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Ontario Tenant Insurance

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Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on July 17, 2024

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Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated July 17, 2024

Visit author page

12 minute read

Article Contents

Quick Facts About Tenant Insurance in Ontario

  • On average Ontario tenant insurance can range between $15 to $32 per month.
  • Tenant insurance is not mandatory in Ontario but is strongly encouraged.

Renting in Ontario can be very convenient because your landlord will have to take care of building maintenance and restoration. However, your landlord’s home insurance policy won’t protect your personal belongings. Getting a tenant insurance policy can help you pay for replacement or repairs in case of risks like accidents or natural disasters.

Learn why you should get tenant insurance, the average cost of tenant insurance in Ontario, and what may affect your quotes. We’ll also walk you through the standard and additional coverages in tenant insurance, as well as where you can get and compare quotes for the most affordable deal.

Why Do I Need Tenant Insurance in Ontario?

While tenant insurance isn’t always mandatory in Ontario, it’s highly recommended that you get coverage for your rented home anyway. Here are some of the most compelling reasons why you should get Ontario tenant insurance:

Protection for your belongings

While building maintenance and repair is your landlord’s responsibility, they aren’t responsible for your possessions if they get damaged or lost within the rental premises. Tenant insurance can give you much-needed funds to replace or repair your lost or damaged belongings in the event of an insured peril such as a fire or a windstorm.

Lease conditions

Some landlords will require you to get tenant insurance as part of your lease. If you don’t want to spend for tenant insurance, this may limit your rental options and get you in trouble if it’s already part of your existing lease agreement.

Liability coverage

If someone gets injured in your rental property or you accidentally damage the rented property, you may be facing hefty bills. A tenant insurance policy can help you pay for costs,  repairs, medical bills, or even legal fees if you’re sued.

How Does Tenant Insurance in Ontario Work? 

There are three types of tenant insurance policies that you can buy in Ontario. Here’s a basic overview of each type:

This is usually the most affordable type of tenant insurance, where you can choose coverage only against specific perils. If it’s not listed in your basic policy, your insurer won’t give you coverage for that risk.

This is typically the most expensive option but also the one that offers the most protection for your rental and your belongings in it. Under comprehensive tenant insurance, you’ll have protection against all risks that aren’t explicitly excluded, as well as risks that don’t require optional add-ons.

This mid-price option offers comprehensive coverage for your rented home but basic coverage for your personal belongings. This means your home will be protected from all risks except those that need add-ons or are specifically excluded, while your possessions are only protected against risks listed in your policy.

The typical Ontario tenant insurance policy comes with these types of coverage. Here’s a quick description of how each standard inclusion works and what it may cover:

  • Liability: In case someone is injured in your rental’s premises or there’s accidental damage to the rental property, this will cover expenses that you may be found liable for. Examples of such expenses covered by tenant insurance are medical bills, the cost of repairs, and legal fees in the event that you’re sued.
  • Personal belongings: This coverage protects your personal possessions in your rental property from covered perils like fire, theft, and vandalism. Personal belongings that may be covered include appliances, furniture, and clothing. In the event that your personal belongings are stolen or destroyed or damaged by covered perils, standard tenant insurance will reimburse you up to your policy’s coverage limits.

    Home insurance coverage for your belongings can be for actual cash value or replacement cost, depending on your policy’s terms. An actual cash value policy determines the value of your items by taking the cost to replace them, then reducing that cost because of depreciation due to causes like wear and tear. On the other hand, a replacement cost policy covers the cost of restoring your items to their previous condition or replacing them with similar items.
  • Additional living expenses: In case your rental property suddenly becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, this coverage will help you pay for the cost of temporary accommodations while the property is being restored or repaired.

Unit improvements: If you’ve made improvements to your rental property like custom fixtures or upgraded appliances, this coverage will protect your investment in case of damage or loss.

