When you get your very own place, probably the last thing you want to think about is the risk of something going wrong. However, you need to think about the responsibilities associated with renting or leasing a home before you commit to the arrangement. You will want to ensure that you purchase tenant’s insurance (also known as renter’s insurance). The reasons why are discussed here below.
Additionally, your landlord may require you to carry tenant’s insurance to protect the premises. Your landlord can require that you provide proof of your insurance prior to your occupation of the unit.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT IN A TENANT INSURANCE POLICY?
Tenant’s insurance can be purchased for named perils (specific coverages) or on a comprehensive (all risk) basis. Whichever type you choose, tenant’s insurance will usually cover you for major expenses associated with your housing if it becomes accidently damaged. For example, your home could become uninhabitable by cause of any event covered in the policy, such as fire, theft, and certain types of flooding. Some causes of flooding (e.g., flooding from sewer backup) require an additional premium, so you will want to discuss the exact coverage you want buy with your insurance agent.
Tenant’s insurance also protects you financially if you damage another home, such as if a fire you cause spreads to a neighbouring unit or if your bathtub floods a unit below you.
Additionally, with a tenant’s insurance policy, your personal belongings are protected, including from theft, both inside and outside the home. For example, if you take your laptop out of your home and it is stolen, your policy will often still cover the loss. Similarly, if your bicycle is stolen from your storage unit, your insurance may cover the costs of replacement.
Your living quarters may also be protected financially in the event of major damage. You may get reasonable moving expenses and rent monies so you can live elsewhere while your home is repaired.
Finally, your tenant’s insurance policy will provide you with coverage if a third party is injured on the premises or if you accidently injure a third party at your home or elsewhere. For example, if someone gets seriously injured by a slip and fall on a spill in the kitchen, your liability coverage will protect you if you are sued for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. On the flip side, if you cause damage or injury to another person outside your home (e.g., you run into a pedestrian with your bike), your renter’s insurance policy will also help cover damages incurred from a lawsuit against you.
RISKS OF CHOOSING NOT TO CARRY RENTER'S INSURANCE
Not all landlords will require you to carry tenant’s insurance. However, it is a good idea to carry it regardless. Although a landlord may own a house, apartment complex, or condo, his or her insurance will not cover you if you accidently damage a neighbour’s property. The landlord’s insurance will only cover the condition and safety of any common elements, yard and outdoor features, and the physical building, and not your individual unit.
It makes sense that the landlord’s policy does not cover you as you are the one who will usually have control over ensuring that the inside of your apartment is hazard-free. Because a landlord cannot enter your rented space at will, you will likely be required to inform your landlord promptly of any noted issues that will require him or her to perform maintenance, even though the landlord will generally shoulder the costs of such maintenance.
Additionally, your landlord’s own insurance policy (or if you live in an apartment complex, your landlord’s commercial general liability policy) will not cover injuries to third parties that result from your actions as a tenant. Instead, you would be personally liable without insurance if you or your guests accidentally damage the premises. The Occupier’s Liability Act imposes a duty of care on anyone in “physical possession of premises” and with “control over persons allowed to enter the premises” to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe. As tenants do control these things, they can bear responsibility at law when a visitor to their home is injured because of their negligence.
THE RISK OF FAILING TO INSURE A PREMISE PROPERLY
You may need additional insurance besides tenant’s insurance if you are using the property to run a business. For example, with AirBNB and other home-sharing arrangements, many renters are further subletting their units to third parties for short periods of time. This may be a breach of your lease agreement, and there is also the risk that AirBNB is considered a commercial activity, which would require (additional) business insurance. If an AirBNB customer is injured in your unit, your tenant’s insurance might not cover you in the event of significant damage to your home or in a personal injury lawsuit.
CALL MERIT INSURANCE FOR A TENANT’S INSURANCE POLICY IN EDMONTON
At Merit Insurance, we will help you find the best available tenant’s insurance for your apartment in Edmonton that suits you, based on what you plan to use the property for and how much protection you require. Whether it’s renter’s insurance or condo insurance or business insurance as well that you are seeking, we have access to the policies of many insurance companies. Call us for your free, no obligation quote at 780-434-8763.