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Tenant insurance 101

Sep 24, 2020 3 minute read

Tenant insurance 101

I’m pretty much your typical millennial. I love brunch, I live for memes and I can’t go one day without my organic, fair trade coffee made in a French press. Like many millennials, I don’t have a car, and I don’t own a home. That means I don’t have insurance. Of any kind.

Why would I bother insuring anything? I simply don’t have anything worth insuring. The most expensive thing I have in my apartment is probably my bed, which I bought on Facebook marketplace for $200.

This came up on a recent call with my boss.

“You don’t have any insurance at all?” she asked, concerned.

“Why would I? I have nothing to insure,” I said.

“What about tenant insurance?”

I tried telling her there’s nothing in my apartment that I need to insure, but she wasn’t having any of it.

“You work at an insurance brokerage!” she reminded me. “I think you should look into tenant insurance.”

Talk to a broker about tenant insurance

One of the best things about working at BrokerLink is if I ever have a question about insurance, there’s always a broker who can help me. I called Tishon, a broker from our Toronto office, to ask why I needed to bother with tenant insurance. Tishon answered my question with a very specific example.

“Say you live in a high rise apartment,” he said. “Say your upstairs neighbour flushed kitty litter down the toilet. It could cause a burst pipe and sewer backup.”

I couldn’t believe someone would flush kitty litter down the toilet, but Tishon assured me it really happened to a classmate of his.

“She went into her unit and it overflowed,” he said. “You know what sewer back up means, right…?”

I knew.

“She had insurance,” Tishon said. “It covered her furniture, clothing, TV and laptop. You might not think it could happen but it can.”

Tishon went on to explain that tenant insurance doesn’t just cover your stuff. It also provides liability coverage. (If you’re anything like me, you’re not quite sure what that means. Don’t worry, this is a judgement-free zone.)

Here’s how Tishon explained liability:

“Let’s say you want to throw a party in your unit,” he said. “Someone slips and falls and hurts themselves. They could sue you. I know you’re probably thinking it’s unlikely, but it does happen sometimes. Even if their lawsuit doesn’t have merit, you would have to get a lawyer to fight the charges. Tenant insurance will cover those costs.”

Tishon was slowly starting to convince me tenant insurance might be a good idea. He had one last example of how tenant insurance might come in handy.

“I was at the gym a few years ago and someone took my bag from the locker,” he said. “My drivers license, SIN card, everything was in there. I had to check with all my banks to see if anyone tried to take out a loan in my name.”

This was an example I could relate to. I’ve lost my wallet on three separate occasions. Miraculously, each time the wallet was returned to me. I probably won’t get that lucky a fourth time.

“Tenant insurance can cover you for identity theft,” Tishon said. “And you even get lawyer advice free of charge.”

How much does tenant insurance cost?

Tishon had explained to me what tenant insurance is and what it covers. Now for the tough question: how much is it going to cost? According to Ratehub, Canadians pay an average of $23 a month for tenant insurance. Tishon says for his Ontario clients it’s usually between $25 and $30 a month.

How do you get tenant insurance?

Finally I decided to make the adult decision and buy tenant insurane. To my surprise, the whole process only took about fifteen minutes. The hardest question was “Where is the closest fire department?” Google Maps helped me answer that question in just a few seconds.

I gave Tishon my banking info and I had tenant insurance just like that! The payments come out of my bank account automatically every month.

What’s covered with tenant insurance?

Tishon explained you can customize your policy depending on the amount of coverage you want. In my particular case, I have $25,000 in contents coverage and $1 million in liability.

If you have valuable items like jewelry or electronics, simply let your broker know and they’ll add additional coverage to your policy.

Do I really need tenant insurance?

Tenant insurance isn’t like car insurance. It’s not required by law. But sometimes your landlord will require it.

Even if you’re like me and you don’t think you have anything worth insuring, it’s worth considering tenant insurance.

Get a tenant quote

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