Apart from the standard coverage offered by Ontario tenant insurance policies, there are other types of coverage you can purchase for extra protection for your rented property. These are some of the most common coverage add-ons:

  • Claim protector: This add-on allows you to keep your claims-free discount on your quotes after you’ve made your first policy claim.
  • Credit and debit card forgery: This additional coverage will offset any financial losses or other damage you suffer because of credit or debit card forgery.
  • Earthquakes: This add-on covers damage or losses due to earthquakes.
  • Flooding: Protection from flooding typically includes both overland water and sewer back-up coverage. While you may opt to purchase these water-related add-ons separately, you may want to combine them into a flooding protection package because of severe weather and other regional risks.
  • Home-based business: If you run a home-based business from the property you’re renting, this add-on covers items and equipment related to the business.
  • Identity theft: This covers the cost of replacing crucial documents for identification, such as your birth certificate and driver’s licence.
  • Mass evacuation: If the government issues an evacuation order due to an incident like a flood, this add-on covers some expenses incurred during your absence from your home.
  • Overland water: Rainfall or thawing snow can cause nearby freshwater and wastewater sources to overflow beyond their typical levels. This add-on covers damage caused by this excess water when it seeps into your property.
  • Personal valuables: Standard plans offer limited coverage known as riders for items like jewelry and artwork. This add-on increases the limits for these items in the event of loss or damage.
  • Sewer backup coverage: If sewage or wastewater comes up from a main sewer, this add-on will cover the damage and losses caused.
  • Watercraft: If you keep watercraft like boats and jetskis on the rental premises, this option will cover the cost of repairs or replacement up to your add-on’s limits.

What Is Not Included in a Typical Ontario Renters Insurance Policy?

Even if you’ve opted for a highly comprehensive tenant insurance policy, there are some risks that insurers explicitly don’t include as a covered peril. These are called “exclusions” by Ontario insurance companies.

Here are the most common tenant insurance exclusions:

Criminal activities

If your rented home was damaged due to criminal activity, it won’t be covered by your insurance policy.

Earthquakes

Most policies exclude this risk, but you can cover earthquake losses and damage as an add-on to a standard policy.

Failure to maintain your home

Damage or losses caused by poor home upkeep (e.g., water damage from frozen pipes, broken bannisters) won’t be covered.

Flood damage

Flooding is typically not covered by a standard policy, but it may be included as an add-on.

Home business activities

Home businesses will need separate business insurance coverage to protect you from rental property or equipment damage.

Pest damage

Because this is considered a preventable risk, most insurers don’t cover damage or loss caused by insects, vermin, and animals.

Mould

Mould caused by poor home maintenance is typically excluded by insurance policies. Note that this is separate from mould caused by an insured peril, which will be covered by your policy.

Vacant property risks

Many insurers may void your tenant insurance if you leave the property vacant for over thirty days in a row.

Note that a tenant insurance policy doesn’t cover loss or damage to items that aren’t yours, so it won’t cover a roommate’s belongings or your landlord’s possessions. Also, the list above is by no means an exclusive enumeration of risks typically excluded from a tenant insurance policy in Ontario. Talk to your tenant insurance provider to see what’s covered by your policy in case of loss or damage.

What Determines The Cost of Renter’s Insurance in Ontario?

The cost of Ontario renter’s insurance will vary based on several factors, such as your location, your past claims history, and your rented property’s internal construction. Here are some of the different considerations which may make your renter’s insurance  quotes more or less affordable in Ontario:

Credit Score

The majority of Canadian provinces use your credit score to determine your tenant insurance premium. This is because it’s often perceived that a bad credit score increases the risk of providing tenant insurance, as it increases the odds of late or non-payment of premiums.

Internal Construction

If you’re renting a property that’s older, in poor condition, or needs to update systems like heating and plumbing, it may be pricier to insure. This is because older electrical, heating, and plumbing systems increase the risk of certain accidents like fires and water damage from leaks.

Location

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding, your premiums may be higher. Insurers also tend to charge higher premiums in areas where more residents have filed claims over recent years.

Past Claims History

Simply put, the more claims you have in a certain period, the higher your monthly premiums will be. As a general rule, make sure that the cost of your potential claim is higher than your policy deductible, which is the amount you have to pay before your insurer covers the rest.

Pets

Some insurance providers will ask you to disclose the number, type, and breed of any pets you may have, as some pets are considered an additional liability risk.

Property Type

Whether you’re renting a one-bedroom condo unit, a large basement suite, or a single-detached home, different types of dwellings will be evaluated differently by an Ontario insurer as each comes with different risks.

