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Written By Joel Kranc

Contributing writer

Updated

What is tenant insurance?

Tenant insurance, like homeowners' insurance, protects you and your belongings from perils like fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and if you are displaced for any of those reasons, can also help with temporary living expenses. While it is not mandatory, some landlords may make it a requirement of your lease.

Is tenant insurance mandatory in Canada?

Although tenant insurance is not mandatory, having it can help cover expenses that may come up accidentally or unexpectedly. Costs can add up when it’s time to repair or replace items and tenant insurance can ease that burden should the need arise.

Some landlords may also require their renters to get tenant insurance as part of the lease agreement. Either way, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your possessions are protected, to some degree, is worth the added expense in the long run.


What does tenant insurance cover?

Tenant insurance covers:

1) Contents for your possessions

Tenant insurance will cover the contents of your home. Without it, you will pay out of pocket to replace items, but it also extends beyond your home. If something is stolen, even if you are away from your property or you need to replace something you’ve lost, tenant insurance will help with replacement costs.

If you are running a business out of your home, for example, or need extra insurance for valuables, it’s best to talk to your provider about extra coverage.

2) Renter’s liability if you’re sued for property damage or personal injury

Liability coverage helps cover costs associated with lawsuits resulting from accidental damage to someone’s property, or if someone gets hurt in your home. For example, if a guest is hurt and sues for damages, medical expenses or loss of income you could be out of pocket for thousands or millions of dollars. 

The minimal recommended coverage for liability insurance is $100,000 but if it is within your means, it might make sense to go higher for potential liability risks.

3) Living expenses, should your home become temporarily uninhabitable

If there is a problem with your unit caused by an insured peril, or an evacuation is made by the local authorities, you may have to leave your home. Tenant insurance can help with temporary accommodation, transportation, and even the cost of meals until you can return home.

Some insurance policies cap living expenses so make sure to talk to your provider and understand what is available to you should you need to move temporarily.


What does tenant insurance not cover?

High Value Items:

Tenant insurance policies limit the coverage provided to high-value items (e.g. expensive jewelry or fine). A $5,000 limit is common for these types of things, so if you lose $20,000 worth of jewelry, you will have to pay $15,000 out-of-pocket to replace it.

To insure these possessions for the actual replacement cost, you must purchase a floater, also called a rider, which is an amendment to your standard policy. Talk to your policy provider about extra coverage for valuable possessions. The extra cost on your policy could save you thousands of dollars in the future.

Property damage caused by natural disasters:

If your possessions are damaged by hail, rain, wind or fire, your tenant insurance should provide coverage. However, some natural disasters, most notably earthquakes and floods, are excluded from standard tenant insurance policies. If you live in a high-risk area for these types of natural disasters, you should purchase additional coverage.

Recent tenant insurance quotes

Get the best tenant insurance rates in one place. RATESDOTCA lets you compare pricing for all key tenant insurance terms.

Recent Tenant Insurance Quote from Banff, AB
Duplex
July 24, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 31 / month
$373 / year
Average Quote
$ 41 / month
$486 / year
Savings
$ 9 / month
$108 / year
or
23.00 %
Recent Tenant Insurance Quote from Toronto, ON
High Rise
July 24, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 23 / month
$281 / year
Average Quote
$ 33 / month
$390 / year
Savings
$ 9 / month
$108 / year
or
28.00 %
Recent Tenant Insurance Quote from Ottawa, ON
High Rise
July 24, 2024
Cheapest Quote
$ 22 / month
$258 / year
Average Quote
$ 41 / month
$487 / year
Savings
$ 19 / month
$228 / year
or
47.00 %
Tenant insurance quotes are compared from Apollo Insurance, CAA, Economical Insurance, Pembridge, Square One Insurance, and SGI

How to get your cheapest tenant insurance quotes on RATESDOTCA

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Factors that affect your tenant insurance 

Tenant insurance varies depending on your circumstances. Premiums can differ per renter based on multiple factors, including:

