Looking to buy your first home in Quebec? This can be one of the most exciting and empowering decisions you make as an adult – and the decision-making doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need to choose the right home insurance coverage. Here’s some advice from someone who’s been there.
We asked Dominique, our Montréal Contact Center Team Leader, to tell us about her experience with buying her first home and the lessons she took away from it.
Tell us about the first place you ever owned.
It was a single-family house on the south shore of Montréal built in the seventies. It had a lot of “charm”, and enough claims history to scare off any first-time buyer. I still live there today!
Did you go in knowing exactly what you wanted?
Yes and no. I knew what my needs were, but I had a lot of questions on the responsibilities that come with becoming a homeowner. We had always been tenants so we only had to worry about our belongings. Being a homeowner, we’d be responsible for the building itself. What happens if something goes wrong? Who would I call? Since I was pregnant at the time, everything had to be done quickly and effectively to make sure we were ready. This was an important step in our adult and future parent lives.
You know we have to ask about insurance…
At the time, I had already been working in the insurance industry for two years. I had a good knowledge base, but had never gone through the process of buying home insurance myself. I went from theory to practice. It really helped during the buying process since I knew I wanted answers to important questions, like the cost to rebuild, disclosure of previous claims and the age of the roof. I also knew to pay close attention to the home inspection.
What advice would you give to your 20-something self?
First of all, having the property inspected by a professional is crucial before considering any purchase, whether a new construction or a resale home. If recommendations for improvement are issued or if repairs must be done, your insurance company can advise you on the coverage needed to be protected in the event of a loss.
I would also advise new buyers to pay close attention to the value and benefits of different insurance packages when they shop for insurance, and not only to the lowest price. In Quebec, sewer water damage is one of the most common claims, especially if you live on the Montreal island. Be sure to review your policy and limits to make sure you’re covered for this. With such heavy snowfalls in Quebec, it’s also important to know exactly how you’re covered when it comes to roof damage since the age of your roof will impact this significantly.
Buying a home is probably the single biggest investment we make in a lifetime and it’s important to have the right coverage.