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Buying and protecting your first house

Presented by PMA Agency

Your dream has finally come true! You’ll soon be getting the keys to your first house of your own. But to avoid unpleasant surprises have you thought of everything before you move in? Our checklist will help you check everything!

The basics

Even if the house seems exactly what you’re looking for, there are a few things you must check as soon as the first visit. For example, what year was the existing roof done? Is this work covered by warranty? If so, can the warranty be transferred to you as the new owner? These are just some of the questions to ask the previous owners to help you know how well the building has been maintained. The dates when things like the windows, the electrical panel, the water heater and the septic system were installed are other crucial pieces of information. Since all these items need to be replaced after a certain period, knowing their age will help you assess the work to be done in both the short and long term. It will also protect you against potential breakdown. These are all important parts of the equation. 

The inspection

Made up your mind to buy? To avoid overlooking anything, call in a building inspector before you sign on the dotted line. They will make sure there are no obvious problems and suggest work and areas for improvement. Share this pre-purchase inspection report with your insurance representative who can then advise you about the work to be done to reduce headaches down the road and maybe even decrease the cost of your premium!

The right insurance policy

Mortgage lenders typically require prospective homeowners to purchase home insurance as soon as they take possession of their new home. The reason is simple: since the property is being given as collateral to the lender, its assets (and yours) must be adequately protected.

Home insurance covers the replacement of all your belongings, the as-new costs of rebuilding, and your civil liability (if a guest is injured in your home, for example).

In general, there are two types of coverage available. Basic (or specified risk) insurance offers protection against a variety of possibilities, such as break-in, fire, vandalism and some kinds of water damage. Comprehensive insurance offers more extensive coverage. However, some risks are excluded and require an endorsement (additional coverage). For example, this is the case for damage caused by water infiltration through the roof. In all cases, an insurance representative can guide you in making the right choices. 


Is your future home near a river or other body of water? Protection against break-in, fire or vandalism is easy to obtain but flood protection requires additional coverage that varies if the home is built on a floodplain. Ask your insurance representative to know more.

Another thing to check: municipalities sometimes have specific rules about rebuilding. For example, in some Montreal neighbourhoods, one-storey “shoebox” houses must be rebuilt as two-storeys in the event of loss, which increases the amount of rebuilding, and therefore the insurance premium. To avoid unpleasant surprises, check with your municipality to find out what its bylaws say. Since your insurance representative may not have access to this information, be sure to let them know.


You've invested in a quality guitar or a specially-designed bicycle. What your home insurance covers may be limited for items of this type of property. Notify your insurer so that you can benefit from coverage tailored to your situation. The same kind of insurance endorsement is also recommended if, for instance, you’re self-employed and entertain clients at home or store expensive equipment there. Swimming pools and hot tubs are also excluded from standard insurance contracts and must be covered by a specific endorsement.

In short, buying your first home is one of the most important investments you will ever make. That's why it's essential to protect it appropriately. Your insurance representative is your best advisor in this regard. Contact PMA Agency to get a home insurance quote today!

This website provides general information only. Your insurance policy contract takes precedence at all times.  

Have questions about home insurance? Contact PMA Agency for answers and to get a quote.

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