How to Get Renters Insurance in Canada?

Living in a rented property can be great – you have less responsibility for maintenance and repairs, and you don’t have to worry about the landlord suddenly selling up. However, one thing tenants do need to worry about is their possessions. Sadly, your landlord’s insurance will not cover your losses if something happens to your belongings.

So, you’ll need to know how to get renters insurance, where to get it, and how much it costs. Read on for everything you need to know!

How to Get Renters Insurance?

Before I dive into explaining your insurance, let’s answer the common question – what is renters insurance? Well, renters/ tenant insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the belongings in your rented house or apartment in the event of damage or theft. In addition, it also provides you with liability coverage if someone is injured on your property and decides to sue.

How to Get Renters Insurance

Lucky for you, the steps below will help you get the most out of your insurance and protect you thoroughly.

Decide What you Want to Cover

The first thing you’ll need to do is introspective. Namely, you’ll have to decide what you want to be covered in your policy. Are you mostly concerned about your belongings, your liability, or other expenses?

Here’s what the typical renters insurance coverage offers:

  • Personal property coverage: Protects your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen (might include property in your vehicle too).
  • Liability coverage: Protects you if a guest suffers an injury on your property and wants to sue or when you’re responsible for damage to others’ property.
  • Additional living expenses: Protects you if you have to move due to an insured peril (a flood or fire).

For a fee, you can also add some additional features to your policy, such as medical bills, sewer back-ups, valuable personal articles (like a mountain bike), business equipment, glass breakage deductibles, earthquake coverage, home repairs, overland water, identity theft, etc.

You may be interested: What is Life insurance?

Choose Your Insurance Policy and Amount of Coverage

Next, you have some more things to think about. Before contacting the insurance agent, you should have at least a rough outline of what policy and coverage you want. You can do this by:

  • Making a list of all your belongings: This should include everything from jewellery, electronics, furniture, and clothes, to kitchen items.
  • Making a list of your most valuable belongings: Pick the ones in your inventory that you value most.
  • Choosing between actual cash value or replacement: Decide whether you want ACV (get money back with depreciation) or replacement value (purchase the item at its current price).
  • Getting valuables appraised: You should know the price of your belongings to ensure you’re not cheated out of your money.
  • Keeping all your paperwork: Keep all documents from the appraisal and other receipts for legal purposes.
  • Deciding whether you want additional coverage: If the standard package isn’t enough for you, you can add more features.

Pick an Insurance Company

Now let’s talk about where to get renters insurance. The time has finally come for you to pick an insurance company that suits your needs. Since there are many companies offering comprehensive insurance plans, it can get overwhelming to comb through all those options. To ensure you make the right choice, you should:

  • Do your research and get quotes: Don’t be lazy, shop around to find the best deals on the market.
  • Consult friends and family: Ask your loved ones about their experience and knowledge of the best tenant insurance around.
  • Check the prices: Ensure you aren’t going over your budget and you know how much and how often you’re paying.
  • Check the company’s reputation: Read through the customer reviews and ask other people’s opinions on the company. The most popular companies offering renters insurance are TD, RBC, Allstate, Desjardins, Scotialife, and CIBC.
  • Ask questions to avoid hidden fees: Make sure you understand where your money is going and ask whether there will be other fees down the road.

Pick Your Policy of Choice

Since you’ve completed the preceding steps, it’s time to pick the best policy for you. After doing so, it’s time to sit down with your agent, sign some paperwork, and start paying those premiums. The last step is arguably the most crucial one – you have to make sure you keep up with your payments or else your insurance will be null and void and you’ll have to fend for yourself.

Why Do You Need Renters Insurance?

While reading this information, you might be asking yourself – do I really need renters insurance? And I’m here to tell you that it’s not mandatory. However, the only one benefitting from the coverage is – you guessed it, you! Since landlord and renters insurance is not the same, your landlord won’t replace your items in the case of an accident.

How to Get Renters Insurance

Here are some reasons why you should cover your belongings:

It’s Affordable

Luckily, tenant insurance can cost as little as $15 or $20 per month, so you won’t have to break the bank to afford a little peace of mind.

