According to a recent first tuesday poll, mandatory renters insurance for tenants remains in the minority. This result is consistent with results from prior years, which have continuously found landlords seldom require tenants to purchase renters insurance.
The benefits of renters insurance
A standard renters insurance policy purchased by a tenant offers the tenant coverage for personal property losses and tort liabilities they may incur.
The tenant’s personal property includes anything moveable — jewelry, electronics, furniture, etc. Tort liability refers to the tenant’s responsibility for injury they may cause to another person or another person’s property, such as the landlord or the rental property.
Typically, a tenant is required to pay costs the landlord incurs to repair damage for which the tenant is responsible. However, renters insurance covers the tenant’s liability owed the landlord and relieves the insured tenant of the burden of paying the landlord’s costs; the insurance company takes on that obligation.
While renters insurance is not a substitute for landlords insurance, homeowners insurance or a security deposit, it is an indispensable resource for landlords to cover damages for which tenants are personally liable. In addition to tenants’ personal property, renters insurance covers damage to the unit incurred by the tenant, as well as any injury that may befall the guest of a tenant on the landlord’s property. It really covers all the bases.
So why isn’t everyone on board?
Which brings us back to the poll results — if renters insurance is so great, why doesn’t every landlord require it?
Part of the reason is that tenants aren’t always sold on renters insurance — when tenants do not take the initiative to purchase renters insurance for themselves, landlords are less likely to require it.
But renters insurance isn’t just valuable for landlords; it’s beneficial for tenants. In the event of an accident, landlords no longer need to rely on the security deposit alone for reimbursement, and can instead turn to insurers in lieu of haranguing the tenant for greater amounts due.
In addition, tenants receive financial protection while they strengthen their image with the landlord as an individual responsible for their actions. Landlords are more comfortable renting property to tenants who are insurable and forward-thinking enough to invest in an insurance policy, and who display a measure of concern for the care and protection of the property. Renters insurance is low-cost, too — it typically comes out to around $10-20 a month.
In the end, renters insurance really is a no-lose situation. It’s more than worth the time and cost to make sure tenants are insured — for all parties involved.