Tenant Insurance

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.

Home Insurance

Claims

Condominium

WHY You Need It

The owner of the Rental property 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.

Some of the contents that would be insured are:

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Furniture

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Electronics

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Clothes

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CD’s

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Books

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Toys

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Sporting Equipment

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Kitchen Utensils

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Furs

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Jewellery

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Artwork

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Collector’s Items

Description

Tenant Insurance packages provide coverage for your personal property (contents of the home/apartment).  In addition, coverage for 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.

Tenant Insurance Packages provide coverage on a replacement cost basis, so 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 for example your TV is stolen, the insurance company will pay the cost of a new TV.

If you home/apartment is heated by Wood or has a Woodstove, outdoor wood fired  boiler/heat, or any wood burning devices – see Wood Heat Section.

Liability Insurance

This coverage is included with all Tenant Insurance Packages and it will provide coverage for:

Bodily Injury – covers injuries that happen to other people while in your suite (for which you may be held liable).

Damage to Property Owned by Others – covers for your personal liability, if you accidentally cause property damage (ie. To an adjoining unit)

In addition to offering coverage for things that happen in your suite, 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 and you need to think about how much it would cost if you had to purchase 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 the best way to make 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, the second best way is to take pictures 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 determining 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 claims that are covered (perils insured against).  In the event of a loss only those perils which have been specified on the policy will be covered.  The following is a list of the most common perils covered under a specified perils coverage:

 

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fire or lightning

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explosion or implosion

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smoke

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falling objects

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impact by aircraft or land vehicles

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riot

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vandalism or malicious acts

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water escape from a pipe, rupture or freezing

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windstorm or hail

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glass breakage

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theft, including damage caused by attempted theft

Tenants Package Comprehensive Form – All Risks

This type of policy does not list the type of claims 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.  Some examples of common exclusions under this type of policy are as follows:

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sewer backup

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flood

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earthquake

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wear and tear, mechanical breakdown, rust or corrosion

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faulty workmanship

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war, invasion, revolution

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scratching, abrasion or chipping or accidental breakage of fragile or brittle articles

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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

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, so the client can optionally 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 and think about the absolute worst case scenario.

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 a basement.

We recommend clients purchase sewer backup coverage based on their actual individual needs and based on the worst-case scenario exposure.  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 your sub-limit.

One of the big mistakes people make when selecting their sewer backup limit, is 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 will 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 have still paid 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.

Overland Water

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 will insure 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 a sub-limit of coverage.  The amount of the sub-limit differs between insurance companies.  Some companies will 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 and 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 caused and think about the absolute worst case scenario.  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/

Ground Water

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 and 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.

Earthquake

Earthquake is an optional coverage, which can be added to most tenant insurance policies.   Earthquake Coverage will insure the damage caused to your personal property (contents) of your home/apartment/suite by the shaking of the earth.

Earthquake coverage is especially worth considering if you live in an earthquake prone region, however as with any coverage it could still be worth considering.  The cost of earthquake coverage is usually relatively inexpensive in Manitoba.

Special Limits

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 and 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
  • Securities
  • 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)

 

Deductibles

All policies contain a deductible clause – this is the portion of the loss that you will be 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 and 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 and compare this to the cost savings provided.  The most popular deductible increase options are the $1,000 or $2,500 deductible.

payment options

There are different payment options available such as:

  • Full Payment
  • 3 Pay Plan
  • Monthly Automated from bank account or credit card

We accept:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
  • Online Banking
  • E-transfer

COTTAGE, BOAT, RENTED DWELLING OR HOME BASED BUSINESS

Cottage or Seasonal Residence or Seasonal Trailer

Boats

Rented Dwellings

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.