Tenant Insurance: what your insurance company might not be telling you.
You have more coverage than you think. Before you sign off, be aware of what your insurance company might not be telling you about your tenant insurance policy.
Insurance is a very important piece of every tenant’s journey, but why is it typically viewed as an unimportant or even an inconvenient expense? There are a lot of benefits that come with tenant insurance which insurers may not be taking the time to explain to you. Instead, most times, they are trusting that you’ll read (and understand) your policy wordings.
Well, we’ve taken the time to highlight a few important pieces of a tenant policy you’ll want to ask your insurance agent about.
Ask your insurance agent about: Types of Tenant Insurance
There are different types of tenant insurance, and the cheapest option may not always be the best option. So which policy type do you choose?
Pay close attention to which perils are or are not included in your coverage. Peril coverage determines whether the insurer will pay out for your loss. So, when you’re deciding between the policies, ask your insurance agent specific questions around areas of concern to ensure you’re properly covered.
Your insurance agent is obligated under their code of ethics to tell you the truth, no tricks.
Tenant insurance is a stepping stone to a better insurance rate in the future – think of it like building credit. The longer you have insurance without claims the better your insurance rating. This insurance history could have a significant impact on your future insurance policies, including a homeowners or condo policy should life lead you toward home ownership.
Ask your insurance agent about a bundling discount. Some insurance providers offer a discount when clients combine their tenant insurance with their auto policy.
Ask your insurance agent about: Off Premises Property Coverage
Your tenant policy is meant to cover your personal belongings within your apartment, but did you know that it also covers belongings that are with you in transit?
This coverage can be important for many reasons, but the top four are:
1. When you’re traveling (in transit)
Example: If your watch gets stolen off your wrist when you visit a tourist destination, you might be covered up to a certain value. If you own expensive jewelry, ask your insurance agent about a Personal Article Floater.
2. When you’re moving from one residence to another
Example: If you’re moving from one apartment to another home, your personal property may be covered while in transit to your new home.
3. When you have personal items in your vehicle
Example: If someone were to break into your car and steal something, those possessions would be covered under a tenant policy, not your auto policy. Be sure to ask your insurance agent about whether your policy will cover theft.
4. When your child has moved away for school temporarily
Example: If your child is moving to another city to attend school, the contents they move with them could still be covered under your tenant policy. In this case, they would not require an additional policy if they’re moving home after school.
There are also quite a few exclusions when it comes to coverage off-premises, so it is important to ask your insurance agent about what is and isn’t covered to ensure you understand any coverage gaps you might have.
Catalogue Your Belongings
When submitting a claim with an insurer, they will ask for a list of all your belongings that need to be replaced – right down to every fork!
It is difficult to establish value for an object after a loss without a detailed description or proof of ownership, so it is important to keep track of your receipts for your personal belongings, especially ones that are expensive investments.
Example: There is a big difference between a generic mixer and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, but if you do not have the receipts to back up your claim for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer you may find yourself receiving the generic mixer at a much lesser value in your settlement.
Ask your insurance agent about whether the insurer provides a secure database where you can upload your receipts and product pictures to help in the event of a claim. At the very least, take a picture of each room in your home after you’ve settled in – this will help you remember your possessions after a loss.
It is important to share with your insurance agent any expensive hobbies or items you cherish so that they can help recommend the best coverage for you. Be sure to ask your insurance agent about:
Personal Article Floaters (PAF): PAFs are important if you have valuable items that cannot be replaced within policy limits.
Extensions: Some providers offer extensions of coverage, such as a Golf Package. Coverage like this may allow you to insure your golf clubs, accessories like a range finder, and some even cover your hole-in-one celebrations!
Ask your insurance agent about: Additional Living Expenses
When living in an apartment building, although rare, events can occur which result in the displacement of residents. Additional Living Expense could cover you for expenses, over and above your regular expenses, if you find yourself being temporarily relocated due to a covered peril.
Types of expenses that may be covered:
- The cost to place a family pet in a kennel,
- Taxi fares to take your children to/from school if they’re no longer in walking distance, and
- The cost to move your belongings to the new temporary location.
Most often, the property owner will help tenants navigate these difficult situations, but your tenant policy can provide a safety net for you during a stressful time. Be sure to ask your insurance agent about any coverages they may have to help in this type of situation.
Ask your insurance agent about: Personal Liability
One of these most important aspects of your tenant policy is your coverage for personal liability. Liability claims can be very expensive, so it is important to have proper coverage.
Examples of the types of losses that could attribute to your liability:
- Injury caused to someone from your pet (ex. dog bite)
- Injury caused by a trip and fall within your apartment
- Property damage to someone else’s property caused by your child (ex. broken window)
- Libel suits against something you said or wrote
Ask your insurance agent!
Insurance is defined as sharing the risk of a few amongst many. Many may see this as unfair, but what happens when you fall into the few? Most people don’t realize how important insurance is until they need it, and most often at that point, “the few” are underinsured and left paying out of their own pocket.
Every insurer is different in each different province, but with knowledge comes good questions, and with good questions comes coverage that will meet your insurance needs. Ask your insurance agent questions about your tenant policy to ensure you fully understand what is (and isn’t) covered.
To learn more about tenant insurance please visit our Frequently Asked Questions about Tenant Insurance.
CAPREIT has a vested interest in providing safe, clean and viable places for Canadians to live. Whether through ESG initiatives, capital expenditure or other projects, we invest in the maintenance of our communities and the benefit are passed on to our residents.
Happy #WorldHealthDay! This year’s theme is ‘Our Planet, Our Health’ which focuses on the importance of keeping humans and the planet healthy, in order to create livable communities, where clean air, water and food are available for all.
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