What is an insurance application form?

12 minute read Published on Apr 8, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Sample application form on a tablet computer.

When you apply for an insurance policy, you will likely need to fill out an insurance application form. Insurance application forms provide an insurer with the necessary information to accurately underwrite your risk. Continue reading to learn more about how insurance applications work and what information you should be prepared to provide.

Car insurance application

If you want to drive in Canada, you will need to purchase a car insurance policy. This means that an insurance application is necessary. Filling out an insurance application is a central component of obtaining auto insurance coverage. Some customers choose to fill out their car insurance application alone, while others seek the help of an experienced insurance broker or an insurance agent from an insurance company. No matter which method you prefer, you will need to prepare to provide a range of information, including financial information, vehicle information, and personal information. More specifically, when filling out a car insurance application, applicants should prepare to provide the following:

  • The make, model, and year of your vehicle
  • The main use of the vehicle (business, personal, or both)
  • Distance driven in kilometres to work and annually
  • Legal name
  • Mailing address
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Marital status
  • Driver’s licence information for yourself and any other drivers
  • Driver’s licence type
  • Details of any driver’s licence suspensions
  • Completion of a driver training or defensive driving course (if applicable)
  • Current insurance status
  • Number of years of continuous insurance coverage
  • Number of years insured
  • Details of any past insurance policy cancellations
  • Details of any previous insurance claims

In addition to the information listed above, the application form will likely specify supplemental documentation that needs to be provided. You might be wondering, what documents do I need for car insurance? The supplementary documents required when applying for car insurance may vary between providers, but you should generally expect to show proof of the following:

Current insurance policy

Unless you are purchasing your first-ever auto insurance plan, you may need to provide a copy of your existing car insurance policy. A copy of your policy should clearly state your policy number, the renewal date of your policy, and the name of your insurance provider.

Driver’s licence

A copy of a valid driver’s licence in the province in which you are purchasing car insurance. Note that if your driver’s licence recently expired, you will need to renew it before you can be approved for auto insurance coverage. In addition, if your vehicle has more than one driver, you will need to provide copies of their driver’s licences as well.

Traffic violations

An insurance company will likely require a copy of your driving record or driver’s abstract. This will detail any past traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, accidents, or other infractions. Most insurers require details on traffic relations from the past three years and information on collisions from the last decade.

Claims history

Your claims history is a detailed list of all insurance claims you have filed with past and present insurance providers. All filed claims will be listed, including collision-related claims, comprehensive claims, and more.

Letter of experience

Lastly, your insurance company may ask you to provide a letter of experience if you recently moved from another Canadian province or country. A letter of experience is a record of your insurance history. These letters are typically provided by the person’s current or most recent insurance provider in the place they moved from. Claims experience letters can be a great asset when applying for car insurance after moving.

Please note that in most cases, you do not need to fill out a new application when renewing car insurance. But if your circumstances have changed drastically since your last policy, your insurer may ask you to do so. Finally, after reviewing the above, you’re asking yourself, “How long does it take to get car insurance?”, we are pleased to inform you that despite all the necessary information, applying and being approved for an auto insurance policy can still take as little as 30 minutes. It partially depends on how much research you choose to do and whether the documents and information above have already been gathered. Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to purchase car insurance.

Avoid these common mistakes on your car insurance application

When applying for auto insurance in Canada, avoid these common mistakes:

Failing to report all drivers of your vehicle

When you apply for car insurance, you must provide a list of all people who regularly drive your car. All too often, customers forget to include their spouse or teenage child. This can lead to serious trouble down the road, as additional drivers, especially young drivers, will affect rates. Before filling out your car insurance application, make a detailed list of all drivers, including their names, ages, and driver’s licence information. Similar to the importance of listing all drivers, you must also list all owners of the vehicle.

Not providing the right information about where your vehicle is parked

Where you park your car matters and can influence your insurance premium. Therefore, you must be honest about where your vehicle is regularly parked. If it is parked in the street, you must state this in the application.

