Would it surprise you that 34.5% of renters don’t have rental insurance in Canada (2020)? Just because you don’t own the property you live in, doesn’t mean you don’t need insurance to cover accidents or damage. While it’s not a government or municipality-mandated requirement, some landlords may require it.
Your landlord’s insurance will cover any reasonable, unexpected damage to the building and property, but if a flood damages your suite, it will not cover the costs of replacing your belongings.
Getting tenant insurance is easy and affordable, especially considering the peace of mind it provides. Here’s what you need to know about applying for tenant insurance in BC.
Tenant insurance helps cover any out-of-pocket expenses to replace your personal belongings if an accident, damage, or theft occurs on your rented property. Many homeowners underestimate how financially devastating it can be to replace your belongings, furniture, clothing, and electronics. Tenant insurance can help.
Tenant insurance also helps cover you if you are at fault for any damage to the rented property. For example, if you accidentally leave a candle burning and it sets the drapes and kitchen on fire, your landlord could file a lawsuit against you for the damage.
Here are some common examples of when tenant insurance can come in handy:
Without tenant insurance, you could be liable for any damage, repairs, third-party lawsuits, and replacement costs in the event of an accident in your rented home. It’s peace of mind knowing you won’t have to pay for any of these unexpected expenses if they happen to you.
Basic tenant insurance usually covers the following expenses:
Your insurance will cover most or all of the costs of replacing your personal belongings if they are stolen or damaged. Be sure to provide an accurate estimate of the value of your belongings to ensure you get the coverage you need in case you need to replace everything (in the worst-case scenario). It’s likely to be approximately 30% of the home’s value if you were to own the home).
To estimate the content insurance coverage you need, go from room to room in your home and inventory all possessions. Estimate how much they are worth to replace in today’s dollars. Here are some items to look at:
For anything more valuable (like jewelry, family heirlooms, collectables), get a professional appraisal. There may be maximum dollar amount coverage for specific items, like bikes, so check your policy to see if the amount offered will be enough to replace the item if needed.
Some insurers may offer standard estimates for content coverage. If you’ve done a personal possessions assessment and believe you need more, talk to your insurance broker about options to get extra coverage.
If your home is damaged and you will be displaced during repairs (or if the house is unlivable for any temporary reason), you can be covered for temporary living expenses. Depending on your policy, this can include hotel costs, moving expenses, and the cost of meals if you are forced to eat out more due to not having a kitchen as you would have in your rented home.
Having this coverage is essential because living expenses can add up if displaced. For example, if you are displaced for 30 days during significant repairs to your rented home, a 30-day hotel stay could cost over $4500 per month (assuming you stay in a cheaper, $150 per night hotel). If you were only paying $2000 per month in rent, you need to find an extra $2500 in your tight budget to cover your increased monthly hotel “rent” during repairs.
If you are at fault for an accident on a rented property or responsible for the injury to a third party while in the rented home, you could be held liable to pay for any damages. This can cover financial damages and legal representation for court.
Tenant insurance costs around $26 per month, depending on several factors, including: