Home Insurance vs. Tenant Insurance: Which Is Right for You?
We outline the differences between home and tenant insurance, and why both are important.
What is home insurance?It’s a type of property insurance that protects the owner of a private detached, semi-detached or row house. The protection comes in the form of money to repair damage to the structures or property, and to replace damaged contents.
For most home insurance policies, the protection generally extends to structures on the property (fences, sheds, garages, etc.) and usually includes personal liability in case someone is injured on your property.
Is home insurance mandatory in Ontario?It’s not, but it probably should be — that’s how good of an idea home insurance is for anyone who owns a home.
Imagine having to rebuild your house on your own dime after a fire or a flood. Imagine having to defend yourself out of pocket if an opportunistic party guest sues you for drunkenly falling down your stairs. Imagine having to start again with nothing.
The loss incurred from a major catastrophic event could legitimately ruin your life if you don’t have home insurance.
With a home insurance policy, you’ll get the money to make your home whole, put you back on your feet and get you back to where you were before the incident.
What does home insurance cover?
- Damage to your home or total loss
- Damage, theft or loss of your personal belongings
- Personal property stolen from your vehicle
- Injuries to others who visit your home or property
- Living expenses if you’re unable to live in your home due to a loss covered by your policy (usually up to a maximum amount)
- Accidental damage you cause to someone else’s property
- Flood and sewer backup
- Home sharing
- Condo improvements
- Identity theft recovery
Some of these coverages may be optional, depending on your provider. What you pay for this coverage will depend on the value of your property and your contents, the location and age of your property and the materials it's built with.
Other factors may raise or lower what you pay for the coverage you need. For example, a fire hydrant on or near your property may lower your rate because it’d be easier for the fire department to control a blaze faster. On the flip side, proximity to a shady neighbourhood could raise your rates because your chances of being robbed could be higher.
How to get home insurance
You can choose to buy from:
- An insurance broker who sells insurance on behalf of a group of insurance companies.
- A direct writer or insurance agent who works for a single insurance company.
- A digital provider, many of whom can give you a quote right away.
What about tenant insurance?Some renters don’t opt for tenant insurance, presumably because they’re drawn to the idea of their landlord having insurance, and them not needing their own.
That means they’re not thinking about what happens if the place they’re renting goes up in flames while they’re at work, or if a sewage pipe bursts in the basement overnight, or if they’re robbed. If any of those things happened and damaged their belongings, their landlord wouldn’t be responsible — they would. And they’d be left without help if they didn’t opt for tenant insurance.
What is tenant insurance?It’s home insurance specific for renters and it will cover you and your contents in any home you don’t own, including what you have in storage.
Like homeowner’s insurance, tenant insurance will cover the cost of medical care if someone injures themselves on your property, up to the limits outlined in your policy.
How to get tenant insuranceMany home insurance providers will also offer tenant insurance packages that will cover damaged/stolen content, between-places living expenses, and liability in case someone is injured in your place.
Something you might not know about home insurance coverageAs an owner or a renter, your insurance will travel with you.
If you break something or cause an injury in someone else’s home, your home insurance can help out with costs incurred for repairs and/or legal costs.