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Your Tenant Insurance Guide

renters insurance

About one third of Canadians rent their home according to Statistics Canada, yet, it’s estimated that about half of renters don’t have tenant insurance.  Tenant insurance is also often called renter’s insurance or contents insurance.  But what is it exactly?

Whether it’s tenant insurance in Ontario, in British Columbia, or Nova Scotia, a tenant insurance policy is typically made up of three main components:

  • Coverage for your belongings.
  • Coverage to help while affected or displaced from an insured loss.
  • Coverage should you be sued by someone who visits your home, or lives in another unit.

Tenant insurance for your belongings

Your landlord’s policy will cover the physical building or the unit you live in, but it does not include your personal property; the stuff you own.  For this you’ll need a tenant insurance policy.  Consider how much stuff you actually own and how much it would cost to replace in the event of a total loss like fire:  there’s furniture, electronics, clothing, housewares, linens, sports equipment, silverware, china, and jewelry to name just a few. The cost to replace everything is often beyond the financial capability of most people. Even a less than total loss, like a burglary, can result in financial stress.

A typical tenant insurance policy will protect all of your personal property from damage or theft.

  • Did you know your possessions are not only covered while in the home, but also outside of the home too, in fact, anywhere in the world? That means, if your new camera is stolen while on holiday, or your golf clubs are stolen out of your car, your tenant insurance policy offers coverage.

Some items however, may be subject to exclusions or maximum limits, and if you want them covered you’ll have to add a floater or rider to the policy.  Jewelry for example is covered, but up to a limit. Most tenant insurance policies have limits on certain items, and jewelry is one of them. This means that the maximum the insurer will pay is limited to the amount specified in the policy. Although the maximum will vary, a $5000 limit is not uncommon. The same may be true for really expensive bikes, or if you own a lot of expensive electronics. Read your policy carefully to determine your exact coverage.

Tenant insurance for living expenses

If you’re not able to live in your apartment while repairs are being made after an insured loss like fire, your tenant insurance policy will help pay some of the expenses until you’re able to move back in. Things like hotel bills, restaurant meals, and moving costs would normally be covered as they’re living expenses you wouldn’t typically have if you were living in your home.

Tenant insurance for your liability

You may not own your home, but you still may be liable for damage you cause to your unit, the building, or the units of other residents in the building. For example, the damage caused by a kitchen fire may not be limited to your own unit, and you could be held responsible for the cost to repair other parts of the building.  The same would be true if you left a faucet on causing water damage to your unit, as well as those beneath or beside you. There’s also the slip and fall. If someone wipes out in your unit and is hurt, you could be held liable for the costs associated with their medical expenses, rehab efforts, and time away from work.

  • Did you know that if you buy your tenant insurance policy from your auto insurance company you may qualify for a multi-line discount? It’s not just available to people with a home insurance or condo insurance policy. The discount can range from anywhere from five to 15 per cent off of one, or even both of your policies.

How much does tenant insurance cost?

Tenant insurance costs will vary by insurance company. Usually your tenant insurance premium is calculated based on how much coverage you need (the value of your contents for example, or the liability limit you choose), where you live, your claims history, your chosen deductible, and the type of building you live in.

Typically, a tenant insurance policy will run you a couple of hundred dollars a year; about a dollar a day. To illustrate, we ran a quick quote to see how much tenant insurance in Ontario costs (Toronto specifically) and for $50,000 in contents coverage and $1,000,000 in liability the best tenant insurance quote came in at $287; less than $25 a month.

Whether you need tenant insurance in Ontario, tenant insurance in British Columbia, or tenant insurance in Nova Scotia, InsuranceHotline.com help. We compare tenant insurance quotes from over 30 insurers to help you get the coverage you need at the best available price.