  • Your credit score – Insurance companies look at risk factors when providing insurance to customers. The better your credit score, the lower the risk you are thought to be and likely, the better rate you can achieve from providers.
  • The amount of contents coverage you require – The more contents you want to insure, the more the rates will likely be as replacement costs can add up for insurance providers.
  • The location of your home (typically determined by postal code) – While some locations are low risk, perhaps crime-free, and safe, other locations may have higher incidents of break-ins and ultimately pose a higher risk to your contents. Insurance providers will look at that to determine rates.
  • The construction of your unit (e.g., concrete high rise, wood frames, etc.) – Newer, better constructed homes pose a reduced risk of fires or other defaults. Older homes may not be up to the current code, may have wiring issues and could pose a higher risk to your contents.
  • The deductible chosen – A higher deductible usually results in lower premiums, but you'll have to pay more out of pocket if filing a claim; a lower deductible usually results in a higher premium, but you'll be paying less out of pocket if filing a claim.
  • Whether you have some form of a home security system – A home alarm is another tool that reduces the risk of break-ins and ultimately insurance claims.
  • Your claims history – the fewer the claims, the less risk you are considered by your provider and the lower your premiums.

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How much does tenant insurance cost?

Across Canada, tenant insurance premium rate can range from $197 to $240 annually, but changes depend on the possessions you have in your home. It’s best to visit sites like RATESDOTCA to compare quotes for the cheapest tenant's insurance available.

Comparatively speaking, tenant insurance rates in Ontario and major cities in Ontario are cheaper than other parts of the country. It’s possible that there are a greater number of companies offering tenant insurance and the competition helps keep rates down in larger areas.

Average tenant insurance premium in Ontario & Alberta

The table below shows you the average insurance premium paid by tenants in their respective neighbourhoods. While a tenant living in Ontario would end up paying $197 in annual premium, an Edmonton tenant would end up paying $217.53 on an average.

Location Average Premium
Ontario $197
Toronto $197
Etobicoke $197
Mississauga $197
Alberta $218
Calgary $212.73
Edmonton $217.53

How can I get the cheapest tenant insurance?

There are many ways to save on tenant insurance. Of course, starting with a comparison of cheap rates on RATESDOTCA is a great place to start. But you should also try the following:

  • Agree to a credit check: It’s by no means mandatory but allowing a credit score can highlight your “good” risk factor to insurance providers. If your score is good, you may be eligible for savings. If your isn't the best or you’ve missed a payment here and there, don’t worry, providers don’t have the authority to increase your rates as a result.
  • Bundle your home and auto insurance policies: Having more than one insurance policy (tenant, auto, life) with one provider can help you achieve discounts. Your insurance provider will appreciate the business and loyalty, and may be able to lower the overall premiums as a savings passed on to you.
  • Fine-tune your policy: there is such a thing as being over-insured. Make sure you know what you need and the protection that is warranted. You can start by gauging your own risk tolerance. Will you be content if, in the event of a claim, your damaged belongings are not fully covered? If the answer is yes, then basic homeowners coverage might be sufficient for you. Of course, if you have valuables, run a business out of your home or need extra insurance, don’t skimp. It could cost you later.
  • Increase your deductible: Taking on more risk away from your insurance provider will yield savings to you. The more you are willing to pay up-front before claims are made, the less a risk you are and higher savings you can achieve.
  • Install safety features: A safer home that can detect fire or smoke before it does too much damage can help you save money on rates. For example, installing smoke, Carbon Monoxide and burglar alarms could earn you a discount, as they may reduce claims.
  • Keep your home in good repair: Insurance policies don’t cover problems that were owner or tenant issues. For example, a natural disaster is covered and could not have been prevented by the tenant. However, if you keep things in disrepair, and could have prevented damage, you likely won’t be covered.
  • Pay up front: If you’re able to pay up front for the home insurance policy, you’re likely to save.

Tenant insurance claim

Firstly, assess the cost of paying out-of-pocket. If the amount you must spend is less than your deductible, there is no need to file an insurance claim since there will be no payout by your insurance company. Filing a claim for every little thing that goes wrong can affect your future premiums, as insurers are unwilling to provide coverage for people who cost them a lot of money.

