What you need to know about renter’s insurance

Watch above: Residents of the South Hamptons condo complex are still picking up the pieces after Monday’s massive blaze. But there is some relief, for those who had insurance policies. Shallima Maharaj takes a closer look at tenant’s insurance and whether you should get coverage.

EDMONTON – It is an added expense, but when it comes time to use it you’ll be glad you had it.

Renter’s insurance, also known as tenant’s or contents insurance, will help replace possessions in your rental unit in the event of loss, theft or damage. And while it’s relatively inexpensive, experts say many renters are still going without insurance.

“When you start to add up all of your clothes, your computer, your TV, your phones, it adds up pretty quickly,” said Troy Bourassa, VP of Operations with AMA Insurance.

“Usually when you go through that exercise you come to the conclusion that maybe you need insurance.”

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READ MORE: Survey highlights importance of property insurance for renters

Many residents of Edmonton’s South Hamptons condo building, which was extensively damaged by fire earlier this week, were renters. One couple says having insurance is one of the few positives to come from the devastating blaze.

“We’re very fortunate to have had insurance,” said Bethany Erickson.

READ MORE: South Hamptons condo residents return to suites for first time since fire

Three good reasons to get renter’s insurance:

1) To insure your belongings

“Insurance doesn’t just cover furniture, TVs and expensive items,” according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Insurance will repair or replace pots, pans, clothes and most other household items.”

2) To cope with your other needs after a loss

If there was a fire in your rental unit and the space was not livable, where would you stay? Insurance covers extra costs that an insured loss may cause you.

“Insurance pays for any necessary expenses while your apartment is being repaired, such as hotel bills, restaurant meals and moving costs,” the IBC’s website reads. “This coverage is called additional living expenses.”

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3) To protect you in the event of a lawsuit

Tenants are responsible for the harm they may cause to anything or anyone who lives or visits their rental unit.

“If someone slips and falls in your apartment, you could be held financially responsible for the cost of the injured person’s pain, suffering and medical bills,” says the IBC.

While there are several different coverage plans, Bourassa says plans cost an average of $15 per month.

“It’s very inexpensive coverage and it does give you that peace of mind and it’s really something that people need to consider.”

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