What Is Tenant or Renter's Insurance?
If you don't own the home you're living in, insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense - but if your dinner goes up in flames or your bathtub overflows, you’re vulnerable as a renter without it.
And we all know... accidents happen.
When your rental unit has been accidentally damaged or destroyed, your landlord's insurance policy will cover what they own - the physical structure of the unit or building. You are responsible for protecting what you own - your livelihood and personal belongings.
What Does Tenants Insurance Cover?
Tenant insurance can cover everything from your laptop to your toilet paper, as well as provide protection in the case of:
- A loss preventing you from occupying your rental, such as flood or fire
- Damaged or stolen personal property
- Required legal defense for your or a guest’s actions on the property
- Injuries occurring in your home or on the property
In these cases, tenant insurance can cover:
- Personal belongings, large and small
- Living expenses if you are displaced from your unit, such as hotel accommodations
- Liability in the event of unintentional damage to your unit or a person visiting your unit
How Much Is Tenant Insurance?
Consider this: tenant insurance, on average, can range from $10-$20 per month or $120-$240 per year to cover all of your insurable contents.
Replacing an uninsured television alone could be 3x or 4x more expensive than that.
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What Should You Know About Tenant Insurance?
Contents are defined as household goods and personal effects belonging to you, such as clothing, furniture and other items worn or carried by you (purse, glasses, mobile phone.) Some notable exceptions would be any items that are already insured, vehicles, and personal identification like passports.
A liability is a legal obligation, arising from an action or event. In the context of a tenant insurance policy you gain protection from liabilities arising from lawsuits and claims due to your negligent acts.
For example, while you have people over, someone breaks their ankle. They require surgery and end up having to take unpaid time off work, and decide to sue you for pain and suffering, and lost wages. The liability coverage on your policy will be there to provide legal representation, and financial protection up to the amount of the coverage limit on your policy.
While tenant insurance is not legally required, many property owners require proof of insurance in order for you to be approved as a tenant. Landlords are legally able to request that you have coverage to ensure both their property and their tenant’s property are adequately protected.
No, your landlord will have property insurance on the physical structure of the building, but not the contents within. If the unit above you floods your unit, destroying the contents and making the space unlivable, the landlord’s policy will cover the repair costs, and your Tenant Insurance would cover your belongings and living expenses while you are displaced.
As the renter, liability inside the home shifts to you. If someone is injured in your home, your insurance can help protect you from liability. For example, a party gets a little ruckus and one of your guests falls off a chair and breaks a leg, you would be responsible for their injuries.
Some items may be excluded from general contents coverage or be subject to maximum limits.
For example, jewelry may be treated differently than the rest of your home’s contents, requiring a separate schedule attached to the policy. Be sure to discuss any expensive and/or difficult to replace items with your broker and retain an ongoing inventory of the contents of your home. You may be surprised how much value you have in your personal possessions.
View our Home Inventory Form to assist in cataloguing the contents of your home
Your cat may not agree, but pets are considered property under the liability component of most insurance policies. Should your cat get a hold of your neighbour’s prized parakeet, your liability insurance can prevent you from out of pocket expenses.
Check with your broker to ensure that your specific breed or species of pet are covered.
Tenant insurance premiums will vary by insurance carrier and is typically calculated according to the coverage desired (value of contents or liability limit) along with details about where you live, deductible desired, claims history and type of building you live in.
Each tenant policy will only cover named insureds.
While it is possible to have more than one name on a policy, it is ultimately the policyholder that will have their insurance history impacted should a claim be made, which could effect future rates on other insurance products for that individual. It is advisable to have each individual living in a rented unit have their own policy.