With that said, don’t be afraid to make a claim when you need to. One thing to remember is to keep an inventory of your belongings or items you have insured. If possible, keep receipts to have a record of what the initial value was, and take pictures of the items.

Like home insurance, tenant insurance claims can be made after fires, theft, vandalism or natural disasters do damage to your belongings. If you are displaced for a time while repairs are being made, you may also be entitled to claim some cost-of-living expenses.

Frequently asked questions about tenant insurance

Find the answers to all your tenant insurance related questions here.

Can my landlord force me to get tenant insurance?

Property owners are within their rights to ask you to get it and can stipulate it in the lease. Not having isn't grounds for eviction under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act. However, if you refuse to get tenant insurance, the landlord could reject your rental application.

Is renter’s insurance the same as tenant insurance?

Yes. The two terms are used interchangeably.

Who has the best tenant insurance policy?

Every insurance provider will assess the likelihood of you making a claim, and the cost of providing your coverage, differently. In addition, the coverage you need to protect your things, will be different from the coverage needed by others. Compare coverage options and quotes from leading insurance providers on RATESDOTCA. It’s the quickest way to find the best tenant insurance policy for you.

What information do I need to get a tenant insurance quote?

On RATESDOTCA, we will ask for the following information:

  • Your address and unit number
  • The combined value of your physical possessions
  • Who you live with (roommates likely won’t be covered by your policy, but they could impact your premium)
  • The type of residence you live in (e.g. high-rise apartment, basement rental, single bedroom in shared house)
  • The year the building was built

This will give you the most accurate quotes directly from the tenant insurance providers.

When should I file a tenant insurance claim?

Firstly, assess the cost of paying out-of-pocket. If the amount you must spend is less than your deductible, there is no need to file an insurance claim since there will be no payout by your insurance company. Filing a claim for every little thing that goes wrong can affect your future premiums, as insurers are unwilling to provide coverage for people who cost them a lot of money.

With that said, don’t be afraid to make a claim when you need to. After all, this financial support was the whole point of having tenant insurance policy in the first place.

How do I make a tenant insurance claim?

Once you have decided to make a claim, take photos to prove that your claim is legitimate, and call up your insurance provider to see what else they need. Claims can often be submitted through most provider apps. Don’t take too long, most insurers require you to submit the claim within days of the incident.

*Shoppers who obtained a tenant insurance quote on RATESDOTCA from January to December 2023 saved an average amount of $105. The average savings amount represents the difference between the shoppers’ average lowest quoted premium and the average of the second and third lowest quoted premiums generated by RATESDOTCA. Excludes home and condo insurance.

RATESDOTCA tenant insurance

If you want to save money on tenant insurance without compromising coverage, you’re in the right place.

Spend a few minutes answering basic questions about your apartment, and we’ll show you multiple tenant insurance quotes from Canada’s best companies.

Joel Kranc ,
Writer

Joel Kranc is a freelance writer and content provider who has worked with RATESDOTCA since 2019. He holds an MA in political science from the University of Toronto and a film certificate from New York University.

He has been published in and worked for such companies as CNN, Rogers Media, Institutional Investor Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Infrastructure Investor, BenefitsPRO Magazine, Global Finance Magazine, With Intelligence, the CPP Investment Board, Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan, and many more financial services and industry publications.

He is the author of "Retirement Planning in 8 Easy Steps," which, when released in 2015, was No. 11 on the Publisher's Weekly US Bestseller List for Business and Finance, beating out Mark Cuban's "How to Win at the Sport of Business."

Education
  • Master's of Political Science, University of Toronto
Featured in
  • Benefits Canada
  • Institutional Investor
  • Plan Sponsor Magazine
  • Global Finance Magazine
  • Infrastructure Investor
  • Private Equity Investor
  • The Globe and Mail
  • Fund Directions Newsletter
  • BenefitsPRO
  • HR Professional
  • Advisor's Edge
  • Institutional Investor
  • Employee Benefit Advisor
  • Investing in Infrastructure Magazine (i3)

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