Smoking Or Non-Smoking Policyholders

If you’re a non-smoker, an insurer may offer lower premiums as they consider it less likely that a cigarette or other smoking device will start a fire in your rented property.

Special Uses

While conducting business in your home won’t always increase your tenant insurance premiums, this depends greatly on the kind of business you’re running. For example, you can expect to pay more if you’re running a home-based catering company because there is more risk of liabilities or accidents.

Type Of Coverage You Choose

If you get a policy with a higher deductible, this will result in a lower premium. Additionally, the higher the coverage and the more risks you are protected against, the higher your premiums will be.

Your Chosen Insurer

Different insurers may offer varying quotes even for the same type of policy. Coverage costs vary between companies, so it’s important to shop around to find the best deal.

How Much Does Ontario Tenant Insurance Usually Cost?

Ontario tenant insurance is quite affordable at an average cost range of $200 to $380 annually, depending on which city you live in. At a cheap range of $15 to $32 per month, you can get an Ontario policy that protects your personal belongings in your rented property from insured perils.

Here’s a list of average rates for tenant insurance in different cities in Ontario. Check to see how much the average is in your city:

CityAverage Rate
Barrie$200
Burlington$204
Cambridge$235
Hamilton$200
Kitchener$195
London$203
Markham$336
Mississauga$196
Oshawa$220
St. Catharine’s$225
Sudbury$322
Toronto$209
Vaughan$285
Windsor$300

Note that while these are the average rates in these cities, your tenant insurance premium in Ontario will be affected by a variety of factors apart from your location. Get a quick quote from MyChoice to compare offers from different insurance companies and get the most affordable deal for your needs.

A Snapshot of Ontario Renters

Wondering how many people in Ontario rent their homes? Based on the 2021 Census of Population, in the sample size of 5,491,200 private households, 31.4% (1,724,970 households) were renting their homes compared to 68.4% who owned their Ontario homes.

As of May 2023, many Ontario cities have rental rates well above the Canadian nationwide average rate of $2,002 for a one-bedroom property. Toronto has the second-highest rate in Canada, with renters paying an average of $2,526 for a single-bedroom property. Mississauga and Etobicoke rank fourth and fifth highest with asking average rents of $2,260 and $2,239 respectively.

How You Can Get Cheap Tenant Insurance in Ontario

If you’re trying to save money on your preferred tenant insurance coverage, here are some important steps to take:

Compare quotes

Comparison shopping between different providers will help you find the best rate for your desired policy type. Use an insurance aggregator like MyChoice to get and examine immediate quotes from various Ontario tenant insurers.

Increase your deductible

You can ask your insurer if you can increase your deductible, a.k.a. the amount you pay before your insurer pays out the claim. Increasing this reduces the risk for your insurer that you’ll submit a claim, so they may offer to lower your premiums.

Bundle with auto insurance

Some companies offer bundled tenant and auto insurance at a good discount for both policies.

Renovate old home systems like wiring and plumbing

Renovating to remove known risks like faulty wiring and old plumbing may help reduce your premiums. Note that you’ll need your landlord’s permission to make certain renovations, so read the fine print of your tenancy agreement and let them know before you start making any changes.

Pay annually

While hefty annual premium payments may be daunting, some insurance providers give you a discount in exchange as it reduces their administrative costs.

Install monitored alarms

The safer you make your rented property against thieves, the higher the chances that you’ll go claim-free. This may convince your insurer to offer lower premiums. Ask your landlord if you can install monitored home security systems to deter break-ins and get immediate notifications of disturbances.

Who Provides Tenant Insurance Quotes In Ontario

There are different ways that you can get a tenant insurance quote in Ontario. Here are the four providers that you can use or contact for tenant insurance rates:

Insurance brokers

Insurance brokers can represent you as a buyer and get quotes from multiple insurance companies, as well as advice on choosing a policy.

Direct writers

A direct writer is an insurance company that doesn’t have independent agents offering their quotes and policies. Typically, direct writers offer their products through their official websites and/or their call centres.

Insurance agents

Insurance agents are independent professionals who can provide quotes and policy information from the companies they work with.

