Many landlords already understand that it is crucial to keep their apartment buildings, condos or houses well protected against the things they may be exposed to, like vandalism, fire, etc. Their insurance policy should be able to cover the physical structure of the building they own and their liability, but many renters and tenants think that this covers their belongings and liability as well. Due to this, many tenants will opt to go without renter’s insurance.
This can lead to a great deal of issues (and even legal disputes!) between the landlord and renter if something should happen, like a lawsuit or damaged belongings. If landlords were to require their tenants to carry renters insurance this could mitigate confusion over the protection of both the landlord and the tenant. In this post, we break down why landlords should require their tenants to carry renters’ insurance and the importance of this coverage.
First thing’s first: what is renters’ insurance?
How does renters’ insurance deviate from a landlord’s insurance, you might be wondering? Put simply, a tenant’s (separate) policy may be able to protect their belongings and their unit’s contents. Additionally, renters’ insurance may be able to protect an individual’s liability in case something should happen to a third party on the property.
What does renters’ insurance cover?
Renters’ insurance supplies peace of mind to your renters or tenants as it can cover a variety of things beyond your possessions.
- Your unit’s contents from vandalism, theft, fire, and more,
- Loss of use (if your rental unit becomes unfit for living), and the cost of living while your unit is temporarily unavailable,
- Belongings outside your unit, such as if you were on vacation and your laptop were to be stolen,
- Your liability, which can cover you for injuries to guests that you are held responsible for, if your pet were to bite someone, etc.
You may need to discuss with a broker if you have any high-value items (such as jewellery, collections, and electronics) as their cost may exceed the coverage limits stated in your policy. Also, your insurance may not cover your roommate’s possessions or liability, so they will need to acquire their own policy. Floods and earthquakes may not be covered by your insurance depending on your area – for example, generally doesn’t include this coverage.
Why it’s important that renters carry separate insurance:
More than just settling disputes, there are a variety of reasons why it is important that landlords require their tenants to carry insurance.
It ensures your tenants can be trusted.
Requiring renters’ insurance can weed out tenants that might not be one hundred percent committed to making payments on time or maintaining their unit according to the building’s standards. By requiring insurance in the lease, you guarantee that your tenants are serious about their property and are generally compliant.
It’s easy to put in a lease.
It isn’t hard to ask tenants to carry renters’ insurance and only takes adding a provision to the lease agreement. In some rental properties, landlords will request proof of insurance before the renter or tenant is allowed to move in. This way, you can ensure both parties are protected and maintain a good relationship.
It’s not expensive.
Renters’ insurance isn’t very expensive and renters’ insurance in Ontario can be purchased starting at as little as 12$/month. It might be a concern for some landlords that requesting renters’ insurance can scare away certain tenants but it isn’t much more than a few cups of coffee a month. Moreover, some rental properties may be able to offer renters’ insurance discounts.
It provides security.
With renters’ insurance, your tenants or renters won’t constantly need to worry about their possessions or what would happen if someone were to be injured in their unit or due to their actions. Renters’ insurance protects both the renter and the landlord and can supply both parties with peace of mind and help to maintain the relationship between them.
From both perspectives, landlord and tenant, renters’ insurance is a win-win. It provides security for both participants, helps to maintain a relationship built on trust, and is there if anything unexpected should happen. Even though renters’ insurance isn’t necessarily required, it is a good idea for a landlord to request a tenant carry the bare minimum of insurance to protect their assets and everyone’s peace of mind.