Every time our staff hears of another local flood or fire in an apartment building, our first thought is for their safety and well being. The second thought is whether all affected had proper insurance. Our team has seen many people left in difficulty after a disaster in their building.
Most people don’t realize that tenant’s insurance (a.k.a. renter’s or contents’ insurance) is usually very affordable with a much lower price tag than auto or home insurance. (Those who need auto insurance can sometimes bundle their tenant’s insurance and auto insurance to get a good discount on both!)
Still, many renters do not get tenant’s insurance, assuming that their landlord is responsible for all costs incurred in case of a building disaster. (They aren’t.) They often assume they don’t own anything expensive that would be worthy of insuring. Unfortunately, these lines of reasonings are flawed and can leave well-meaning tenants in difficult circumstances.
There are three very important reasons that all renters should have proper tenant’s insurance.
Tenant’s insurance covers the cost of replacing your belongings. You may look around and think, “I don’t actually own that much.” But, if you needed to go out today and replace all of your essential items, how much would it cost?
Take a moment to think of everything you own:
- Couches, chairs, mattresses and tables
- TV, computer, phone and other electronics
- Clothing, shoes and winter gear
- Kitchen appliances and dishes
- Sheets, comforters, pillows and towels
- Pet supplies
When you start adding up the cost of all these items (and likely even more), you’ll start realizing how much the contents of your home are worth. Perhaps a friend gave you your couch for free, but if you needed to buy a new one it might cost hundreds of dollars. Maybe you’re a bargain shopper, but if you needed to replace your work wardrobe, your appliances, or your bed after to a fire, you may not have the luxury of waiting to find the best deals.
Here’s a real situation: a local person we know did not have tenant’s insurance for her apartment. While she was away, the building she lived in flooded. Almost every single item she owned was ruined by water damage. She returned from her holiday to discover that she was left with almost no belongings. Her friends pooled together to get her some basics but without the proper insurance, it took her years to recover financially (and emotionally!) from the flood.
If you rent your home, your landlord’s property insurance will not cover your belongings in case of fire, flood, theft or damage.
2. Living Accommodations
Our insurance team often sees tenants that are left temporarily homeless after a disaster. It is not a landlord’s responsibility to find alternative accommodations if your unit becomes uninhabitable after a flood, fire, or other disaster.
In one instance we know of, a local fire ousted three tenants from their apartments. Two of the tenants had insurance and were therefore given hotel accommodations and meal vouchers until they could return to their apartment. The third tenant, who had not purchased insurance, was saddled with the added stress of having to find shelter and paying out-of-pocket.
Additional living expense coverage usually pays for any necessary expenses incurred while your apartment is being repaired, within certain limits. These include hotel bills, restaurant meals and moving costs. Tenant’s insurance pays for these unexpected expenses when you cannot live in your apartment due to a covered loss. It’s worth the peace of mind!
3. Liability insurance
This is the big one. If we had to stress a single reason for all renters to get proper tenant’s insurance, it is the liability insurance portion of the policy.
If you cause damage to your building, you may responsible for ALL the damages caused.
If your toaster malfunctions and you accidentally start a fire in your building, you may be responsible for all the damages to the entire building. If you mistakenly leave the water running and flood your building, you may be responsible for all the damages to the entire building. If you host a party that gets out of hand and guests cause damage, you may be responsible for all the damages to the entire building.
Liability insurance could protect you in the event of a lawsuit, and help you cover the cost of any damages.
Get the right policy
Frankly, it is usually quite inexpensive to get a solid policy with all the necessary elements. But don’t opt for the cheapest policy you can find—you may find yourself without the help you need if something happens in your unit. As with all insurance policies, you get what you pay for with tenant’s insurance.
These are they different types of coverage available within a tenant’s policy:
- All-Risk: insures your building and contents for losses due to the widest range of risks unless specifically excluded from your policy
- Personal Liability: protects you if you unintentionally injuring someone or damaging their property and have to pay damages
- Contents Insurance: covers your belongings (including when you travel) for losses up to a specified amount
- Replacement Cost Coverage: means that the contents of your home are insured for the amount it costs to replace them without depreciation
- Additional Living Expenses Coverage: helps you pay for necessary expenses if you are forced to leave your home following an insured peril for a period of time
How Much Does Tenant Insurance Cost?
The cost of a specific policy is calculated based on:
- How much insurance you need (eg. $40 000 vs $400 000 worth of contents)
- The location of your dwelling
- How your unit or apartment was constructed (eg. knob and tube wiring or outdated plumbing)
- Your insurance company
- Your claims history
What’s the Best Way to Get Started?
Reach out to us! We’re here to help. We can answer your questions, help you figure out what level of coverage you need and put together a quote for you to consider.
Get in touch at 613-932-0083 or 1-844-804-1506 OR firstname.lastname@example.org.