Tenant Insurance in BC: Everything You Should Know, According to an Expert
Your landlord’s insurance policy protects their property, but you’ll need your own policy to protect your belongings.
While your landlord is responsible for insurance on the property itself, it’s up to you—or rather, your tenant insurance policy—to cover your belongings.
This type of policy, also known as renters’ insurance, provides coverage for your contents, liabilities, and even living expenses in the event of a loss.
Plus, it’s relatively affordable. Depending on the value of your belongings, a typical tenants insurance policy can cost as little as $25 per month.
At Birds Nest Properties, we require every tenant (and property owner) to secure a policy to protect against floods, fires, or, other emergency scenarios. To clarify what’s covered and why it’s a worthwhile purchase, we caught up with expert insurance agent Gigi Wong from Rand & Fowler to learn more.
Why should you buy renters insurance and what does it cover?
Renters insurance protects the renter’s personal property, additional living expenses, and liability, in the event of an insurable loss. For example, if a flood occurs and your personal property is destroyed, insurance will help you replace your belongings. Your additional living expenses coverage will cover the costs for you to temporarily relocate. And say—in a truly unfortunate scenario—you caused the flood, your liability coverage would support any needed repairs to the affected common areas and/or neighbours’ homes.
How do you know how much your contents are worth?
I usually advise clients to put together a list of their personal belongings—everything they’re bringing into their home like furniture, kitchen items, clothing, shoes, handbags, and jewelry. Give that list a total value and that’s your contents limit on your coverage.
How much liability coverage should you get?
We typically quote $2 million to cover accidents or scenarios the insured may be liable for—and the cost difference between $1 million and $2 million is relatively minor.
Are there any additional coverages you should consider?
Earthquake coverage is something that a Greater Vancouver agent will typically recommend and include, where possible. An agent will also determine if you need to add a “schedule” to insure a more expensive jewelry or art piece, when the value is worth more than the policy limit.
How much does tenants insurance cost in BC?
The premium for a tenants insurance policy is based on the value of the contents, location of the home, tenant’s age, and tenant’s insurance history. With $30,000 in contents, the average premium typically ranges between $300 and $400, or about $25 to $35 dollars a month.
Worst case scenario—someone doesn’t purchase tenants insurance—what does that look like?
Well…my brother-in-law’s neighbour’s toilet overflowed…and the “flow” circulated throughout the apartment. All of the flooring had to be replaced, along with furniture. My brother-in-law did not have tenant insurance, so he had to pay for everything, including a hotel stay and repairs. Does he have tenants insurance now? Yes.
Why should an insurance claim be reserved for emergency-only scenarios?
We get many inquiries about insurance claims for relatively small amounts. For example, say your claim is $1,300 and your deductible is $1,000—the total gain is only $300, but you’ll lose your claims-free discount for the next three to five years. It’s also important to note that insurance carriers are regularly denying renewals to those with two or more claims, regardless of the amount claimed.
Last question, what do you need to bring/share with your insurance agent when you purchase your policy?
Have a look this checklist before you pop in, or make a call to your insurance agent. It’ll make things move along quicker and you’ll be set up with a policy in no time!
- ID showing your name and date of birth
- Rental details, including address, year built, number of storeys, and construction type (wood frame/concrete)
- Details of previous insurance history, including company and years insured
- Value of contents—everything that would fall on the ground if you flipped your apartment on its head, aside from the appliances
- A list of any special items (e.g. jewelry, fine art) that may fall outside the typical policy limits due to rarity or high value