If you rent a home or apartment in Ontario, you’re not legally required to obtain tenant insurance; however, it is perfectly legal for your landlord to require you purchase tenant insurance as part of your lease agreement.
While there are plenty of reasons tenant insurance makes sense for an individual renting living space, there are also several reasons why your landlord may require their tenants to have tenant insurance.
First off, a tenant policy decreases your landlord’s potential liability should, for instance, someone visiting you injure themselves in your home. If an injured guest seeks compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, or pain and suffering, the company holding your tenant policy is the first place an injured guest will turn to for compensation rather than the landlord.
A tenant policy will also protect your personal belongings in the case of a fire or other disaster. How does that help your landlord? Well, your landlord’s policy only covers structural damage to the building itself in such instances. But a lot of people are unaware that a landlord is not liable for damage to, or loss of, your personal property in most cases. Ensuring you have tenant insurance makes it clear you should have no expectation the landlord will replace your belongings.
Let’s say there’s a fire in another apartment unit that prevents you from living in your apartment while repairs are made. Your landlord isn’t responsible for finding or paying for alternate living arrangements while the work is done. If you needed to stay in a hotel for a week following a disaster, a tenant insurance policy would cover that expense.
As well, a tenant policy provides some additional peace of mind for your landlord. For instance, let’s say you allowed the tub to overflow damaging the ceiling of the unit below, or you start a fire while cooking. Yes, the landlord’s own policy will also cover any structural damages, and a tenant policy will give your landlord the chance to attempt to recover costs from your insurance company.
So, while carrying tenant insurance is a smart move to protect your own belongings, there are many legitimate reasons a landlord might demand you have one as a condition of renting from them.