If you pay rent, whether you live in a condo, apartment building or basement apartment, you can protect yourself and your belongings with apartment insurance. Also called tenant insurance or renters insurance, apartment insurance can be very affordable and landlords often require that their tenants have insurance before they will sign a lease with them.
Do I Really Need Apartment Insurance?
As a renter or tenant, you are responsible for any damage you cause to the building you live in, even if it was accidental. If you unintentionally cause harm to other tenants or visitors to the building, you can be held responsible to pay damages to them awarded in a lawsuit. Consider these scenarios:
- Someone slips and falls in your unit; you might have to pay for the costs of their injuries.
- A faulty appliance like a microwave or toaster causes a fire and damages your apartment and others next to it; again you could be held financially responsible and have to pay for all of the resulting damage.
What Does Apartment Insurance Cover?
Standard apartment insurance provides protection in three main ways:
- Liability Protection: Liability coverage is generally for up to $1 million and pays for damages awarded to someone who sues you and wins, and also pays for your legal fees.
- Contents Insurance: Replacing all of your belongings, such as clothing, electronics and furniture, can really add up quickly. Keeping a current home inventory list will really help you if you or another tenant in your building causes a fire, water damage or some other problem. Be aware that some expensive items, such as jewelry, computers, costly sports or music equipment, may not be covered at all and will need specific coverage.
- Living Expenses: This covers temporary costs such as moving, lodging, and meals when you cannot live in your apartment due to a covered loss. It is based on certain circumstances and has an upper limit.
How Much Does Apartment Insurance Cost?
For as little as $15 per month, and maybe even lower depending on where you live in Ontario, you can be protected with tenant insurance. Some of the factors that will influence your rate are:
- Where you live,
- How much coverage you want,
- The deductible you choose,
- Replacement cost option vs. actual cash value,
- What type of building you live in, and
- Your claims history.
If you have a car insurance policy, you may be eligible for a 10-15% discount on your auto insurance when you have apartment insurance as well.
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