Absolutely! We carry property insurance on the actual building you live in, but this insurance does not cover your personal belongings or your personal liability to others. You must purchase a tenant’s insurance policy, which will cover you for the following:
- Personal Belongings – If your personal belongings are stolen or damaged by fire, for example, the tenant’s insurance policy you have will provide some financial reimbursement. You need to read your insurance policy carefully and understand the terms of the policy, and what sorts of situations are covered. Most policies will reimburse you the cost of replacing the items that have been stolen or damaged. Please be sure that your policy provides adequate coverage for your electronic equipment (i.e., computers, home theatres), jewelry and artwork.
- Additional Living Expenses – If you cannot live in your home while it is being repaired after a fire or flood, your insurance policy may pay for some of your additional living expenses, such as accommodation, restaurant meals and storage of your belongings.
- Personal Liability – Let’s say that someone visits your home, trips on your bathroom mat, and suffers an injury. This person could sue you for damages, and if you don’t hold a tenant’s insurance policy, the financial impact could be devastating to you. A court could order you to pay damages to the injured person, and could order your employer to withhold a portion of your salary/wages to ensure that these damages are paid. This could cause you financial hardship for many years, and could therefore impact your entire future. A tenant’s insurance policy will cover you for this sort of personal liability, and it will also cover you should something in your suite cause accidental damage to someone else's suite or belongings. For example, if you live in an apartment building and your sink overflows, resulting in damage to a neighbour's ceiling, carpet or furniture, your insurance policy will pay for repairs or replacement of what has been damaged.
The bottom line is that tenant’s insurance is something you must have. Purchase a policy and ensure that it takes effect the day you move in. The cost is nominal, so it's really a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t suffer financially for something that happens unexpectedly or accidentally.