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Importance Of Tenants Insurance When Renting

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Importance Of Tenants Insurance

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A reader question about tenant insurance and whether you need it or not if you are a renter is a great question, especially for those who are still not insured.

The most important tip is to read the terms and conditions before you agree to anything.

One thing many of us do is sign on the dotted line or agree to a policy without reading it in full until it comes the time that we might need it and find out we’re not covered.

Getting My First Apartment

Dear Mr.CBB

I was moving out of my parent’s house for the first time into my apartment and was wondering if you could answer a question.

Do I need a tenants insurance policy when I rent?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

SG

Everyone Needs Tenants Insurance When Renting

Dear SG,

The easy answer is, Yes. Any time you rent an apartment, condo, townhouse, or house, you need tenants insurance, also called Renters Insurance.

No matter what you think, it would be best if you had it, and don’t ignore the value of a cost-effective insurance policy.

According to Insurance In Canada, Many Canadians 35 and under don’t have tenants insurance.

When you sign the lease, you should ensure that you have that handy insurance policy.

Don’t move in and then think about it afterward.

Anything can happen the minute you step foot on a property for the first time.

I’ve talked to a few acquaintances who believe they don’t need it because they have nothing of value, so who cares or can’t afford it?

That’s the wrong attitude because there is more to it than what you own.

You need to factor this small cost into your budget as it is a must-have, not a nice-to-have policy.

Some landlords are now even requesting that you get tenants insurance.

What Is Tenants Insurance?

fire alarm, fire, symbol
Tenants Insurance In Case Of Fire

Tenants Insurance in Canada is an insurance policy that protects you and the contents of your home in the event of a fire, theft, damage, etc.

The cost is low for this, and you can quickly get a tenants insurance quote online if wanted a ballpark idea of what you might be paying.

Tenants insurance may also include the belongings in your vehicle due to theft or a break-and-enter.

Insurance in Canada may cover your property if you are a student away from home.

Any upgrades to a rental unit or potential living expenses if you need accommodations due to an insurable claim may be covered.

Don’t forget about public liability, another reason it’s so essential to have tenants insurance.

Did you know that your landlord/building owner is not obligated to aid you if an emergency, such as a fire in your unit, causes damage to your apartment, including the entire building or complex?

Your landlord/building owner is also not liable if someone were to break into your home.

You, as a renter, are not covered under your landlord/building owner’s insurance policy.

This was something that I would have never thought of living in a new country, but I later learned.

Learning About Tenants Insurance

When I purchased my first apartment, the leading property was insured by the company owning the freehold.

I had to buy separate buildings and insurance for my portion.

There was an instance in the same area where all the leasehold tenants bought out the freehold and split the building’s insurance costs by covering the whole building, leaving them with separate contents insurance to pay for.

It shows that when people unite, they can achieve something for the group’s good rather than just looking out for number one.

Power to the people.

Although rare, this instance was in the UK, and I cannot verify that this scheme would work similarly in Canada.

Fire Damage Can Happen Fast

Our mate went to work one day and forgot to blow out a candle that was lit.

His pet knocked on the table, and the candle fell over.

The fire department was dispatched to his apartment building, and the fire was put out.

Although the table was cheap and damaged beyond repair, many lives were at risk; the pet was at risk, and extensive damage to an entire building.

Others may come after you for money if you don’t have tenant insurance.

You may also be on the hook if a guest or visitor slips, falls, and injures themselves while inside your residence.

  • Can you replace all of your belongings?
  • Are you able to cover the loss of other tenants?

If you answered no to those questions, please keep reading.

Why You Need Tenant’s Insurance

You should have tenants insurance for two main reasons, in my opinion, or at least this is what would scare me enough to get it.

Liability, Personal Liability

As described above, if a guest gets injured inside your living area and decides to bring you to court and sue, it’s best to be covered.

You may be on the hook for court fees and settlement fees if you lose.

You don’t want to be paying out-of-pocket for these charges.

Your entire financial world can be turned upside down in an instant.

This may also protect you, or a guest in case damage is caused to the building, not only your apartment but to the entire building.

Contents Insurance and Coverage

Contents coverage covers the contents of your rental unit and lets you replace or repair your possessions if damaged, lost, or stolen.

It’s always best to read over your policy so you know what is and is not covered and any limits.

You can insure the contents of your rental for replacement cost, including depreciation, or you can also guarantee the contents for total replacement value.

The price may increase with the total replacement value, and I’d keep all receipts.

Contents insurance also covers the property not in your home but in your vehicle as it is considered by most insurance companies a “property.”

Most auto insurances will not cover things like a stolen wallet, CDs, DVDs, cell phones, laptops, netbooks, E-readers, etc.

Providing Proof Of Contents To Insurance

Below are tips about staying protected as a renter or homeowner.

  • Please take photos of our belongings
  • Complete a Home Contents Inventory of everything we own of significant value.
  • Take a video of our home, including make and model shots of your content (we don’t do this, but in the event, you don’t own a camera, this is another option)
  • Keep all bills and receipts of products of value that we have purchased
  • Keep anything of importance in a fireproof safe.
  • Upload pictures and email them to yourself or keep them in an online file that is not on your hard drive.

What if your computer gets damaged or stolen, and all your proof of ownership is gone?

