What is tenant insurance?

When I'm buying auto insurance the salesman says I need to get "tenant insurance". I say, "Sure, down the road sometime". I don't really know what they're talking about but I don't want to look stupid. What is tenant insurance?

If the person you were talking to didn't take the time to explain then yes, that is a salesman. A good broker or agent will make sure that you know why you are saying "no".

If you rent an apartment, home or condo unit then you have contents. That "stuff" is everything from the shirt on your back to the CDs in your vehicle. Remember how much it cost to buy all cleaners, mop, vacuum, broom, toilet brush, etc? If you have a fire it is all gone, too.

If you have any kind of social life then you have friends over to visit. Those friends may have friends who are not so bright about what they say. That person may tell the wrong person about your great game system and big screen TV. When asked they may go into details on the Bose sound system and the really cool electronics you've got. If you do have a break in then you know what they're going to take!

Liability is something that most people don't think they will ever need. Picture this situation: you invite a friend over to help you paint a room. During the process you see some loose wallboard so you climb up the ladder and hammer it tight. The friend calls you over to look at something and down the ladder you come. You don't bring down that hammer. So now you and your buddy move the paint cans and you move the ladder over closer to where you are both standing. Down comes the hammer. It hits your friend. It hurts him a lot, he's lucky not to lose his eye. Guess what, you are liable for his injury! He can sue you for lost wages, pain and suffering and any scarring that might result. If you have tenant's insurance you have it covered.

Let's go back to the fire situation. Your building has gone up in flames. You don't even have a toothbrush to call your own. Your insurance is going to pay for somewhere else for you to live. It could be a hotel until you find similar accommodation. You are not going to be out in the cold in your pj's.

Often the insurance company will cut you a cheque to start you off buying the necessities - items like clothing, grooming items, etc. You are going to make a list of everything that was lost and your insurance is going to help pay to replace it all.

Lastly your tenant's policy will usually save you money on your auto insurance if you put them with the same insurance company.

Talk to your agent or broker about your options. Having tenants insurance could really make a difference to you when something goes sideways. Ask questions and don't be afraid to ask for help with a difficult insurance wording. Our best insurance advice to you is to take control of your insurance.