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Explaining Homeowner’s Insurance: Key Terms & Definitions You Need To Know

Family in backyard of house having a meal
November 26, 2023


In Manitoba, you need homeowner’s insurance to secure a mortgage. So many Manitobans rush to secure it without taking the time to read their policy carefully and learn how it works.

That’s not the worst thing. It’s better to have coverage you don’t understand than to have no coverage at all! But home insurance policies are complex. Often, things you think should be covered aren’t. Or, the coverage you know you have doesn’t work the way you thought. Which could leave you financially vulnerable and unprepared.

Taking the time to understand your policy, like you’re doing now, is a really smart thing to do. Knowing more will remove some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with an insurance claim—and fill any coverage gaps before it’s too late to fill them.

Let’s get you feeling more confident about your homeowner’s insurance!

Prefer to skip the reading and talk to us instead? Go ahead and reach out!

We’re standing by to help you purchase, make sense of, or add to your homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, but you’re not alone!

Jump To The Anwers You Need

What Property Insurance Is & How It Works

Homeowner’s insurance is the term we use when we talk about the entirety of the coverage you have for your home and property. But that insurance will likely be made up of several smaller policies, including things like property insurance, liability coverage, and add-ons (also called “riders”) for specific things like flood coverage, service line coverage, and high-value property coverage.

Standard home insurance in Manitoba typically includes both your property insurance and liability insurance. Let’s break down what those two terms mean, first:

Property insurance protects your actual home and many of its contents. If your property is damaged in a covered way (like in a fire or as the result of certain weather events), your insurance company will pay you a sum of money to help you repair and replace what’s been broken or lost.

Liability coverage protects you in case something happens to someone else on your property, like if a letter carrier slips and falls on your front steps. In an event like this, your insurance company would give you money to help you pay for the costs of any medical expenses you’d be on the hook for, as well as any legal fees and damages you could have to pay.

Types of Property Insurance

While every standard homeowner’s insurance policy will include property insurance, the type of property insurance you’ll have will be up to you. As the homeowner, you can choose replacement coverage, extended replacement cost coverage, or actual cash value coverage.

Replacement coverage pays you the costs of repairing or replacing broken or damaged property at an equal value to what you paid for it. So, if you paid $10,000 for landscaping 2 years ago, and a tornado destroyed it all today, you would get $10,000 to redo your yard. Even if, today, that same landscaping service would cost $12,000.

Extended replacement cost coverage gives the amount of money it would cost to replace or repair your property today, not the amount you paid for it. Using the above example, that would mean if your landscaping costs went up to $12,000, you’d get paid $12,000. Even though you only paid $10,000.

Actual cash value coverage covers replacement costs—but factors in depreciation. So if you bought a $3,000 couch 8 years ago, you’d get paid the value of that couch today. Not the full $3,000 you paid back then.

Comprehensive vs. Broad Homeowner’s Insurance

Every insurance company is different. But overall, there are 2 types of policies for you to consider: comprehensive and broad.

Comprehensive Homeowner’s Insurance

Comprehensive policies are just that—the most comprehensive ones available. With it, your home and its contents are protected against most things. Unless your insurance broker explicitly tells you that you have a gap in your coverage, you can rest easy knowing your home is protected.

Broad Homeowner’s Insurance

Broad homeowner’s insurance is more basic, which means it’s usually less expensive But it also leaves you and your home vulnerable in more situations. Most broad policies have exclusions written into them that leave homeowners scrambling when situations they think should be covered by insurance are not.

Should You Buy Broad or Comprehensive Homeowner’s Insurance?

You should always opt to purchase a comprehensive policy! By doing so, you’ll have more complete coverage. You may still need an add-on—also known as a rider—or two.

Service line coverage is an example of a rider we recommend since most people don’t know they’re responsible for the service lines running from their street to their homes. Home-based business insurance and extra coverage for high-value property are worth looking into, as well.

