Home Insurance is sometimes the last thing that homebuyers think about when purchasing a home when  it should be one of the first things. Especially in today’s market when many homes are being purchased  without conditions like a home inspection.  

Below is a quick home insurance checklist of potential insurance red flags that you should find out prior to purchase as  some items might lead to difficulty finding insurance for your home.  

Age of Roof

Water Heater/Tank

Whether rented or owned, it is important to know the age of the tank.  Standard steel tanks over 12 years old are prone to burst or leak and may also exclude you from  getting insurance. In Ontario, the majority of hot water heaters are rented for an average of $35 per month.

Is there a Sump Pump?

Water damage is one of the number one insurance claims. Having a  sump pump can help prevent water claims in your basement.  New builds require a sump pump, but it may be a good idea to ask a plumber if you may need one based on your own experience. Our Do I Need a Sump Pump blog has more information regarding sump pumps.

Heating Source

Although most homes are natural gas, there are still homes using heating oil instead of gas. Some companies will not insure homes heated with oil. If you’re in a century home, it’s possible you have radiators- which are actually preferred by those with allergies caused by ductwork.


Type of wiring? Knob and Tube? Aluminum? Wiring types like Knob & Tube or Aluminum can make it really difficult to find insurance.  In basic terms, if your home is between 1875-1940, it’s quite possible you have knob and tube wiring. If you own a home built between 1965-1980 it’s quite likely you have a mix of copper and aluminum wiring. Unsure? Call Beth and Ryan, they know what to look for and can recommend Guelph electricians!


In newer homes, this is typically not an issue. In older homes, you will want to  know if there are any older galvanized supply lines. Some insurance companies will not insure home with any galvanized piping – which is the plumbing equivalent of knob and tube wiring.

Foundation Type

Depending on age of the home, is the foundation poured concrete or block? – this can impact your ability to get water coverage for the basement and also affects premium. Block or Stone foundations can be difficult. If you would like to learn more about the difference between concrete block foundation and poured concrete, check out our Is a Concrete Block Foundation Bad blog.


You also need to think about insurance if you are unable to pay your mortgage due to illness or even premature death.  Of course, no one wants this but it’s important to consider the unlikely and to be protected.

Year Built

Older homes can be difficult to insure due to age. “Heritage Homes” can be very  difficult to insure due to the strict requirements of maintenance. Homes close to water, major highways or major weather events could cause issues with insurance.

Square footage

You can usually find this in the MLS listing. If the home is VERY large (4000+),  there are fewer companies that will insure luxury homes. 

This is not a comprehensive home insurance checklist, however it does touch on some of the major red flags that might cause you headaches when trying to get insurance.  

Please use this as a resource when doing a walkthrough. If you have any questions on above or other red  flags you may discover on your own, Beth and Ryan are always here to help.

For any home insurance related questions, Todd O’Donnell is here to help.

Todd O’Donnell – Cambridge  Desjardins Insurance  900 Jamieson Parkway, Unit 12 (Townline & 401)  Cambridge, ON N3C 4N6  BUS: 519-651-0496 FAX: 519-651-0331  www.insurancetodd.com Todd O’Donnell – Guelph  Desjardins Insurance  20 Cowan Place, Unit 2  Guelph, ON N1G 0C1  BUS: 519-830-0996 FAX: 519-763-5858  www.insureguelph.com