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Renters insurance (also referred to as tenant insurance) is a low-cost, high reward coverage for people who don’t own their homes.

While renters insurance is not mandatory, it’s a wise choice for any tenant to make room in their budget for the protection it can provide in an emergency.

A couple bucks out of your pocket per month is cheaper than the couple thousand you’ll have to pay to buy a new laptop if it gets damaged or stolen. It’s cheaper than the hotel bill you’d have to pay if your place is deemed unliveable after a fire or flood and you need to stay in a hotel for a week. And it’s much cheaper than the hundreds of thousands of dollars you’d need to cover legal and medical costs if someone got injured on your property.

What is renters insurance?

Many renters think their belongings are covered by their landlord’s home insurance or specific landlord insurance coverage.

Neither is the case.

Home insurance and landlord insurance will protect the landlord and the landlord’s property, not you and your own things. So, should something go wrong with the house (like a break-in or a fire), their insurance will make them whole again – but unfortunately, not offer any protection for you.

That’s why renters need renters insurance. It covers the cost of replacing and/or repairing your personal property so you don’t have to pay the full recovery costs out-of-pocket.

What coverage do you get with renter’s insurance?

Personal possessions

Personal possessions are all the things you bring with you to your new place: furniture, clothes, technology, kitchenware, jewelry, etc. Should any of your items be compromised by a fire, theft, flood, vandalism or most weather-related incidents, renters insurance would kick in and help cover the costs to repair/replace.

Personal liability coverage

The personal liability portion of your renters insurance coverage would provide you with money if you’re sued by someone for injuries sustained in your place. As we discussed in the piece about landlord insurance, a lawsuit could also (or instead) be directed at your landlord, depending on the circumstances of the injury, where it happened and why. Plus, this coverage provides protection if you cause damage to the property you’re renting.

Emergency accommodations

If, for almost any reason, you can’t stay where you are because it’s deemed unfit to live, the emergency accommodation section of your renters insurance policy will come through with money to cover additional living expenses for your accommodations while repairs are made or until you find a new place to call home.

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Some renters insurance policies can also include:

Identity theft coverage

Identity theft has seen a significant spike in recent years – this is why having a path to recovery is becoming more important for Canadians. This coverage would kick in to pay for legal fees and asset replacement.

High-value item coverage

This coverage generally protects artwork, jewelry, and other valuables. But since what you determine to be “high value” will of course differ from your neighbour, you can always ask your renters insurance provider what would qualify under their high-value rider.

Legal assistance coverage

In the event you wind up with a less-than-ideal landlord against whom you have to take legal action, some renters insurance policies will offer you money to retain legal counsel with specialization in your situation.

How much does renters insurance cost?

The average renters insurance cost in Ontario is around $300-$360, or approximately $25-$30 per month — though some policies start as low as $10/month. Factors that go into calculating the rate will almost always include:


City. Neighbourhood. Proximity to a fire hydrant and/or emergency services. Crime rate. Local weather patterns. These are all considered when assessing risk.

The dwelling itself

The age of the house or building is considered, as well as the type of heating it has and how likely it is to start a fire. Along those lines, appliances and electrical are also considered.

The personal property being insured

Obviously, more under a renters insurance policy will affect the cost, as will any higher-value items.

Claims history

This is a standard check for any insurance policy, car or home. More claims made rather than less raises a red risk flag to the renters insurance provider, which gets reflected in the rate.

Credit score

A soft credit check is performed and considered as part of the pricing process, as defaulting on payments is also a risk to the renters insurance provider.

Getting renters insurance

After deciding on the specifics of the renters insurance policy you want, shop your wish list around to various online brokers for the best rate. Because renters insurance is not mandatory, the competition for your business will be fierce, which could work out in your favour.

Alternatively, you could try digital direct renters insurance from Onlia, which gives you the flexibility of a fully digital experience AND the cost savings and control of dealing directly with the provider.

This also means you get to take advantage of discounts only a true provider can offer.

The bottom four lines on renters insurance

  • As a renter, your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your personal possessions. Renters insurance will.
  • All renters insurance policies will cover your personal possessions, personal liability and emergency accommodations. Some will go above and beyond if you need them to. You should check with your provider.
  • While renters insurance prices can fluctuate depending on certain variables, having it when you need it will always be less expensive than not having it.
  • Being diligent with your research is important before you decide on a renters insurance provider. When you do it, you’ll find the digital direct offering from Onlia to be the easiest path forward.

Ready to buy renters insurance? Get a quote from Onlia for all-online coverage, with policies effective as soon as the next day.

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