a detached private structure on your property. Common structures that are considered outbuildings include sheds, garages, pools, pool houses, fences, gazebos, greenhouses, decks, storage buildings, guest houses, granny flats, boathouses, and more. Outbuilding insurance can protect these.
Yes, you should insure your detached structures, including sheds. You likely store items in these outdoor structures such as a lawnmower, bicycle, or patio furniture, so in the event of a loss, you will want to ensure your contents are protected. In most cases, you do not need a stand-alone policy to insure your outdoor structures because outbuilding insurance is provided under Coverage B, the detached private structures portion, of your home policy.
Yes, your home policy does include outbuilding insurance under Coverage B, the detached structures portion of your homeowner policy. Coverages provided in Coverage B differ among insurance providers. Coverage is usually limited to 10%-20% of the insurance on the main dwelling. Suppose your residence is insured for $750,000; your outbuilding insurance will typically be limited to $75,000 to $150,000. It is important to speak with an insurance broker who will help determine if you have the right amount of outbuilding coverage.
Detached structures on standard home insurance policies are covered for the same losses and perils as your residence. The insured risks are fire, theft, lightning, explosion, smoke, falling objects, aircraft or land vehicle impact, riot, burglary and robbery, vandalism or malicious acts, water damage, wind storm or hail, and more. Some of the more common claims involving detached structures are for damage due to fire, falling objects such as trees, water damage, and wind or hail storm damage.
Depending on your situation, a standard home policy may provide adequate outbuilding insurance. To be sure, we recommend speaking to a broker about your unattached structures and the type of outbuilding insurance you require. Outbuilding insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Details like the structure's size, type and use will determine your outbuilding insurance needs.
In terms of outbuilding insurance coverage, several factors determine what type of outbuilding insurance you need to be appropriately protected.
Suppose you live on a large property with multiple detached farm outbuildings such as barns, stables, granaries, and other similar farm structures. In this case, a homeowner policy will not provide sufficient outbuilding insurance for your farm outbuildings. We recommend you look into additional insurance or a policy specific to the building's use(s), such as a farm insurance policy or a commercial policy. If you operate a home-based business in an outbuilding, we recommend speaking to a broker about the details of your business to determine what insurance is best. An insurance broker can provide expert advice to ensure you have the proper outbuilding insurance.
There are different types of insurance for personal, and business uses. Discussing outbuilding insurance and your business with your insurance broker is essential if you operate a business from your garage or another detached structure on your residential property. All insurance companies are different; however, many can add an endorsement to your home policy that will cover business-in-the-home uses. Most insurance companies have a 'list' of operations permitted to be covered under a residential policy. Suppose your business cannot be insured through home-based business coverage. In that case, an insurance broker can get you several commercial insurance quotes to ensure you and your business are adequately protected. Speaking to an insurance broker is highly recommended to ensure you have the proper outbuilding insurance.
Always speak to your broker about the use of your outbuildings, including what is stored inside, such as expensive cars, outdoor equipment, garden tools, power tools, or other expensive items. Predicting when you may have a loss is impossible, but you can be prepared with adequate outbuilding insurance.
Be sure to keep an inventory of your belongings that live in your outbuilding(s). In the event of a claim, you may be asked for a list of damaged or lost items. If you have an inventory of your items, you will have a readily-accessible and accurate list. This can make a claim involving your outbuilding insurance move ahead more smoothly and promptly. Your inventory may be a written list, photos or a video. This information will be helpful in case of a claim on your outbuilding insurance.
Most policies have standard coverage limits that apply to outbuildings. An insurance broker can check to see what your current insurance company provides for outbuilding insurance limits. The broker can also help you determine if you should schedule an item(s) on your policy for extra outbuilding insurance. Scheduling an item means you can protect it to the actual value. Insurance companies charge an additional cost to increase standard limits or schedule items; however, both are good protection in the event of a claim. Suppose you have many expensive tools in your shed. Without extra outbuilding insurance coverage, you will be covered only to the standard limit - perhaps far less than the value of the tools. If you scheduled the tools or increased the limits, your outbuilding insurance will provide improved coverage for your tools. Contact your broker to see if your insurance company offers higher limits or if you should schedule specific items for proper outbuilding insurance.
Yes, it is very important that you let your insurance broker know if you install a new shed or build a new detached structure on your property. You may need to make updates to your insurance policy to ensure you are properly protected. Some of the information that your broker will need to know about your new detached structure include:
Thieves may target buildings where they hope to find valuable and easily portable items such as tools, bikes, mowers, garden furniture, barbecues, sporting goods, golf gear, or other items. Good security can reduce the chances of suffering a loss and making a claim on your outbuilding insurance. Maintaining a claims-free history helps to keep your insurance costs down. There are several steps you can take to make your detached structures secure. Here are some suggestions:
You can get outbuilding insurance and advice from our insurance experts at Morison Insurance. We are trained and licensed professionals who know all types of insurance, including outbuilding insurance. Our focus is getting outbuilding insurance that's right for you at a competitive price. We get quotes from numerous Canadian insurers to provide coverage options and prices for you. To get in touch with one of our expert brokers, fill out the form on our website or call 1-800-463-8074. We look forward to speaking with you.
This content is written by our Morison Insurance team. It is provided for general information only. Insurance needs differ from person to person, and this article is therefore not a substitute for professional advice about your individual insurance needs which can be obtained by speaking to one of our brokers.