Is renters insurance too expensive?


Renters insurance automatically includes third party liability, which covers you if you're held responsible for involuntary damage caused to another person anywhere in the world.

Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group

Everything is relative. On average, renters insurance is approximately $20 a month. Keep reading to find out if that's too expensive to be worth it to you. 

Jean Frédérick is an expert in property and casualty insurance at Desjardins. "A lot of people think of renters insurance as protection for their personal property. But it's much more than that," he says by way of introduction.

Third party liability
Renters insurance automatically includes third party liability, which covers you if you're held responsible for involuntary damage caused to another person anywhere in the world. You can be covered for up to $1 million for just a few dollars. The protection could come in handy in a variety of situations. 

Here are a few examples:

At home: 
    • You forget something in the oven which causes a fire or you leave the faucet running in the bathroom, which causes water damage in your building.
    • You forget to shovel your stairs. It's your responsibility and a friend slips and breaks their arm.
Out and about:
    • Your dog bites a passerby in the leg.
    • You collide with another skier and they sustain a head injury that prevents them from working.
On vacation:
    • You spill red wine on the carpet in your hotel room.
    • You accidentally set your rental cottage on fire when you use the woodstove.
Replacing your property
Even if you don't have a lot of "things," it all matters to you. And some of the items we use every day are expensive to replace: 
  • Computers
  • Technical or specialized software
  • Bicycles 
"Insurance usually covers the cost to replace your property with new items. However, some coverage may have conditions or be capped. If you have expensive items, it's a good idea to inform your insurer so they can provide adequate coverage that reflects the value," says Frédérick.

4 ways to decrease your premium
1. Pay a higher deductible
The deductible is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim for damaged or stolen property. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium, so you need to think about what you're ready to pay if something happens!

2. Take advantage of discounts
If you have a vehicle, you can get a discount by getting renters insurance from the same company. 

3. Share the cost of the premium
Do you have a roommate? Are they insured? Ask them to share the cost of coverage with you and talk to your insurer about adding them to the policy.

4. See if you're covered by other insurance
If you're a full-time student you might still be covered by your parents' home insurance policy. Check with their insurer. 

How much do you know? 
Take the tenant challenge and see if you'll be on the hook if something bad happens where you live. 

Take inventory
"The best thing you can do to make things easier down the road is to take an inventory of your property and keep it up to date," says Frédérick. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has a property inventory tool that makes it easy.

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