As a tenant you are liable – yes legally responsible – for any damage you cause to any part of the building and to others who live or visit there. If your toaster starts a fire, you may have to pay out money to repair not only your apartment – but the entire building.
WHY You Need It
The owner of the Rental property, whether it be an apartment block or a single family dwelling, has insurance on the building. However, your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal belongings. Even if you don’t own a lot of expensive things, it can add up to a lot of money to replace all your belongings.
Contents that would be insured include:
Kitchen Utensils including tea towels, etc.
Bedding sheets, comforters, towels, etc.
A Tenant Insurance package provides coverage for your personal property (or, all contents of the home/apartment you own). In addition, coverage includes additional living expenses. In the event that your home/apartment becomes uninhabitable due to a claim, this would cover the cost of the additional costs of temporary lodgings, costs of eating at a restaurant and laundry costs, just to name a few.
Tenant Insurance Packages provide coverage on a replacement cost basis. If your home/apartment has a fire, the insurance company will pay to repair or replace your contents with new ones of similar kind and quality. If your TV was stolen, the insurance company would pay the cost of a new TV.
If your home/apartment is heated by Wood with a woodstove, outdoor wood fired boiler/heat, or any wood burning devices – see Wood Heat Section. Special Rates Apply.
This coverage is included with all Tenant Insurance Packages, it provides coverage for:
Bodily Injury – covering injuries that happen to other people while in your suite (for which you may be held legally liable).
Damage to Property Owned by Others – if you accidentally cause property damage to others. (i.e. your shopping cart hits a vehicle in the parking lot)
In addition to offering coverage for things that happen here at home, it will also extend to cover your personal liability anywhere in the world.
How Much Coverage do you need?
What would be the cost to replace all the contents of your suite? You need to think from the perspective of the worst case scenario where everything is destroyed. You need to think about how much it would cost if you had to replace everything with a BRAND NEW item.
There is no requirement that you make a list of your possession in order to get insurance, however if disaster strikes, you will know what you are missing and it will help you significantly in knowing what you had. Creating a Personal Property Inventory is one of the ways in making a list and to ensure that you have the correct amount of coverage. See our: Reider Inventory Form.
If you don’t want to do the work of an inventory, another way is to take photos of everything you own or of each room (one wall at a time). This will not help you in determining how much coverage you need, but it will help you in remembering what was destroyed if there is a claim.
It’s important to remember to keep your inventory and/or photos stored off-site – so that they don’t get destroyed if there is a claim.
What’s Covered – Tenant Insurance Packages
Tenants Package Standard Form – Specified Perils
This type of coverage will list (or specify) the types of perils that are covered. In the event of a loss only those perils which have been specified in the policy would be covered. The following is a list of the most common perils covered under a specified perils coverage:
fire or lightning
explosion or implosion
impact by aircraft or land vehicles
vandalism or malicious acts
water escape from a pipe, rupture or freezing
windstorm or hail
theft, including damage caused by attempted theft
Tenants Package Comprehensive Form – All Risks
This type of policy does not list the type of perils that are covered. Instead this policy agrees to cover all losses (all risks of direct physical loss) except as specifically excluded (lists losses that are not covered). In the event of a claim, the loss would be covered as long as it is not excluded from the policy. This type of policy will cover all of the losses of a specified perils policy but goes much further. Due to the structure of the policy it will cover many circumstances which were never even contemplated. Such as accidental breakage, mysterious disappearance and loss.
As a comprehensive policy covers everything but only lists what you are not covered for. The following are some of the most common exclusions:
wear and tear, mechanical breakdown, rust or corrosion
war, invasion, revolution
scratching, abrasion or chipping or accidental breakage of fragile or brittle articles
Water Escape, Rupture and Freezing will not be covered if you are away for more than 4 days during the normal heating season; unless you arrange for a competent individual to check your home daily. (Some insurance companies will allow you to have an alarm system monitoring temperature and some will allow more days or do not have this exclusion).
What are the options?
There are many different optional coverages that can be purchased in addition to your Tenants Policy.
Sewer Backup coverage can be added to most Tenant insurance policies. In order to qualify for coverage, there is a sewer backup questionnaire that needs to be completed and approved by the insurance company. This coverage will insure the water damage to your personal property (contents), caused by escape of water from backup of your sewer, septic system, sump or drain.
When purchasing sewer backup coverage, it’s important to be aware that there is a sub-limit of coverage, which is the maximum amount of coverage in the event of a sewer backup claim. Most insurance companies will provide coverage in $5,000 increments. The client then has the option to purchase for example $5,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, or $25,000. There are some insurance companies that also offer the option of sewer backup coverage, where there is no sub-limit and if available, this is the best coverage that you can purchase.
It is difficult to decide how much sewer backup coverage is the correct amount, however we recommend that clients think about how much damage could be caused to their contents in the basement.
If there is a basement in your home/apartment/suite or if your entire suite is in the basement, consider the cost of replacing everything. Sewer backups can and do occur regardless of how high up you could be in an apartment building, but it is more likely to happen in the basement.
We recommend clients purchase sewer backup coverage based on their actual individual needs. In the event that your limit is not sufficient, you will end up having to pay out of pocket for any amounts that go over the sub-limit you chose.
Some big mistakes people make when selecting their sewer backup limit, is they either base their limit on price or that they choose a smaller sub-limit then they need, based on the odds of them actually having a sewer backup claim. It really doesn’t matter if the odds of getting a sewer backup, because for all you know it could turn out that this is the year that it happens. In Manitoba we also have a much higher risk of sewer backup. Many people think that a sewer backup claim would only happen “once every 50 years”, but this is incorrect. Every year, we have a large number of clients who have a sewer backup claim.