Insurance aggregators

Insurance aggregators are online platforms like MyChoice that allow you to compare rates and coverage options from multiple providers. Because these allow you to input your information and receive quotes from multiple providers in one place, this can save you time and effort.

FAQs About Tenant Insurance in Ontario

Do you need renter’s insurance in Ontario?

Yes, you may need renter’s insurance in Ontario. While tenant insurance isn’t mandatory in Ontario, some landlords may require tenants to get renter’s insurance. You will also need renter’s insurance to protect your possessions and valuables from certain risks like fire or theft, as your landlord’s insurance won’t cover your personal belongings.

Can landlords require renter’s insurance in Ontario?

Yes, landlords can require renter’s insurance in Ontario as a lease condition. While renter’s insurance isn’t legally required, landlords have the right to set certain terms and conditions when renting out their properties, including requiring tenants to have renter’s insurance. Carefully review your lease and talk to your landlord to discuss any insurance requirements.

Is tenant insurance mandatory in Ontario?

No, tenant insurance is not mandatory in Ontario. However, your landlord may require you to get tenant insurance as a condition in your lease agreement. Further, you may want to get tenant insurance anyway to protect your personal belongings in the rented property from loss or damage.

How quickly can I get renter’s insurance in Ontario?

The timeframe for getting renter’s insurance in Ontario varies between insurance companies and your circumstances. In some cases, you can get renter’s insurance in a matter of hours, especially if your chosen insurer has online platforms or phone services that let you purchase policies directly after giving some personal information.

The timeline for getting renter’s insurance may be affected by factors such as the complexity of your chosen policy, the amount of coverage you need, and other documents or information that your provider may require. Once you’ve chosen your policy and made all required payments, your insurance company will give you policy documents or a certificate of insurance which you can use as proof of your coverage.

What is tenant liability insurance in Ontario?

Tenant liability insurance is a type of insurance in Ontario that covers a tenant’s legal responsibility for accidental damage to the rental property or injuries that happen in the rented property. This covers potential financial losses from costs like repairs, medical bills, and replacements,  as well as legal expenses in the event that a tenant is liable.

Some insurance providers provide tenant liability insurance separately from renter’s insurance, as this policy type focuses primarily on covering a tenant’s personal possessions. However, other providers may offer tenant liability coverage as part of a comprehensive renter’s insurance policy.

Some Ontario landlords may require tenants to have tenant liability insurance, so check your lease’s fine print and talk to your landlord to see if you’ll need this extra protection.

Do I need tenant insurance in Ontario?

You don’t “need” tenant insurance in Ontario, but you may still choose to get it because it protects your belongings from natural disasters, accidents, or other risks that cause loss or damage. Without tenant insurance, you may find yourself struggling to repair or replace damaged property out of pocket.

What’s the difference between home insurance and tenant insurance in Ontario?

Ontario home insurance typically covers your dwelling, personal belongings, and liability protection in case of loss or damage from insured risks like fire or hail. It also covers additional living expenses in case a covered risk makes your home temporarily uninhabitable.

Tenant insurance, on the other hand, covers a tenant’s personal belongings from risks like fire, theft, or other covered risks while they’re renting a property in Ontario. It also has liability protection known as tenant liability coverage in case someone gets injured in the rented property or the rental property is accidentally damaged.

Tenant insurance doesn’t cover repairs or replacements to the actual building or unit owned by your landlord. Instead, the landlord takes responsibility for these issues. Further, you won’t need home insurance if you’re renting your home.

Methodology

Profiles

Average rates were calculated using a standard profile and incident profiles. All personal details pertaining to the quotes and policies have been kept confidential.

Standard Profile

Quoted rates are based on either a 35-year-old male and/or female tenant with a clean claim history and good credit. They are also non-smokers and live in a home with monitored fire alarms and burglar alarms. The tenants also have a $1,000 deductible, a $1,000,000 liability, a $30,000 personal property limit and water damage included.

Incident Profiles

We examined how rates change by evaluating incident profiles. We looked at the most common tenant insurance claims in Canada: theft, fire-related, accidental injury, and water damage claims while comparing them to a clean record (standard).

Home Details

Quoted rates are based on either a duplex or triplex home constructed in the year 2010 or later.

Team

MyChoice data science, MyChoice research.

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