Marie-Claude Dulac

By Marie-Claude Dulac

July 8, 2016

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The Tiny House Phenomenon and Insurance

Article revised on 20 July 2018

More compact, environmentally-friendly and affordable, tiny houses are becoming increasingly popular in Quebec. Are you considering taking the plunge yourself? Here’s what you need to know from an insurance point of view!

A rapidly growing trend

Originating in the United States in 2008, resulting primarily from the economic crisis that shook the nation, the tiny house trend has gradually spread north to Canada. Today, the phenomenon is growing rapidly in Quebec, which is unsurprising because the houses are much smaller. So much smaller, in fact, that their ecological footprint is minimal and they’re much easier to heat. Say hello to savings!

These homes usually provide less than 1,000 square feet of living space, and are designed to be permanently installed on land, or mounted on wheels to be moved at will. Owners of the mobile version can therefore take to the roads with their home and set up wherever they feel like.

The appeal is such that certain municipalities have decided to lower their minimum criteria regarding acceptable surface areas for homes on their territory. It’s a safe bet to think other municipalities will likely follow suit.

A house to go…and to insure!

If you own a tiny house designed to be permanently installed on existing land, it should be covered by a home insurance policy. Depending on whether you use it as your primary residence or as a cottage, your advisor can explain which coverage is best suited for your needs.

However, if you opt for a home on wheels, what kind of insurance should you get? Once again, how you use the home will determine the type of insurance you will need.

  • If you think you’ll never move your tiny house, even though it has wheels, it could be covered by a home insurance.
  • If you think you’ll move your tiny house no more than once a year, then a stationary trailer insurance policy might be right for you.
  • If you think you’ll move your tiny house more than once a year, then your insurer will likely suggest a travel trailer insurance policy. In that case, your tiny house will have to be registered as a trailer.

We’re still in the early stages of this phenomenon. Before purchasing this type of home, it’s worth checking with your insurer to see how it would be insured, types of coverages offered, and how much it would cost you. When you have all the information, you can pursue your project knowing exactly what it entails.

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