Items such as cash, jewellery, and technology are HOT items for would-be thieves.

Suppose you have a $40,000 engagement ring.

In that case, you will need to disclose that or any other jewellery or very expensive items.

Expensive assets may have to be itemized and specific to your policy or a separate policy and may have specific coverage limits.

We learned this from a friend who had to have her wedding ring itemized, which she didn’t know until talking to her insurance agent.

Again, this is another reason to ask an insurance agent any questions that come to mind.

Cost Of Tenants Insurance

Finding the best tenant insurance that will suit your lifestyle is essential.

How much does it cost to get tenants insurance?

If you require a standard insurance policy, you can get add-ons such as earthquake insurance, sewer backup, windstorm, hail, or other premium coverages.

When looking for renters insurance quotes, many factors will influence your renter’s insurance premium, including the neighborhood, which many don’t think about.

When searching for quotes, we found Insurance policies differ from insurance company to insurance company.

Although you can get cheap renters insurance online, it’s best to do your homework before grabbing the cheapest policy you can get your hands on.

Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean great value.

Typically you will pay a premium that is a fixed amount.

Most insurance companies have a set deductible amount, meaning they will only cover the cost of an item above that amount.

Quite frankly, it depends on the policy you have and the regulations set out in it.

Don’t hesitate to ask about discounts through your alumni, your job, or a professional association like we did.

We thought we would ask at the time, and sure enough, our agent said there was a discount for professional associations.

Looking For Tenants Insurance

It’s also important to shop around to get quotes from at least three different insurance companies.

Check for online tenants insurance quotes, get referrals from friends or visit your local insurance companies, their agents, or an insurance broker.

I used to compare quotes online in the UK, but now I do both calling and online. 

Some other great places to find tenants insurance for quotes in Canada are TD Insurance, RBC Insurance, and Kanetix Canada, a great comparison site.

We got an insurance quote by researching through the Kanetix Canada website, which ran us about $11 a month when we rented, but worth every penny.

You can also find more information at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, another great resource for Canadians.

Organize a meeting or phone call to know what you can do to protect yourself and your personal finances with a tenant insurance policy.

Discussion: Have you ever had to use your tenants insurance policy?

Please leave any comments below.

Thanks for stopping by to read CBB.

Mr.CBB

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15 Comments

  1. We are landlords, and we require our tenants to have tenant insurance as a condition of their lease. We are interested in the liability part. Some of our tenants are students going to university. If they considered to be a dependant they may be covered for free under their parents homeowners insurance.

    1. Thanks for sharing that information Kathryn,
      My wife told me that when she was in school that she was indeed covered under her parents homeowners insurance.

  2. When we were renting we always had a tenants policy. Never had to use it, but I wouldn’t be without it. Here at least, they’re relatively cheap, and well worth the money.

  3. Yes! Yes! Yes! I ended up being required to make a muli-thousand dollar claim on my tenants insurance when we were renting (in a new building) because of a hot water pipe breaking. For less than $20/month you can sleep soundly!

  4. We advise all of the tenants in our rental properties to purchase insurance to cover themselves. With how cheap it is, I’m amazed at the number of tenants who take the risk and don’t choose to purchase it. We have quality properties but you never know what accident could lead to you losing all your belongings. Better to sleep well at night knowing any losses would be covered.

  5. I never had renter’s insurance when I was renting, but now that I’m an owner and I see all of the things that can go wrong, I’m thankful that nothing did go wrong when I was a renter. I would strongly recommend that all renters have insurance. It’s inexpensive and much cheaper than replacing all of your ruined belongings if there was some sort of disaster in the apartment.

    1. Yes you were lucky you didn’t have any losses when you were renting. The small amount of money it costs is well worth it.

  6. When our daughter moved out to go to college she rented a small apartment. As a condition of her renting in the building she was told flat out she needed to get the insurance as a condition of the lease. We called the agent we have dealt with for almost 27 years now and he just asked for the address of the building and told her how much. I think at the time it was $10.00-20.00 a month. Not a big deal. She still has her coverage for her stuff as well now for her car. Same company. He calls us up about once a year to check on things and see if anything has changed with her as well. Because we have been with the company for so long and she got her insurance through him as well we get treated fairly well and he has been really good with advice and such when she had her car wrecked 3 years ago.

  7. I own a condominium apartment (strata title) and the bank requires that we have something similar to tenant’s insurance. We must insure the apartment’s contents and everything insured inside its four walls against theft, fire, flood, earthquake, and we must have liability insurance against damage to other suites that arises as a result of something that originates within our apartment. If you have tenant’s insurance, this is something you may want to inquire about too. It would be a shame to be out of pocket for your downstairs neighbour’s belongings as a result of an overflowing tub or broken dishwasher!

  8. Living in geared-to-income housing, we have an annual income review to determine how much we should be paying. Part of that review is providing proof you have tenants’ insurance. I think anyone who doesn’t have it is just plain foolish.

    1. I agree with you. It may seem like a few bucks more than one can afford each month but that few bucks is the difference between having stuff now or having nothing at all in case of a problem.

  9. My last landlord made me get tenant’s insurance as a condition on my lease, and I’ve just kept it ever since. It costs me less than $200/year, so it’s not a big expense by any means!

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