There have been changes in the coverage that sewer backup policies provide and there is generally no coverage for sewer backup that occurs where there is ANY evidence that it was caused by flooding or overland water or ground water. In the past insurance companies would still pay out a sewer backup claim even if it was caused by flooding/overland/ground water, however this coverage is now only available if you purchase Overland Water Coverage.
Most insurance companies offer Overland Water coverage as an optional coverage, however it can only be added to the tenant insurance policy if the client also purchases Sewer Backup Coverage. This coverage insures the water damage to personal property (contents) located in your home/apartment/suite caused by overflow of any body of fresh water (such as lakes and rivers) and run off or surface water (such as rain).
When purchasing Overland Water Coverage, it’s important to be aware that there is also a sub-limit of coverage. The amount of the sub-limit differs between insurance companies. Some companies would provide the same limit as provided by the Sewer Backup Coverage. Some companies allow you to select choices of different limits and some insurance companies do not have a sub-limit at all, this is the best coverage that you can purchase.
It is difficult to decide how much Overland Water coverage is the correct amount, however we recommend that clients think about how much damage could be cause. With sewer backup coverage, the maximum exposure is usually based on the maximum amount of damage that would occur to the basement. With Overland Water coverage, there is the risk of the entire building going under water or at least the first floor having water damage.
In the last 60 years, Manitoba has had 4 major floods (1950, 1997, 1999, 2011), which have caused substantial damage. These floods would all now be considered an Overland Water claim. If you watch the news, it may come as no surprise that weather experts have said that flooding and major weather events are happening more often and the predictions for the future is that this will see this trend continue.
There is generally no coverage for Overland Water that occurs where there is ANY evidence that it was caused by ground water.
For more information on flooding, check out the Manitoba Government Flood Information Website: www.gov.mb.ca/flooding/
Most insurance companies offer Ground Water Coverage as an optional coverage, however it can only be added to the tenant insurance policy if the client also purchases Sewer Backup Coverage and Overland Water Coverage. This coverage will insure the water damage to your personal property (contents) of your home/apartment/suite caused by water entering through a basement walls or foundations or basement floors.
Ground water coverage is not available from all insurance companies. Some provide a separate sub-limit of coverage and the option of adding the coverage, while others bundle the coverage together with the Overland Water coverage. Some insurance companies do not have a sub-limit. This is the best coverage that you can purchase.
For more information see our guide on how to prevent Sewer Backup, Ground Water and Flooding.
There are many items which are covered by the tenant insurance policy, but that have sub-limits that apply to coverage. These sub-limits are the maximum amount of coverage that the insurance company will pay in the event of a loss with respect to these items. Each insurance company and type of policy will have different limits, so it’s important to ask about the special limits and make sure that they meet your needs. We recommend thinking about a worst case scenario – such as a total loss fire, how much coverage would you need to replace all of your items that fall into the following categories.
Some insurance companies offer a Special Limits Enhancement Endorsement where the sub-limits are bumped up to a higher limit. This could fit your needs. All insurance companies offer the option to get more coverage by scheduling (listing the item(s) on the policy (Personal Articles Floater or Rider). Some items (such as jewellery), will require an appraisal to establish value. An additional premium will be charged based on the value of the each scheduled item.
- Business Property (pertaining to a business, profession, trade or occupation)
- Books, Tools and Instruments
- Computer Hardware pertaining to a Business trade or occupation (including farming)
- Computer Software
- Money or Bullion (including gift cards, cash cards and gift certificates)
- Watercraft (including furnishings, equipment and trailers that are not licensed (Coverage is only provided on a Specified Perils basis even if the policy would normally provide All Risk) – if you have a boat see Boat Insurance Section
- Animals, birds and fish
- Spare Automobile Parts
- Motorized lawn mowers and other modernized gardening equipment or snow blowers (including attachments and accessories)
- Trading and collectible cards (including sports cards), comic books, sports memorabilia
- No Sub Limits if caused by Specified Perils, otherwise:
- Jewellery, watches, gems
- Fur garments and garments trimmed with fur
- Numismatic property (such as coin collections)
- Bicycle, tricycle, unicycle (including equipment and accessories)
All policies contain a deductible clause – this is the portion of the loss that you are responsible for. If you have a break in and the claim comes to $2,000 – you would be responsible for the deductible (in Winnipeg the standard deductible is $500) and the insurance company would pay the remainder. One purpose of the deductible is to prevent smaller claims, therefore a reduction in premium is available for higher deductibles.
One strategy for reducing your home insurance cost is to go with a higher deductible. You can get a discount for taking a higher deductible and insurance companies offer options such as $750, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000. The decision to go with a higher deductible will save you money if you do not have any claims, however every client should chose a deductible that they feel is appropriate to what they would be willing to pay. If they have a claim, compare this to the cost savings provided. The most popular deductible increase options are the $1,000 or $2,500 deductible.
There are different payment options available such as:
- Full Payment
- 3 Pay Plan
- Monthly Automated from bank account or credit card
- Debit Card
- Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
- Online Banking
COTTAGE, BOAT, RENTED DWELLING OR HOME BASED BUSINESS
Cottage or Seasonal Residence or Seasonal Trailer
Home Based Business
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Tenants Packages provide coverage for your belongings as well as liability in case of your negligence…. and are very inexpensive. A basic tenants package usually comes in at around $20 per month, however can be less expensive if you qualify for discounts.
* Please note all types of policies have exclusions, conditions and limitations. This information is not intended to be a full explanation of coverages and in all cases the wording of the actual insurance policy will apply.