Protection of your assets and the risks of third-party liability should be a primary concern to all renters simply because accidents do happen and we seldom have visibility to them until after the fact. An unwatched pot or overflowing bathtub can cause a great deal of damage to your unit and contents. Tenants insurance covers your contents against losses caused by fire, smoke damage, water damage, vandalism, theft, and many additional perils.
What is the specific protection that tenants’ insurance can provide?
- Contents – Protection for contents in the policyholder’s unit and other personal belongings worn or used by the resident on- and off-premises. If you were able to turn your unit upside down and shake it, whatever falls would generally be considered “contents” whereas whatever doesn’t is part of the building and is not covered. Contents can include but are not limited to furniture, clothes, televisions, bedding, and dishes. Some restrictions may of course apply.
- Personal Liability – If a resident is found to be responsible for causing damage to the building or another person’s property (for example, if a resident accidentally started a fire in their room) or caused bodily injury to another person on the premises, coverage under the policy will respond up to the insured limit to pay legal expenses and compensatory damages subject to the Policy Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions of the policy.
- Additional Living Expenses – If as a consequence of an insured loss the tenant’s unit is unfit for occupancy or a resident has to move out their unit while repairs are being made, coverage under the policy will pay the increased expenses up to the insured limit incurred by the resident to obtain temporary housing subject to the Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions of the policy. If a resident has to move to a hotel for a few days while their unit is being repaired, these additional costs and increased food costs for restaurant meals may be covered under the Policy subject to the Policy Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions of the policy.
- Other Coverages – Additional coverages may be available for earthquake, jewelry, and fine arts. Please check with your insurance broker as required.
Coverages may be subject to a deductible. Please check with your insurance broker for policy specifics.
Some tenant insurance policies offer access to value-added services, direct from the insurer, as an additional benefit of the coverage. Novex Insurance Company, for example, offers Novex Assistance – a program designed to provide tenants with services including:
- An unlimited legal information telephone helpline for advice about the property, landlord/tenant relations, employment, contracts, social benefits, licenses and permits, inheritances, and family law.
- Home care services include housekeeping when a property is damaged; babysitting for sick children or grandchildren; babysitting in case of hospitalization; homemaking on return from hospitalization; and visiting nurse.
Please note that home care services are subject to certain limits and conditions. Please ask for details.
Tenants Insurance Programs
Tenants insurance programs exist for a number of different types of tenants that may offer tailored coverage and pre-negotiated preferred rates for insurance. These preferred rates may offer cost savings over retail market tenants’ insurance offerings.
- Building Tenants Insurance Programs – For the benefit of tenants living in certain buildings.
- Seniors Tenants Insurance Programs – For the benefit of senior tenants living in certain retirement homes. May specifically include coverages for hearing aids, wheelchairs, or scooters.
- University/College Tenants Insurance Programs – For the benefit of their students while living in residence at certain colleges or universities.
In most cases, tenants’ insurance programs may be supplied without cost to the building owner, retirement homeowner, or college/university. Improved property and general liability loss experience may result for the building owners due to the insurer’s ability to subrogate. This may in turn lead to lower commercial insurance rates in the future.
Protecting your contents and yourself against liability risk is a prudent step to take regardless of whether you own your home or not. Tenants insurance is a risk coverage often overlooked by renters that can, in many cases, provide significant risk protection at reasonable rates. Ask your insurance broker about the benefits of tenants’ insurance and learn how little it can cost to cover your belongings and third-party liability risk.