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The Importance of Tenant Insurance

First off, what exactly is tenant insurance?

Tenant Insurance is an insurance policy that exists to provide financial protection for renters in the event of fire, theft, damage, and personal liability.

Some call it tenant insurance, some call it renter insurance, and some call it contents insurance...confusing right?! These terms essentially mean the same thing but the correct term is known as Tenant Insurance.

Tenant Insurance typically provides coverage for:

  • Personal belongings to replace items like your laptop, phone, clothing, apartment furniture, electronics, bike, dishes, cookware, personal appliances, etc..., in the event of an insured peril such as a fire, theft, or damage. There may be exclusions and possible coverage limits for high value items such as bikes, instruments, software, jewelry, collector coins, etc.

    Good to know! Tenant insurance may also replace items that are stolen outside of your apartment!

    Tip! If possible, take current pictures of your belongings as well as their receipts and save them online in case you need to prove item ownership.

  • Additional living expenses to cover unexpected expenses like temporarily staying at a hotel, eating restaurant meals, and moving costs incurred during the timeframe your apartment is deemed “unlivable”.

    Tip! Keep all “living expenses” receipts while living outside of your rental as you will need to submit them to the insurance provider in order to get reimbursed.

  • Personal and premises liability in the event that you happen to unintentionally injure someone on or off the premises or cause unintentional damage to the building, to your unit, other tenants’ units or property, your policy has you covered. Best part is this coverage protects you worldwide!

Here are a couple quick examples of what personal and premises liability covers:

  • The cost of repairing the premises (aka apartment) in the event that your kitchen sink unintentionally overflows and floods your unit or downstairs neighbour.
  • The cost of a person’s medical bills if you’re found responsible for unintentionally injuring them while on the premises or anywhere in the world.
  • The cost of repairing or replacing someone’s property if you are found responsible for unintentionally damaging it.

Good to know! Most standard tenant insurance policies provide personal liability coverage for $1 million but can be easily increased to $2 million for a minimal additional cost if required.

Is there a tenant insurance deductible?

Yes, tenant insurance requires a deductible to be chosen when setting up a policy. The average tenant insurance deductible is between $500 and $1000 which is the amount you are responsible for in the event that a claim is submitted.

Do I really need tenant insurance?

Absolutely! It’s definitely in your best interest to purchase tenant insurance as your landlord’s insurance typically only covers the apartment structure and does not cover tenant belongings in case of fire, theft or damage. However, this can vary from province to province.

For example, in the event of a fire, it’s the tenant insurance as per the policy that would cover the replacement value of your damaged personal belongings and cover your temporary lodging while your unit is being repaired. Imagine not having insurance and having to replace everything you own and pay for temporary lodging on top of your rent! Yikes…definitely not worth the risk.

What does tenant insurance cost?

Well that can depend on a few factors like the insurance provider, your chosen deductible, level of insurance required, your claim history, the rental location, the rental’s theft and fire deterrent systems as well the type of building. However, you can probably expect to pay as little as $15 per month for a basic policy.

When setting up payment for your policy, you’ll have payment options to choose from such as full payment, monthly credit card payments or pre-authorized chequing account withdrawals if you’re on a tighter budget. You can also save by bundling your auto insurance.

How to purchase tenant insurance?

Insurance companies, insurance brokers, Cooperators, CAA and banks offer tenant insurance. Make sure to shop around a little to get a few different quotes as the cost may vary from company to company when comparing the same type of policy.

Tip! You may qualify for a discount if you’ve been “claim free” in the past or already have one or more products with the insurance provider. Make sure to ask!

Is tenant insurance required by law?

That depends on the province. Some provincial Residential Tenancies Acts do not require tenants to have insurance while others do require landlords to provide tenant insurance as an insurance premium within the cost of the rent.

In the provinces that require landlords to provide tenant insurance, tenants can simply move in and not worry about purchasing insurance. However, keep in mind that the landlord's premium could be more than you could personally get the insurance for. Does it matter? Absolutely! A tenant that already has their own tenant insurance is entitled to a reduction equal to the amount of the insurance premiums as per the rental agreement. For example, if the insurance premium portion of the rent is $30/month and you can get insurance for $20/month, your rent would be reduced by $30/month provided the insurance is comparable. A savings of $10/month!

Is submitting a tenant insurance claim complicated?

That’s a tough question but the answer is yes and no. Some insurance providers make it very easy for renters to submit a claim online while others require paperwork to start the claim process. When shopping around, make sure to ask about the claim process as you’ll want to know what information to provide in the event of a claim.

Can tenant insurance be purchased online?

Absolutely! However, you should be careful with your personal information. Just like apartment reviews, make sure to read the reviews for online insurance providers before purchasing your insurance.

Nuera (https://www.nuerainsurance.ca) is a very secure and well rated online insurance provider in western Canada - check out their Facebook and Google reviews! They provide super fast quotes as well as the option to safely purchase insurance online. In addition, Nuera offers competitive pricing and an additional 5% discount for RentItOrNot users. Score!

At RentItOrNot, we believe Nuera is setting a new standard for purchasing insurance online, making it faster and easier than ever before. They can also be reached on live chat or telephone from 8am-6pm MST every day, even on the weekends.

But don’t just take our word for it, find out for yourself!

Nuera Insurance
Final thoughts…

We highly recommend dealing only with experienced tenant insurance providers. A good insurance provider should be able to give you an accurate quote and an understanding of:

  • The overall cost of the policy and the payment options.
  • Deductible options in the event of claim.
  • Items covered or not covered in the event of fire, theft, damage, or personal liability.
  • Whether additional coverage is required based on your personal items.
  • Special requirements (if any) when away on vacation/temporarily away.
  • Whether you qualify for a discount.
  • How to file a tenant insurance claim.

For a little peace of mind and for less than $1/day, you can’t go wrong purchasing tenant insurance for your apartment. Happy renting!