Home insurance can be a complex topic, filled with unfamiliar terminology and jargon. It’s essential to have a solid understanding of the language used in home insurance policies to make informed decisions and ensure you have the right coverage for your needs. Below, we’ll demystify home insurance lingo by explaining key terms and concepts that commonly appear in policies. By the end, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the language used in home insurance and be better equipped to navigate the intricacies of your policy.


A deductible is the amount of money that you, as the insured person, have to pay out of your own pocket before your insurance coverage starts to pay for the rest of the expenses. It’s a threshold or a minimum amount that you need to cover before your insurance kicks in. For example, let’s say you have a $500 deductible on your home insurance. If you have a kitchen fire and the repairs cost $2,000, you would need to pay the first $500, and then your insurance would cover the remaining $1,500.

The purpose of a deductible is to share the cost of insurance between you and the insurance company. It also helps prevent people from making small or frequent claims for minor expenses. Generally, the higher the deductible, the lower your insurance premiums will be, but you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you need to make a claim.

Actual Cash Value in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Actual Cash Value (ACV) is a term commonly used in insurance policies to determine the value of property or assets at the time of a loss or damage. It represents the current market value of an item, taking into consideration its age, condition, and depreciation.

When calculating the ACV, the insurance company considers factors such as the original cost of the item, its useful lifespan, and any applicable depreciation. Depreciation refers to the reduction in value that occurs over time due to wear and tear, age, or obsolescence. As a result, the ACV is typically lower than the original purchase price or the cost of replacing the item with a new one.

To illustrate, let’s say you have a five-year-old television that gets damaged due to a covered event. The ACV of the television would be determined by considering its original purchase price, the average lifespan of similar televisions, and the amount of depreciation that has occurred over the five-year period. The insurance company would then provide compensation based on the ACV of the television, which may be less than what it would cost to buy a brand new replacement.

Replacement Cost Value in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is a term commonly used in insurance policies to determine the value of property or assets that have been damaged or destroyed. It represents the cost of replacing the damaged item with a new one of similar kind and quality, without deducting for depreciation.

When calculating the RCV, the insurance company considers the current market value of the item, taking into account factors such as brand, specifications, features, and quality. Unlike Actual Cash Value (ACV), which factors in depreciation, RCV provides coverage for the full cost of replacing the damaged item without considering its age or condition.

Perils in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Perils, in the context of insurance, refer to specific events or risks that may cause damage, loss, or destruction to property or result in liability. Insurance policies often define the perils that are covered under the policy, and these perils can vary depending on the type of insurance coverage.

Here are some common perils that may be covered under insurance policies:

  • Fire: Coverage for damage caused by fire, including flames, smoke, and resulting damage.
  • Theft: Coverage for loss or damage due to theft or burglary.
  • Windstorm: Coverage for damage caused by strong winds, including hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe storms.
  • Hail: Coverage for damage caused by hailstones.
  • Lightning: Coverage for damage caused by lightning strikes.
  • Explosion: Coverage for damage resulting from an explosion, such as a gas explosion.
  • Water Damage: Coverage for damage caused by water-related incidents, such as burst pipes, leaks, or accidental discharge.
  • Vandalism: Coverage for damage caused by intentional acts of vandalism or malicious mischief.
  • Falling Objects: Coverage for damage caused by objects falling onto the insured property, such as trees or debris.
  • Civil Commotion: Coverage for damage resulting from riots, protests, or civil unrest.

It’s important to note that the specific perils covered can vary depending on the insurance policy and any endorsements or exclusions that may be included. It’s essential to review your insurance policy carefully to understand the perils covered and any limitations or conditions that may apply.

Additionally, insurance policies may also provide coverage on an “all-risk” basis, which covers all perils except those specifically excluded. This type of coverage offers broader protection but may still have certain exclusions.

Additional Living Expenses in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) refer to the costs incurred by policyholders when they are temporarily unable to live in their home due to a covered loss or damage. It provides financial assistance for essential living expenses that go beyond what they would normally spend.

In simpler terms, when your home is damaged by a covered event like a fire or severe weather, and you have to temporarily stay elsewhere while it’s being repaired, ALE helps cover the costs of things like hotel or rental accommodations, increased food expenses, transportation to work or school, storage for your belongings, and other necessary expenses.

The purpose of ALE is to help policyholders maintain their normal standard of living and avoid financial hardship during the period of displacement. It ensures that you have a place to stay, food to eat, and can continue with your daily activities while your home is being restored.

It’s important to note that ALE coverage has limits, which means there is a maximum amount the insurance company will reimburse you for these additional expenses. The specifics of ALE coverage can vary depending on your insurance policy, so it’s essential to review your policy and consult with your insurance provider to understand the extent of coverage and any applicable eligibility criteria.

Fair Rental Value in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Fair Rental Value (FRV) is a term used in insurance to refer to the amount of rental income that a homeowner could reasonably expect to receive if they were to rent out their property to tenants.

In the context of insurance, the Fair Rental Value coverage helps compensate homeowners for the loss of rental income they would have earned if their property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered peril, such as a fire or flood. It provides financial assistance to help offset the financial burden of not being able to collect rental income while repairs or rebuilding takes place.

