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What is tenant insurance?

You may be wondering, what is tenant insurance anyway? What is it for? It’s a form of property insurance, also referred to as renters insurance or apartment insurance. While it’s not mandatory, many landlords will not rent to a tenant unless they have coverage.

One of the most important reasons for getting tenant insurance is that a landlord’s home insurance policy will not extend coverage to the tenant.

This means that if there’s an incident and a tenant’s belongings are damaged, the landlord’s policy will only cover damage to the unit but not to its contents. For example, if a fire, theft, or other hazard occurs in the rental unit, the renter will have to pay out-of-pocket for the damages.

However, when the tenant has insurance coverage their belongings will be protected financially in the event of a covered peril.

Tenant insurance policies also provide personal liability protection. If the tenant accidentally causes damage to an adjacent resident’s property, or a visitor is injured and decides to sue, a tenant with coverage will be protected.

In addition, renters insurance provides coverage for any upgrades in the rental unit. For example, if a tenant built extra shelving into the closets or added high-end light fixtures, those items are protected by a renters insurance policy.

Another bonus? If a hazard renders a rental unfit to live in, renters insurance also covers the cost of temporary accommodation while the unit is being repaired. (This coverage is referred to as additional living expenses).

To get the best rate, we encourage you to shop around, comparing quotes from a range of insurance providers. The form above takes less than three minutes to fill out and will help you secure the best coverage at the lowest rate.

Tenant insurance coverage types and endorsements.

Below is an overview of the protection most tenant insurance policies offer.

They’re very similar to comprehensive home insurance policies:

While each insurance provider offers different options, they’re usually the same as those that can be added to a home insurance policy.

Some of the most common endorsements include:

How to choose your best tenant insurance?

Tenant insurance types

Most insurance providers package tenant insurance plans as either All perils or Named perils.

All perils policies cost more, but they offer a much broader range of coverage and give the tenant the confidence that they’ll be protected if something unexpected happens.

Coverage amount

The amount of tenant insurance coverage a tenant purchases should be informed by the total value of the belongings they keep in their rental unit.

Savvy renters will take a room-by-room inventory of their belongings and estimate the cost of replacing each item at least once a year. Doing so makes it easier to ensure that the tenant’s policy is up to date when it comes up for renewal each year.

Actual cash value vs replacement cost

A tenant will also have to decide between getting an Actual Cash Value plan or a replacement cost plan.

An actual cash value (ACV) plan reimburses the tenant for the value of the items claimed at the time they were damaged. But ACV plans account for depreciation, so the money the tenant gets from a claim might not be enough to replace the items.

If your tenant’s TV is stolen, the depreciated value of the TV will be covered, which is probably less than what the tenant paid for it and less than it'll cost to replace.

Replacement cost plans pay the tenant the full replacement value of the lost or damaged belongings. If someone steals an old TV from the insured unit, the insurance provider will pay to replace it with a new one of similar make and quality.

That's what's great about a replacement cost plan: The tenant will be able to replace all their belongings if they’re stolen or damaged.

Outline of a house. Illustration.

See how much you could be saving on renters insurance.

Type of homeLocationPrevious claimsLowest rateAverage rateSaved
Quote from December 03, 2022
Type of home
High Rise
Location
York, ON
Previous claims
None
Lowest Rate
$15/mth
$176/yr
Average rate
$31/mth
$374/yr
Saved
$17/mth
53.00%
Quote from December 03, 2022
Type of home
High Rise
Location
Toronto, ON
Previous claims
None
Lowest Rate
$19/mth
$229/yr
Average rate
$31/mth
$371/yr
Saved
$12/mth
38.00%

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How much does average tenant insurance cost?

Tenants should expect to pay at least $20/month.

Tenant insurance is a customized product, making it a challenge to suggest a more specific average cost.

Premiums vary depending on several factors, including the value of the tenant’s belongings, where the rental unit is located and how much coverage is included in the policy. The policyholder’s claims history is also an important factor.

When more coverage is added to the policy, it will be more expensive. If the tenant’s goal is to find a cheap tenant insurance policy in Canada, we encourage them to focus instead on finding the right tenant insurance policy.

The cost of adequate protection is likely to be less than the cost of paying out of pocket in the event of a claim. If an accident happens and the tenant is without protection, there’s no financial recourse.

In fact, the tenant could be on the hook for legal and medical costs if someone is injured within the rental unit and they successfully bring a lawsuit against the tenant.

Why you’ll love using LowestRates.ca to find cheap home insurance quotes.

By entering a few details about your home, you can compare the quotes from the best home insurance providers in your area. That’s all it takes to save hundreds of dollars per year on your home insurance policy — just like that.

Factors that determine your tenant insurance rate

Many factors go into determining the cost of a tenant insurance policy in Canada. Some of the most significant ones include:

How to get the cheapest tenant insurance

How to get the cheapest tenant insurance

Frequently asked questions about tenant insurance in Canada

Where can I get tenant insurance?

Other than insurance companies, tenants can purchase a tenant insurance policy from several different providers. These might include a bank affiliate, credit union, and most other places where you can purchase a homeowners insurance policy.

How do I compare tenant insurance quotes?

Start by filling out the form at the top of this page. Applicants will be asked to provide a few details about themselves and the rental unit they’re insuring. In less than three minutes, we'll find the cheapest renters insurance rates available.

After selecting a quote, an insurance broker will call the tenant to lock in the best rate and help set up the new policy. That's it.

Renters insurance also provides coverage for any upgrades you paid for in your rental unit. For example, if you built extra shelving into your closets or added high-end light fixtures, those items would be protected by your renters insurance policy.

Shopping for renters insurance has never been faster or easier.

Is there a credit check when I apply for tenant insurance?

A credit check is optional but will help a tenant get the lowest rate on renters insurance.

Insurance providers use credit checks to help determine how much to charge. A good credit score can lower the price of coverage.

One great advantage of our service is that we only do one credit check per application, so your credit score won't be impacted. Some Canadians who shop around on their own, going from provider to provider, often must submit to multiple credit checks which can temporarily lower a credit score.

Is getting renters insurance worth it?

The cost of insurance can be expensive, but — trust us — tenant insurance is worth it. Without renters insurance, the contents of a unit are the tenant’s responsibility to repair or replace.

In addition, if any damage is sustained to the unit and the tenant is found to be at fault, they may be held personally liable.

Tenant insurance covers liability for damage sustained to property anywhere in North America. So, if a fallen candle happens to set a tenant’s hotel room aflame in the middle of a romantic evening while they’re on vacation with their partner, their tenant insurance policy very well may cover all or part of this damage. That makes rental home insurance coverage more than worth it in our books.

How can I file a tenant insurance claim?

As soon as a tenant needs to make a claim, we recommend they immediately contact their insurance provider. They’ll guide you through the claims process. Depending on the tenant insurance coverage, it’s likely that the tenant will need to outline the damage as well as what needs to be replaced or repaired.

We encourage tenants to take photos of their belongings so that they have a record of everything in their rental. This will help account for belongings if they're damaged or stolen and the tenant needs to file a claim. Bonus: visual evidence helps expedite the claims process.

We also recommend that tenants keep receipts for higher value items, like televisions and furniture. Credit card statements will also work. It’s a good idea to make sure a tenant can access their credit card history online and that they remember to store any paper receipts in a secure place.

Lisa Coxon

LowestRates.ca Staff

About the Author

The LowestRates.ca writing team focuses on telling original stories and bringing you the latest news in the world of personal finance.

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