It Covers Losses to Personal Property

If you have damaged or stolen items, your policy will either reimburse you for the cost or will give you a replacement item.

Your Landlord Might Ask For It

Although landlords can’t legally force you to get insurance, some might reject your application if you refuse to get insured. Recently, more and more landlords require their tenants to have some form of renters insurance for the safety and peace of all parties.

It Provides Liability Coverage

Renters insurance with liability coverage accommodates you if someone is injured on your property or you’re responsible for damaging someone else’s property. Namely, your policy will cover the related medical and legal expenses.

It Covers Belongings While Travelling

Finally, if your belongings are damaged or stolen while you’re away on a trip for an extended time, your insurance will reimburse you for the repairs or replacement costs for the items. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about your things when you’re not at home.

How Much is Tenant Insurance in Toronto?

Renters insurance prices can differ depending on the company, the city, the building, etc. Currently, the average amount someone spends on coverage is between $15 and $25 per month, which adds up to around $180 or $300 annually. But you can get coverage for as low as $12 to as high as $50/per month!

Hamilton and Toronto tenants hit home with their insurance prices, with coverage costing an average of $203 or $211 per year, respectively. Here’s what the average annual cost for renters insurance is in other Canadian cities:

 

City Insurance Cost
Burlington $199
Calgary $300
Montreal $330
Ottawa $225
Vancouver $350
Edmonton $300
Halifax $240
Quebec City $330
Winnipeg $240

Which Factors Affect the Price?

Expanding on what I briefly mentioned, insurance prices are not cut and dried. In fact, they depend on a combination of factors. Here’s the gist of it:

  • The coverage: The cost will vary depending on whether you cover big-ticket items or less costly possessions.
  • The location: If you live in a high-crime area, near water, or in a dingy neighbourhood, expect to pay more (generally determined by postal code).
  • The type of building: Older buildings are more expensive to insure than newer buildings or those with recent updates.
  • The credit score: You can save up to 25% if you have a high credit score (the desired score is dependent upon the province).
  • The amount of property covered: A 500 sq. ft. basement will cost significantly less than a 1,000 sq. ft condo.
  • Additional coverage: If you run a high-risk business like a daycare, you may want to pay a higher premium to stay protected.

Discounts

If these prices are not your cup of tea, you’ll be happy to know that there are discounts you can use.

Mainly, if you own a car, you can combine your car insurance with your tenant insurance and take advantage of a lower price, since many companies offer bundle policies. In addition, you can get a discount if you have a monitored alarm system installed, or if you pay annually instead of monthly.

Another way that you can pay less is if you increase your deductible. The standard deductible is $500, but if you double it, the company might decrease your premium. Lastly, make sure you don’t overinsure yourself. Instead, get insurance for the exact value of your possessions and review the contents with an annual audit.

Conclusion

There you have it – everything you need to know about how to get renters insurance! Now that you understand why it’s so important, be sure to get yourself a policy as soon as possible. And if you’re still in doubt, just remember – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

FAQ

What is tenant insurance?

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that tenant insurance “helps you replace your belongings after a loss due to theft, fire, water damage or other insured perils.”

Is tenant insurance mandatory in Ontario?

No, tenant insurance is not mandatory in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada. However, a tenant has the right to require it as a condition.

What is personal liability insurance for renters?

Personal liability protects you, as the renter, if someone is injured in your home, or if you’ve damaged someone else’s property.

Is rental insurance mandatory?

No, renters insurance is not mandatory, but landlords might ask for it.

Does tenant insurance cover damage to the landlord’s property?

No, tenant insurance only covers damage done to your property, not the landlord’s. Landlords have their own insurance that covers the rental unit, but not you and your possessions.

What does tenant insurance cover?

Tenant insurance covers your possessions, your liability, and additional living expenses.

ABOUT AUTHOR

When Biljana first started off her career, she was focused on economics, which was also her area of professional study. However, in time, she started to familiarize herself with the concept of insurance, which instantly struck a chord, allowing her to constantly upgrade her knowledge and eventually become an insurance aficionado. When she's not writing, she loves to go on hikes and explore various natural surroundings.

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