Related: How much home insurance do Manitobans need?

Property Insurance Terms & Definitions

To help you make sure you understand your policy completely, here is some important homeowner’s insurance terminology and what it all means:

Property Insurance

Protection for your home, property, and any covered contents against covered perils (damage or loss).

Home (Dwelling/Building)

Your actual home and any structures attached to it, like a deck or garage.

Personal Property/Belongings

Any movable items and possessions that you own and that are not permanently attached to your home.


A specific event or cause of loss that is covered by your insurance policy. Common perils include fire, theft, vandalism, and certain natural disasters.


Specific events or conditions that are not covered by your insurance policy. It’s essential to understand what is excluded from your coverage so you don’t get a nasty surprise in the aftermath of loss.

All Perils Coverage

The broadest coverage you can purchase for your home and its contents. It includes your home, any structures on it, and your belongings. The only exclusions are those that are explicitly outlined in your policy.

Liability Coverage

Protection against claims or lawsuits filed against you for bodily injury or property damage that you or your family members may be responsible for, both on and off your property.

Policy Limits

The maximum amount your insurance policy will pay for covered losses. It’s essential to know the limits for different types of coverage within your policy!

Policy Period

The specific timeframe during which your insurance policy is in effect. For most homeowners’ insurance policies, the policy period will be one year.


Riders, in insurance, refer to additions or modifications to your insurance policy that expand or alter your coverage.


The amount you pay for your insurance coverage. This is typically paid on a regular basis, such as annually or monthly.


The amount you’ll need to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in to cover a claim. Higher deductibles often result in lower premiums.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

The value of damaged or stolen property at the time of the loss, taking into account depreciation. This is the basis for determining the payout you get for your personal property claims.

Replacement Cost Value (RCV)

The cost to replace damaged or stolen property with a new item of similar kind and quality, without considering depreciation.

3 Things You Might Not Know About Your Homeowners Insurance Policy (But Should!)

As important as it is to know when you are covered…it might be even to know when you’re not!

Standard and broad insurance coverage features many exclusions that many homeowners aren’t aware of! Sometimes you can buy additional coverage for these situations. Other times, you can’t. In either circumstance, it is so important to know!

1. Insect damage usually isn’t covered.

If some type of vermin causes damage to your home or personal items, your insurance may not cover you. Some of the tips in our blog post on preparing your home for an extended vacation to help you minimize the risk of unwanted house guests!

2. Maintenance is your responsibility.

If your home falls into disrepair, your insurance company may not cover you in the same way. Hold up your end of the bargain by keeping your home in relatively good condition.

3. Bad workmanship can cost you!

Saving money on a cheap contractor could actually cost you in the long run. If faulty installations or other negligent mistakes lead to damage, your insurance won’t cover you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Insurance

Some common types of water damage that are covered include:


  • Sewer back up
  • Sudden & accidental water damage (eg: burst pipes, malfunctioning appliances)
  • Overflow of water
  • Overland water


But, this varies between insurance companies. So make sure you know what your specific coverage includes!

This depends on your insurance company and your individual policy. But often, flood coverage is an add-on (rider) that you’ll need to pay extra for.

Any movable items and possessions that you own and that are not permanently attached to your home. Personal property is typically covered by homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or condo insurance. Exceptions include high-value and expensive property. You may need to purchase an additional rider to cover those items.


Typically, property insurance covers damage caused by tornadoes as part of its coverage for windstorms and severe weather events. But, again, it depends on your insurance company.


(We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to understand your policy and what you have coverage for!)

Same answer—it depends on your policy type and insurance company. But, most home insurance policies do cover this, providing the leak is the result of a covered peril or sudden and accidental damage.

Want Us To Double-Check Your Policy For You?

Home insurance policies are rarely clear-cut. Broad coverage policies often fall short, and all the rider and add-on options get confusing fast!

We’d be happy to look over your policy for you and make sure it’s got all the coverage you need. Click the link below to get started.