People moving out in the Limoilou borough of Quebec City, on July 1, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If I don't own the building, why would I buy insurance?
Some of the most under-insured people are tenants. In today's environment home ownership is becoming less trendy and condos are becoming more popular, when people “buy” something, it makes sense to them to insure. However, we see more and more that those who don’t buy a property totally overlook the need for insurance.
Why do tenants need insurance?
Many people do not understand what is covered on a tenant policy. We have clients regularly tell us, they have “nothing of value” in the apartment.
This misconception leads them to feel they have nothing to worry about or insure.
“Doesn’t the landlord pay for everything? I don’t own the building…What do I have to lose?”
Common but dangerous assumptions.
We hear about apartments burning down in the news all the time. Just one example that helps show that tenants have just as much to lose as those who own properties. What would you do if your apartment was uninhabitable or suddenly damaged by fire?
Here are some things covered by tenant insurance that can make a huge difference to you :
Additional Living Expenses.*
When a dwelling is made uninhabitable by a fire or other covered loss, such as water damage, the time to repair the units can take a significant amount of time.
During that time the tenant may have to find somewhere else to live. Most tenant insurance protects you for covered losses by providing you with the resources to stay in a hotel or other temporary place until the building is inhabitable again (up to the specific special limit of your tenant policy). Additional living expenses can include items like the increased cost of eating at restaurants, instead of cooking at home; the increased cost of staying in a hotel or furnished apartment, etc.
Why do I need that?
Liability is extremely important for people who rent apartments. Liability covers you for anything you might be held responsible for as the lessee of the apartment. If your name is on the lease, then you could be liable for damages arising out of the use/control of the premises.
What could happen?
A number of things, water overflowing damaging the building, or people's property in units below yours. A candle could tip over and cause a fire taking down half the building! And let's not forget that when there are visitors, like, for example when you have a party, someone could trip and fall and hold you responsible! Start to think about it, a lot could happen.
Liability also covers you off premises. Some scenarios where you could be held liable for your actions worldwide include at sporting events : imagine you are golfing and your golf ball goes off track and hits a property in the vicinity causing damage…or even worse hits someone in the head. You might be held liable!
Imagine you are staying in a hotel and you leave the water running in the tub, water starts pouring out before you notice and your getaway weekend suddenly turns to much more than just the bill for an overnight stay. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage can happen in a very short amount of time. If you are held liable, it’s your tenant insurance liability that will assist and come to the rescue.
What about what is in your apartment? Your Contents, what is covered?*
Although most people do not think the value of what they own is very high, they are often just thinking about their furniture. Although furniture can be a big part of it, there are many more things in your apartment than just furniture. Think about everything you use that is in your home in the day to day.
- Your kitchen has utensils, plates, pots, food and many more items that you might take for granted.
- Your bedroom may include many decorations, clothing, shoes, specialty gear, like for scuba or skiing.
- Your living room many be stocked with electronics, and more so now than ever before, items like iPad's , computers, and related software.
- Specialty items like sporting goods, or home theatre systems and associated items
All of these are contents, and they are things you should insure! The only time you should consider skipping tenant insurance is if you have the means to protect yourself or recover easily from losses like the ones above.
Remember when you are a tenant, you are not in control of the maintenence of the building, nor in the activities of the people who live in the budilding around you.
All it takes is a poor plumbing or electrical system, an outdated roof, or tenants to forget their water running in the unit above and all of a sudden you can be hit with a great inconvenience and loss.
Tenant insurance helps protect your assets and make sure there is something protecting you and your lifestyle.
It’s time to take a second look at tenant insurance, and think about what is really at risk if you don’t have it.
Tenant insurance is usually available for about $300-$500* as a starter policy per year (sometimes even less!), that works out to $25-$41 per month – at that price, it’s less than the cost of a movie night for two, or a coffee a day.
So what do you have to lose?