According to StatsCan, only 50% of Canadian renters have tenant insurance (AKA renter insurance, content insurance). The reasons are a bit unclear but the running assumption is that renters assume they are automatically covered by their landlord’s policy and thus, see renters insurance as a waste of money. This is a potentially dangerous assumption. The landlord’s policy will cover all the bigger things – the pipes, structural issues, appliances etc. However, it does not cover your belongings (theft or damage) or costs of displacement nor liability for someone injured on your property – the key reason why many landlords require renters insurance even though it is not mandatory in B.C.
Tenant’s or Renter’s Insurance, in turn, covers the cost to repair or replace the items in your home. Most policies work on replacement cost basis meaning insurance companies will pay to replace any old items with new items so keep this in mind when determining the value of your coverage.
Should I get tenant’s insurance? Five reasons why you should.
1. Landlord may request it – Landlord’s insurance policies may be predicated on their tenants having insurance which means it will not be optional for you or it could simply be a requirement of residency in certain buildings – a policy stipulated by the landlord.
2. It covers damage and losses to personal property. If you tip that candle over and it damages the floor, or worse, causes a fire that damages your unit and others, the repairs and replacement of damaged possessions will be covered.
Did you know your possessions are protected from loss anywhere you travel as well? Another plus of Tenant’s Insurance.
3. It offers liability insurance. If someone trips and falls in your apartment or on your snowy walkway, you could be responsible for their medical expenses. Tenant’s insurance would cover these costs.
4. It often covers additional living expenses like a hotel and food in the event you have to move out if, for example, there is flooding in your building or you are in the path of a wildfire.
5. It is affordable. Premiums can start as low as $29/month for the minimum $30,000 coverage. That is the equivalent of 6 coffees or 3 premium cocktails! Here is a table comparing the annual cost of $30,000 worth of insurance coverage for a sample healthy, 30-year-old with a decent credit rating, living in downtown Vancouver. The unit has a local fire alarm, the building is 150m from a fire hydrant and within 5 km of a fire hall.
|Carrier||Monthly cost||Total (per year)|
|Canadian Northern Shield||$30.10||$362|
|Intact Insurance (West)||$29.00||$348|
PRO TIP: You may be eligible for discounts. Each carrier offers different ones and that is why it is important to get a number of quotes.
liv.rent’s friends at Square One have an exclusive deal on tenant’s insurance and it’s a good place to start getting quotes. We also didn’t want to leave out our landlords, so we got you a discount on home insurance, too.
For these key reasons, you should acquire tenant’s insurance. Keep in mind, though, that all tenant insurance policies are not created equally – they vary from company-to-company, location to location and for person-to-person. Do the necessary research to find the company and policy that suits your specific needs. The protection and peace of mind are worth it.