Guessing about the number of kilometres driven annually

Reporting your mileage accurately is crucial. You might think that a general estimate is fine, but the reality is that if you get into an accident, you will need to provide a repair quote to your insurer and repair quotes typically show mileage. If a discrepancy in your mileage is revealed, this could have serious consequences, so do your best to ascertain the correct mileage in advance of filling out the application.

Failing to mention business use of your vehicle

Insurance premiums are partially dependent on vehicle usage. Therefore, if you use your vehicle for more than personal use, such as for business use - even if it’s occasional - you must tell your insurance provider. Otherwise, if you find yourself in an accident while using your car for business activities, your insurer may not cover you (or worse, they could cancel your policy).

Forgetting to update your insurance policy information

Circumstances change. People move, they get new vehicles, they start new jobs, etc. We understand that many of these changes keep us busy, but we should never be too busy to forget to update our insurance provider. Since all of this information impacts insurance rates, it is critical that you inform your insurance company as soon as your circumstances change. Other examples include if your teenage child recently gets their licence and is now driving your car regularly. If this happens, you will need to notify your insurer right away.

Home insurance application

Just like when you apply for car insurance, you will also need to fill out an insurance application for home insurance. This is the case, whether you are applying for high-value home insurance, tenant insurance, rental property insurance, or vacation home insurance. However, the information that you will need to provide on your insurance application differs from a car insurance application. Below, we delve into the specific details and documentation you should be prepared to provide when filling out a home insurance application in Canada:

Your home address

An insurance application will include a section for you to fill out your home address. Why does this matter? Your address is one of the most important details when it comes to home insurance. An insurer will use this information to assess your risk. For example, they will research your address to determine if the area you live in has a high crime rate, is near a large body of water, etc.

The type of home you live in

Home insurance applicants should be prepared to provide details about the type of home they live in. This information will include the type of building, e.g. an apartment, condo, townhome, duplex, triplex, single family home, etc. You may also be asked to provide information on the materials your home was built with, which again, helps the insurance company assess your risk as a policyholder. The application may also ask if your home is detached or semi-detached, as detached homes tend to come with lower premiums due to the reduced risk of damaging someone else’s property.

The square footage and number of storeys

Larger homes typically cost more to insure because if they were damaged, they would cost more to rebuild. For this reason, a home insurance application will ask for details about the square footage and number of storeys in your home. If you live in a condo or apartment building, the application may also ask for the number of storeys and/or units in the building.

The year your home was built

Age matters, and in the eyes of an insurance provider, may correlate to condition. Therefore, you will need to find out the year your home was built so you can inform your insurance company. Note that if your home is older, you may experience more expensive rates.

Whether you rent or own your home

Renting vs. owning is another question that you will be asked about on your property insurance application. Generally speaking, renters require tenant insurance whereas owners require homeowner’s insurance. These two types of policies vary, with the latter typically featuring greater coverage. Thus, if you are a renter, your rates will likely be cheaper.

Home improvements or renovations made

If your home recently underwent any major repairs or improvements, make sure to list this on your application. For instance, if an old roof or HVAC system was recently replaced, listing this on your application would be useful as it could help lower your premiums. Make sure to keep a record of all updates made to the home (or ask the previous homeowner for these records if necessary). If the home is older and in need of updates, it could result in higher premiums.

The condition of the basement

The condition of the basement in your home, if applicable, may also be asked about in your home insurance application. Finished basements, while they can add considerable space to your home, may increase your insurance premium. This is because a finished basement will cost more to rebuild if necessary. Plus, basements are prone to various flooding hazards, like sewer backups, which means you may need to pay to add extra coverage in the form of overland water coverage or sewer backup coverage to your policy.

The number of bathrooms in your home

Again, the number of bathrooms in your home will give the insurance company a better idea of the value and potential rebuilt costs of your home. Despite their smaller size, bathrooms are often more expensive to build than bedrooms, so an insurance company will want to know exactly how many there are on your property.

The type of heater you have in your home

Nowadays, there are many types of heating systems. The age and condition of your heating system, as well as the type will come into play and you will need to list them on your application. Some heating systems are riskier than others, such as oil heating units or wood heating apparatuses. These systems will often mean brokers must ask additional specific questions and require specifications of them to ensure you are properly insured.

