Fact: too many Canadian renters don’t have tenant insurance – where do you stand?

You hear the same story time and time again – a fire burns down a house or an apartment building, leaving the tenants with just the clothes on their backs. Not only are the homes destroyed, but many people often don’t have tenant’s insurance to help cover their property and personal belongings.

You may think renting a property and renter’s insurance (also known as tenant insurance) go hand-in-hand. Sadly, that’s not the case in British Columbia. According to a study conducted for belairdirect by Substance Strategies,* more than half of Canadian renters (53%) don’t have tenant’s insurance. And almost a third of those who don’t have renter’s insurance have never even thought of getting it.

Myths vs. reality

The study also highlighted why people may skip on tenant insurance. Here are some of the myths about renter’s insurance that Canadians mistakenly abide by:

  • Myth – The landlord covers all damages and risks (16% of surveyors believe this)
    • Fact – The landlord has insurance on the building and items the landlord owns, but you are responsible for your own property and contents of the apartment/unit you are renting.
  • Myth – Tenant insurance is costly (40% of respondents say they don’t have the means to pay for tenant’s insurance)
    • Fact – At belairdirect, tenant insurance can be as affordable as $16 a month, about the same price as a subscription to an online streaming platform.
  • Myth – My neighbourhood is safe, and I don’t need tenant insurance (12% of surveyors believe this)
    • Fact – Even in a safe neighbourhood of a large city like Vancouver, renter’s insurance covers other risks, such as fire and water damage.
  • Myth – My possessions aren’t worth covering (a quarter of respondents believe this)
    • Fact – People often tend to undervalue the replacement cost of their possessions. For instance, shoppers looking for a bargain tend to buy things on sale.
  • Myth – I never even thought about tenant insurance (30% of surveyors indicated this)
    • Fact – According to the survey, many respondents have no understanding of civil liability. People may be aware of dangers like fire in general, but what if you accidentally caused a fire? If this is the case, then you’re financially responsible for the damage you caused. This is an example of a civil liability tenants should be aware of and consider when getting tenant insurance.

The need for more awareness

Of all provinces, our friends in Quebec are the most aware when it comes to understanding the need and importance of property insurance. But elsewhere in Canada, and particularly in B.C., many people still fail to recognize how important it is to be insured as a tenant.

As a renter, take the time to review your choices, ask questions, and select the option that best suits your needs – personally and financially. Once you have tenant’s insurance underneath your belt, you can rest easy knowing your personal property is covered from lots of different angles.

Other survey results from the study include:

  • 40% per cent of Canadians don’t have a clue about the cost of renter’s insurance.
  • Those surveyed perceive the national average cost of renter’s insurance to be $600 a year. Ontarians perceive it to be higher than the national average (at $664/year).
  • 33% per cent of Canadians have already made an inventory of their property.
  • Those aged 45-54 years old are more likely to take a photo or video of their inventory (46%).
  • Overall, the property value of the average Canadian is estimated at $15,000.
  • Young respondents, 18-24 years old, were more likely to have never thought of buying tenant’s insurance (41%).

*Substance Strategies conducted the study on behalf of belairdirect. The study was conducted between January 15-25, 2015, with 4,084 Canadians partaking in the study.