What is Tenant Insurance and Do You Need It?
But if you’re currently renting without insurance, you may want to reconsider.
Tenant insurance is surprisingly affordable, often working out to less than a dollar a day. In return, you get coverage not only for your contents (regardless of whether they’re in your home or not), but also for liability.
Think about every item of value you own – all your electronics, clothing, kitchenware, furniture, books. What would you do if a fire started while you were out and they were all destroyed?
Unless you have tenant insurance, you wouldn’t receive anything to help you recoup your losses and start over.
Many renters mistakenly believe that their contents are covered under their landlord’s insurance policy. This is incorrect. Landlords have property insurance for the building itself, but that doesn’t extend to their tenants’ possessions.
Tenant insurance will protect your possessions (contents) from loss or damage due to situations like fire, theft, certain water damage and vandalism . What’s more, if your home or apartment is seriously damaged due to an insured loss, tenant insurance will also cover your additional living expenses while it’s being repaired.
Accidentally leaving a stove burner on is easy to do. Replacing all your possessions after a fire, without insurance, is not.
Something else many people don’t realize is that coverage for your possessions applies even if they are not in your home . If your car gets broken into while you’re out running errands and someone makes off with your GPS device and CD collection, all that stuff would be deemed “property” and would be covered under your tenant insurance, not your car insurance.
Continuing with the same example, imagine that the fire not only destroyed your possessions, but also spread to other units and damaged other people’s property. An investigation determines that you left a burner on and are thus responsible for covering everyone’s losses.
It seems like a nightmare, but it could happen.
Thankfully, tenant insurance also provides liability coverage for damage you might cause to other people’s property due to an insured loss. So in this scenario, you would be covered.
Liability coverage applies as well if someone is hurt due to your negligence. Thus if a guest slips and falls because of a wet floor in your apartment and decides to sue, you wouldn’t have to worry about paying damages in court.
What Should You Know Before Getting Tenant Insurance?
Before getting tenant insurance, you should take an inventory of your possessions to get a sense of how much coverage you need for your insurance policy.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a Personal Property Inventory form that makes it easier for you to take an inventory of all your possessions. Print out a copy and bring it with you around your home or apartment, making note of what you own (you will probably be amazed at how much stuff you’ve acquired!).
Add up the approximate value of all of your possessions so you know how much coverage to ask for.
Some other tips:
- Take photos or video footage of your more valuable possessions
- Save any warranties, instruction manuals, and receipts as proof of ownership
- Store your Personal Property Inventory form along with your warranties, instruction manuals, and receipts in a safe place outside of your home (like a safety deposit box or online)
- Review your Personal Property Inventory form every year to update the value of your possessions
If the worst happens and you need to make an insurance claim to cover your damaged or stolen possessions, this information will act as proof of their value. Having it readily available will make the process of filing a claim much easier, saving you time and money.
Many landlords now require you to have a tenant insurance policy before you can sign a lease. Protecting your contents from loss or damage as a tenant just makes sense.
A few dollars a month buys you peace of mind when it comes to the things you hold dear, while also protecting you from certain types of liability. Learn more about insuring your home or apartment or get a quote.