Genevieve Aubin wishes more Canadians understood that tenant insurance covers "way more" than just your belongings.
For many renters, tenant insurance is something you get to financially protect yourself against the loss of belongings, Aubin said, whether that entails your furniture, clothing, or other possessions such as electronics or jewelry in the event of the unexpected, such as theft or a fire.
But the truth is tenant insurance could also cover anything from a hotel stay if you can't stay in your apartment due to an insured loss, to covering liabilities in the event someone gets hurt in your home.
"In my mind, every renter needs coverage like the coverage that can be provided with tenant insurance, including urban renters who may live in smaller condo spaces and don't believe they own enough to justify having insurance" said Aubin, who is Senior Manager, Residential Products and Insurance Contracts at TD.
"Many renters don't know that tenant insurance would also cover a hotel stay if there is a covered loss and they are unable to stay in their home as a result, It helps ensure you aren’t paying out of pocket."
And yet, according to a recent TD Insurance Tenant Insurance Survey of 491 Canadian renters conducted using Leger's online panel between August 24-26, 2021, nearly half (49%) of Canadian renters between the ages of 18-34 don't have their own tenant insurance.
What does tenant insurance cover?
Tenant insurance – sometimes also referred to as renter's insurance – is insurance that could cover your belongings against common risks such as theft, fire, and other losses. Coverage applies to your belongings that are both in your home and temporarily away, such as items you take with you when you go on vacation. If your home becomes unlivable due to a covered loss, tenant insurance will cover any necessary and reasonable additional living expenses, up to a specified limit, until you can move back in or find another place to live.
Aubin said tenant insurance typically also includes coverage for civil liability, which may provide financial protection should you be sued for accidently injuring someone or damaging someone else's property. Liability protection is often your best line of defense if you’re named in a lawsuit or considered personally responsible for unintentional bodily injury or property damage.
Is it worth getting tenant insurance?
Although it's not mandatory to have tenant insurance if you're a renter, it could help you cover expenses that come up accidentally or unexpectedly from a covered loss. You may not realize how costly it may be to repair or replace your damaged items and how relatively inexpensive it could be to have tenant insurance. TD Insurance offers All Risk coverage for renters, meaning your belongings are covered against all causes of loss, except those specifically excluded in your policy.
Aubin says water damage claims tend to be more prevalent in the high-rise-type buildings that commonly dot the landscape of bigger cities like Vancouver or Toronto, and that the density of an area is another factor many renters don't take into account when assessing their risks.
"What if you live in a big downtown condo and your place is damaged because of water leaking in from a neighbouring unit, or one from a couple of floors above you?" said Aubin.
"There are so many reasons why renters should protect themselves. Especially in dense urban areas, you could potentially be more prone to theft or more impacted by the actions of others. You can't control other people's behavior.
Other advice to consider when getting tenant insurance
When starting the coverage process, Aubin advises that renters first make an inventory of their belongings such as furniture, art, jewelry, electronics, and clothing in addition to any special items to assess the rough value of them. This information will help ensure that they have an adequate amount of coverage for their belongings.
Interested renters can visit the TD Insurance site to get a quote in just minutes, with customized coverage to suit their needs. Once the quote is completed, you can always come back at a later date to complete the purchase.
When applying for tenant insurance, you'll have to answer a few basic questions to help determine your premium and identify the coverages that best suit your needs. Commonly asked questions include the address of the property, whether there are any alarms, and some additional questions to determine the presence of any risks that may require additional coverage, such as a home-based business or items of exceptional value.
Aubin said that once coverage starts, it's good practice to revisit your policy annually and adjust it accordingly or as family circumstances change. For example, you might want to think about upgrading to the Enhanced Home Coverage offered by TD Insurance, which includes additional coverage for a parent living in a nursing home or a child who is studying away at University. Renters can also often save by bundling insurance products together (for example by getting your renter's insurance and auto insurance from the same provider).
"TD Insurance offers a wide variety of coverage enhancements and add-ons designed to fit your unique and ever-changing needs. You can review and modify your coverage conveniently online at any time or chat with one of our licensed Advisors to discuss the particulars of your policy," Aubin said.
"No matter what you have, you never want to start from scratch. Tenant insurance is an easy and affordable way to financially protect yourself against the unexpected."