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Written by Shivani Kaul

Vancouver tenant insurance

The volume of Vancouver residents who rent has been increasing significantly since 2011, according to a 2022 Statistics Canada report.

While policy experts seek ways to make home ownership more affordable, renters can mitigate risk by protecting their rental units and belongings with tenant insurance. It has the added benefit of also offering liability protection.

While a landlord’s own property insurance coverage will protect the home against damage from a covered peril such as fire or water, it does not extend to the unit’s contents.

What will your Vancouver tenant insurance cover?

Tenant insurance will protect renters in Vancouver, Canada against:

  • Any damage they cause to the rental unit.
  • Any belongings that are damaged, and need to be replaced.
  • Liability claims if a visitor to the rental unit is injured.

Many tenant insurance policies also offer Additional Living Expenses (ALE) which cover the cost of moving or staying at a hotel if the tenant is unable to stay there while damage from an insured loss is being repaired.

What won’t your Vancouver tenant insurance cover?

Damage to the unit itself will be covered by the landlord’s home insurance policy rather than by the tenant’s.

For example, if a flood damages the home, the landlord’s coverage will pay for the floors and walls to be repaired, but it will not compensate the tenant if their furniture, clothing or electronics are damaged.

Another gap in the coverage for most tenant insurance policies is coverage for anyone who sublets the unit. Tenants considering having a subletter occupy the unit should consider requiring that they have their own rental insurance.

Factors that affect your Vancouver tenant insurance 

The cost of tenant insurance in Vancouver is determined by several factors including:

  • The type of coverage sought: 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.
  • The property being insured: You can get tenant insurance for any type of dwelling – condo, basement apartment, detached home or townhome. However, the larger the space, the more contents it houses and the higher the risk, which will increase your monthly premium cost.
  • The property’s location: A Vancouver tenant would end up paying more insurance premium compared to a person renting out in Innisfail. While some locations are low risk, safer with low crime rate, other locations may have higher incidents of theft and ultimately pose a higher risk to your contents. Insurance providers will assess that to determine premium rates.
  • Any claims history associated with the property: If the rental property is prone to theft or fire due to lack of a fire alarm system or security system, the insurance provider will take that into consideration when assessing your premium.
  • The tenant’s claims history: The fewer the claims, the less risk you are considered by your insurance provider and the lower your premiums.
  • For tenant content insurance, the value of the tenant’s belongings: The more expensive your belongings, the more you will end up paying in premium. If you own handed-down furniture and electronics and do not have gold or other valuables in possession, your tenant insurance premium will be lower than someone who owns expensive or luxury items.

While it’s very difficult to identify which factor has the greatest impact on the overall cost of tenant insurance in Vancouver, savings are generally available for those who have no claims history as well as those seeking a minimum amount of protection.

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How to get your Vancouver tenant insurance quotes on RATESDOTCA

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How can I get the cheapest tenant insurance in Vancouver?

There are many ways that tenants in Vancouver can reduce the cost of the insurance coverage.

  • Alumni discounts: Some organizations, including alumni associations, offer group discounts on insurance policies, including those for renters.
  • Bundling: Securing each insurance policy with a single company is an effective way to save. For example, bundling tenant coverage with an auto policy is a common approach.
  • Claims history: Policyholders with no claims history will pay less for coverage. Insurance providers consider past behaviour to be indicative of future behaviour. Tenants without a claims history will be deemed less likely to make a claim in the future than those who have made claims in the past.
  • Comparison shopping: One of the single most effective ways to reduce overall insurance costs is to compare available rates each time a policy is up for renewal. If a tenant has bundled their car insurance policy, they can arrange for the annual renewal dates of each policy to be aligned.
  • Confirming coverage limits: Tenants who re-evaluate the value of their belongings can reduce coverage costs. We encourage tenants to do this each year when their policy is up for renewal. This helps confirm that they’re only paying for the coverage they need, nothing more.
  • Deciding actual cash value rather than replacement cost: Tenants must decide if, in the event of a claim, their policy will provide actual cash value or replacement cost. The former is likely to result in a cheaper overall policy and means that the insurance provider will offer compensation for the value of the damaged item minus depreciation. For example, if a five-year-old laptop is damaged in a flood, the tenant will be compensated for the value of a five-year-old laptop. Those who have selected replacement cost will be compensated for the value of a laptop that is like the modern-equivalent of the damaged laptop.

*Shoppers who obtained a quote on RATESDOTCA from January to December 2021 saved an average amount of $566. 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 tenant and condo insurance.

Frequently asked questions about Vancouver tenant insurance

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

How much does tenant insurance cost in Vancouver, BC?

Tenant insurance premium in Vancouver could vary from $15 to $20 per month depending on the policy details and tenant requirements. The exact cost will vary depending on the specifics of the coverage. In general, policyholders pay more for more coverage. While policies each has a standard coverage limit, policyholders can add endorsements that extend the coverage to protect against damage to valuable art collections, jewelry and expensive sport equipment.

What is the average cost of tenant insurance in BC?

While tenants in Vancouver are likely to pay anywhere between $15 to $20 per month for coverage, they can reduce their overall annual costs by tailoring the policy. For example, by agreeing to a policy that will provide compensation for the actual cash value rather than the replacement cost for items damaged by a covered peril, the policyholder can reduce the overall cost of the policy. Similarly, they can bring down costs by bundling their policies as well as comparison shopping to find the best coverage at the lowest rate

Can my landlord force me to get tenant insurance?

Yes. While home insurance is not mandatory anywhere in Canada, a landlord can require that renters have coverage as a condition of the lease agreement. In other words, it’s up to the landlord to decide who they’ll rent to and what they require of a tenant. Coverage is an added expense, but in the event of damage to the unit and its contents, most tenants are relieved to have protection in place.

Who has the best tenant insurance policy in Vancouver? 

There’s no one company that has the best coverage for renters in Vancouver. We recommend that tenants use our free, online tool to compare tenant insurance quotes from dozens of the most trusted home insurance companies in Canada to secure the best coverage at the lowest rate. It takes less than three minutes and reflects, for free, which policy is ideal for each renter’s specific needs.

How do I make a tenant insurance claim in Vancouver?

If a rental unit is damaged by a covered peril, the tenant should immediately contact their insurance provider to initiate a claim. The company will guide the tenant through the process. It’s prudent to also contact the landlord, however, the tenant doesn’t necessarily have a legal obligation to do so.

So that the tenant can easily navigate the claims process, we encourage them to keep close track of their belongings. This can be achieved by recording the unit and its contents. Or, by keeping a spreadsheet that itemizes belongings and their expense. There are also many apps available that can assist.

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