To determine the Fair Rental Value, factors such as the location, size, condition, and rental market of the property are considered. The insurance company typically evaluates the local rental market and rental rates for similar properties in the area to establish a fair and reasonable amount that the homeowner could have collected in rent during the period of uninhabitability.

It’s important to note that Fair Rental Value coverage is subject to policy limits and specific conditions outlined in the insurance policy. It is designed to provide temporary financial support until the property is restored or repaired, allowing homeowners to cover their mortgage payments, property taxes, and other expenses that would typically be covered by the rental income.

Commons Exclusions Raised in Nova Scotia Home Insurance Claims

Exclusions, in the context of insurance policies, refer to specific situations, events, or circumstances that are not covered by the insurance policy. These exclusions define the limits of coverage and outline the risks or incidents for which the insurance company will not provide compensation or benefits.

Insurance policies typically contain a section or list of exclusions that specify what is not covered. Here are some common examples of exclusions that may be found in insurance policies:

  • Intentional Acts: Damage or loss caused intentionally by the policyholder or any other involved party.
  • War and Terrorism: Damage or loss resulting from war, acts of terrorism, or acts of warlike operations.
  • Wear and Tear: Deterioration or damage that occurs naturally over time due to regular use or aging, such as gradual corrosion or mechanical breakdown.
  • Earthquakes and Floods: Unless specifically covered by separate endorsements or policies, damage or loss caused by earthquakes or floods may be excluded.
  • Nuclear Hazard: Damage or loss resulting from nuclear reactions, nuclear radiation, or radioactive contamination.
  • Mold: Damage or loss caused by mold, fungi, or any related substances.

It’s important to carefully review the exclusions section of your insurance policy to understand what risks or events are not covered. If you have concerns about specific exclusions or if you require coverage for any excluded risks, you may need to explore additional endorsements or separate insurance policies to address those needs.

Nova Scotia Home Insurance Endorsements

Home Insurance Endorsements are used to customize insurance coverage to meet specific needs or to provide additional protection beyond the standard policy terms. They allow policyholders to tailor their insurance policies to address unique risks, circumstances, or preferences that may not be covered by the base policy.

Here are some examples of common endorsements:

  • Additional Coverage Endorsements: 
    • These endorsements provide additional coverage for specific risks not covered under the base policy. For example, an earthquake endorsement provides coverage for earthquake-related damage, which may be excluded in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Increased Limits Endorsements:
    •  These endorsements increase the coverage limits for certain items or categories of property. For instance, a jewelry endorsement increases the coverage limit for valuable jewelry items beyond the standard limit set by the base policy.

Personal Contents Claims in Nova Scotia

Personal contents, also known as personal belongings or personal property, refer to the items and possessions that you own and keep inside your home or on your property. They include a wide range of items such as furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, jewelry, artwork, and other personal possessions.

In the context of insurance, personal contents coverage is a component of a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy that provides protection for your personal belongings against loss or damage caused by covered perils. These perils may include events like fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, or natural disasters, depending on the terms and conditions of your policy.

When filing a claim for personal contents, it’s essential to document and provide evidence of the items you own and their value. This can be done through photographs, receipts, appraisals, or any other documentation that proves ownership and value. Keeping an updated inventory of your personal belongings and their estimated value can also be helpful in the event of a claim.

Personal contents coverage typically has limits, which define the maximum amount that the insurance company will reimburse you for the loss or damage to your belongings. It’s important to review your policy and ensure that the coverage limits adequately reflect the value of your personal property. If you have high-value items such as jewelry or artwork, you may need to consider adding endorsements or additional coverage to ensure they are adequately protected.

Global Cash Settlement

Global cash settlement, also known as a lump sum settlement, refers to a method of resolving an insurance claim where the insurance company offers a single payment to the policyholder to settle the claim in its entirety. Instead of receiving separate payments for different components of the claim, such as property damage, additional living expenses, or personal belongings, the policyholder receives a single lump sum amount.

The global cash settlement option can provide several benefits to the policyholder. It offers a faster and more efficient resolution to the claim, as the need for ongoing negotiations and multiple payments is eliminated. It also provides flexibility and control to the policyholder, who can decide how to allocate the funds to cover various expenses related to the claim.

With a global cash settlement, the policyholder should carefully assess the amount offered by the insurance company to ensure that it adequately covers all the damages, losses, and expenses incurred. It’s important to thoroughly evaluate the financial impact of the claim and consider factors such as property repairs, additional living expenses, and any potential future costs that may arise.

Before accepting a global cash settlement, it is advisable to review the terms and conditions outlined by the insurance company. It’s essential to understand the implications of accepting the settlement, including any release of further liability or future claims against the insurance company.

Policyholders should consider consulting with a legal advisor to assess the fairness and adequacy of the global cash settlement offer. These professionals like the ones at Nova Law can provide guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the claims settlement process.

Get Support for your Nova Scotia Residential Property Damage Claim

At NOVA Law, we prioritize our clients above all else. We understand the challenges and complexities involved in navigating a residential property damage claim without professional assistance. Our mission is to provide unwavering support and resources to guide you through every step of the process. With our help, you can focus on moving forward with peace of mind

If you are in need of legal advice or representation for your property damage claim in Halifax or elsewhere in Nova Scotia, our team of experienced lawyers are here to help. Contact us today and tell us more about your claim – we are here to help!