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5.4 Tenant Insurance

Some landlords in BC require their tenants to purchase tenant insurance. Regardless of whether or not this is a requirement of your agreement, tenant insurance is something that all tenants should strongly consider.

Your landlord will have insurance to cover the building – but this insurance does not cover the contents of what is inside the building. Plus, even with the landlord’s insurance, you may be responsible for damage you cause to the property.

Tenant insurance covers everything you brought with you to the place.  It might seem like you don’t own much. But when you add up the value of your clothes, furniture, electronics, etc., it can be thousands of dollars. If there is a disaster, such as a fire or flood, your landlord will probably not be required to pay for any damage to your belongings.

An even bigger risk than your own personal property is damage you or your guests may cause to the building. Imagine, for example, that you forget to turn off your stove and start a serious fire, or that you leave the water running and it causes damage to the units below. If your landlord has evidence that you caused the damage, you might have to pay for the repairs to the entire building, not just your unit.

Many insurance companies and banks offer tenant insurance. Not all provide the same coverage, so do your research and pick the policy that is best for you. Some policies only cover certain types of disasters – for example, fire but not earthquakes. Some will pay for you to stay somewhere else if it is unsafe to stay in your unit.  Some will pay to replace your belongings with new items, not just the current value.

You may decide that you can’t afford the additional monthly cost of tenant insurance, but be aware that you are taking a risk that could result in serious financial consequences.

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