Construction materials

The materials that your home is constructed out of directly relate to risk and durability. Specifically, an insurer will want to know what material the exterior walls of your home are built out of, as this will also impact the cost of rebuilding.

Age, condition, and type of electrical and plumbing systems

Make sure to gather information on your home’s electrical and plumbing systems when filling out a home insurance application. An insurer will want to know about the age of each respective system in your home, as well as the type of each. For example, galvanized steel pipes and knob and tube wiring are seen as riskier than other, more modern types of plumbing and electrical systems.

Your age

Just like when you fill out a car insurance application, you will need to list your age on a home insurance application.

The details of your mortgage loan (if applicable)

If you are currently paying down a mortgage, you will need to list the details of your mortgage loan on your home insurance application. This is because your lender or bank will likely require that they be listed on your home insurance policy. Why? This way, if your policy were to be cancelled or invalidated by the insurance company, your lender would not be responsible for the costs. Note that if you are mortgage-free, make sure to list that on your home insurance application, as mortgage-free applicants may benefit from a property insurance discount.

The details of your home equity line of credit (if applicable)

If you have any lines of credit or loans in which your home is used as collateral, such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC), make sure to include this information on your application.

Claims history

Again, like car insurance, a home insurance provider will want to see a copy of your insurance claims history. Knowing how frequently you filed claims in the past and what for will help an insurer assess your risk.

The number of people who reside in the home

The number of people who live in your home is an important piece of information that home insurance companies will ask about. This is especially important if you rent out part or all of your home, which means that some of the people living there are tenants. You should be prepared to provide the full names and ages of all residents of your home.

Information on your home-based business (if applicable)

If you run a home-based business or you work from home most of the time, you will need to include information about this in your home insurance application. Operating a business out of your home can increase your risk, especially if you have expensive work-related equipment in your home or customers are frequently visiting your home. Policyholders with home businesses might need to add a commercial coverage rider or purchase a separate business insurance policy to be adequately protected. Don’t hesitate to contact BrokerLink if you need help finding the right insurance policy for your business.

If you rent out your home or engage in home sharing

If even part of your home is a rental property or you engage in short or long term home sharing, you must note this on your home insurance application. Renting out your home to guests increases your liability risk. If something were to happen while a guest was staying in your home and you hadn’t told your insurer about your home sharing side gig, you may not be covered.

If your home is vacant or will be vacant for a period of 30 days or more

An empty home can influence your rates as the risk of theft or vandalism goes up. Therefore, if your home is currently vacant or will be at some point during your policy term, list this on your application.

Please note that if you are having trouble filling out any portion of your home insurance application, contact BrokerLink. A broker for home insurance would be pleased to fill out the application on your behalf or answer any questions you may have about the application process.

The consequences of lying on an insurance application

At the end of the day, filling out an insurance application is a key part of purchasing an insurance policy, whether you are buying car insurance, business insurance, home insurance, or even pet insurance. Although the amount of information needed might seem overwhelming, it is important that you carefully fill out each section of the application with truthful information. Providing false or misleading information on an insurance application can have serious consequences. For instance, if your insurance provider found out that you provided false or misleading information, even if it was done accidentally, they could void your policy or coverage in the event of a loss. A cancelled policy will appear on your record and can make it much more difficult to obtain coverage in the future. Even worse, if you lie on an insurance application to qualify for a reduced rate, you could be accused of insurance fraud and face a lawsuit that could lead to fines or jail time.

Contact BrokerLink for help filling out your insurance application form

BrokerLink aims to make the insurance process as easy as possible. That is why our experts are willing to help our customers with every step of the insurance-buying process. From discussing your needs and giving your coverage advice to shopping around for your policies on your behalf, a BrokerLink insurance advisor will be by your side every step of the way. Plus, once you’ve settled on a policy, we can even help you fill out the insurance application form, or, if you prefer to fill it out yourself, we can answer any questions you may have about the process. Get in touch today to learn more about BrokerLink’s superior insurance services.