Tenants Insurance – Worth it?

A couple weeks ago I got my renewal letter from Wawanesa for our tenant’s insurance. It is awfully expensive: $516.00/year. I have the letter right here so I’ll summarize what that covers:

  • Rating information: tenants package broad form, commercial occupancy, metro A, frame, more than six apartments, within 300m of hydrant, within 13km of firehall, deductible $500 Section I, 0.5% inflation protection, replacement cost of contents section I Coverage C
  • Property coverages:
    • Property coverages: Personal Property $30,900 and additional living expense $6,180
  • Liability
    • Legal liability: $1 million each occurrence
    • Voluntary medical payments: $5,000 each person
  • Additional
    • Sewer backup/water damage
    • Replacement cost on contents

The $30,900 personal property is the minimum. I am pretty sure our personal belongings are worth less than that. We didn’t bother to insure extra items like jewellery because my parents said they have never had their jewellery insured because as they said, “they don’t have much jewellery, and they are always wearing their wedding/engagment rings.” If my wife starts taking her ring off for work or something, then maybe we will list it.

I bought tenant’s insurance in Waterloo, Ontario before and it was only about $150/year or so. But this is Vancouver, in an urban area and the other thing that I think made ours more expensive was the fact that it is in a “commercial occupancy” dwelling. Essentially, we have businesses below us, including a coffee shop and a Bikram yoga place (Bikram yoga has something to do with sitting in a sauna and sweating, so I guess the fire risk in a sauna would be high). My family was robbed while we were sleeping when I was younger. Our computer was stolen as well as a few other electronic items. We got covered for everything which was nice, not only that but we got replacement value for them so we were able to buy a brand new computer that was much better than the old one. Robbery is one of the main things I am worried about. Our building does not feel overly safe compared to some of the places I have seen in Yaletown or anywhere else for that matter. I guess fire would have to be the other. $500/year does seem like a lot, especially compared to what I used to pay in Ontario, but it is nice to have the peace of mind that if one day something very bad should happen that financially we will be ok.

3 thoughts on “Tenants Insurance – Worth it?”

  1. You are right — the commercial occupancy is the cause. I experienced a similar expense when I downsized from a house to a similar apartment — my insurance costs went up, even though I no longer owned a building. I learned from an accountant friend that the premium you pay is due to the claim that will be made against you by the building owner and other tenants, should you cause an “insurable incident.” In other words you are paying a large amount because there are other claimants against your behaviour, other than yourself.

    Hint: keep lit candles away from any combustable materials, or you could be paying for the whole building to be repaired — it happened six blocks from here; the senior who caused it all did not have enough insurance ($2 million) to cover the repair!


  2. I am a bit worried about one of my computers catching fire one day. It runs really hot, especially in summer.

    Oh well, I guess it is the commercial occupancy then… Well I can live with that, it’s a nice location and the rent is cheap so I can live with the expensive insurance.

  3. If you rent a home or apartment, your landlord probably carries insurance on the property. But guess what? That coverage won’t cover your possessions should something happen. That’s why U should have tenant insurance. Tenant insurance also insures your personal property while it is temporarily away from your apartment (i.e. while you’re traveling). Note that most insurance policies have “special limits” for things like cash, jewelry, watercraft and bicycles. As well, possessions left in, on or attached to a motor vehicle are usually only insured up to $1500. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consider insuring items such as bicycles or computers with additional coverage.

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