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

Updated on February 6, 2024

Visit author page
By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated February 6, 2024

Visit author page

12 minute read

Article Contents

St. Catharines’ rental market is seeing market supply increase to some of the city’s highest average rates in the past 30 years, with a 2.8% vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments. But despite this increased rental supply, stronger employment and an influx of international workers have driven up demand, resulting in fewer affordable rental options.

Convenience is one of the main reasons why rentals are in high demand. By renting your home instead of outright owning it, you leave maintenance and repairs in your landlord’s hands. But while your landlord is responsible for maintaining the property, they have no responsibility if your possessions are lost or damaged.

Tenant insurance can give you peace of mind by covering your belongings from unforeseen events like theft or fires. Learn how tenant insurance works, what its standard coverage is and what add-ons you can get, and where to get quotes for a  St. Catharines tenant insurance policy.

Why Do I Need Tenant Insurance in St. Catharines?

While tenant insurance isn’t always mandatory in St. Catharines, 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 St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines Work?

There are three types of tenant insurance policies that you can buy in St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines 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.

Who Provides Tenant Insurance Quotes in St. Catharines?

There are different ways that you can get a tenant insurance quote in St. Catharines. 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.

What Is Not Included in a Typical St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines 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 30 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 St. Catharines. 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 St. Catharines?

The cost of St. Catharines 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 St. Catharines:

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 a St. Catharines 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 Tenant Insurance in St. Catharines Usually Cost?

The average cost of tenant insurance in St. Catharines is $225/year. This city average is lower than the average cost of tenant insurance in Ontario, which is $300 to $360/year. At less than $19/month, tenant insurance is an affordable way to cover the cost of replacing or repairing your belongings if they’re damaged or destroyed by certain perils.

Note that though $200/year is the average tenant insurance rate in St. Catharines, your own quotes may be higher or lower due to factors like your rented property type, zip code, and the property’s internal construction. Get quotes through MyChoice and compare your options to get the most affordable coverage.

A Snapshot of St. Catharines Renters

Based on a 25% sample pool taken by the 2021 Census of Population, over a third of people living in St. Catharines (35.6%, or 20,960 households) are renting their homes. 64.4% of those surveyed (37,945 households) owned their private dwellings. The vast majority of St. Catharines residents live in non-condominium homes (89.3%), with only 10.7% living in condominiums.

A January 2023 rental report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found that there was a slower transition to homeownership due to higher mortgage rates. 

This left fewer affordable rentals at a time when more students and immigrant workers were moving to the city. As a result, the average rent for purpose-built rentals in St. Catharines went up by 6.3% to $1,260, which is the fastest rent growth rate change the city’s had in over three decades. 

St. Catharines’ vacancy rate for purpose-built rentals grew to 2.8%, a 0.9% increase from 2021. This can likely be attributed to the completion of 321 new purpose-built rental apartments as of June 2022.

With more tenants staying in their current rentals and avoiding homeownership, expect St. Catharines rental prices to keep going up in the next few years.

How You Can Get Cheap Tenant Insurance in St. Catharines?

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 St. Catharines 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.

FAQs About Tenant Insurance in St. Catharines

How do I get tenant insurance in St. Catharines?

You can get tenant insurance in St. Catharines by looking for an insurer that provides this type of coverage. While processes vary between providers, here’s a general guide:

1. Compare providers: If you already have an insurer, ask if they also offer tenant insurance. They may offer to bundle tenant insurance with your existing policy for a discount. Otherwise, you can start comparing quotes from brokers, agents, direct writers, or aggregators to find the best deal.

2. Provide all necessary information for your application: Once you’ve settled on your desired coverage and insurer, you’ll need to fill in vital information such as identification cards and your rental address. Don’t forget to attach any requested additional documents.

3. Review your application and pay: If you’ve reviewed the policy and are satisfied with the terms, pay your first premium through your insurer’s preferred payment channels.

4. Get proof of insurance: After you’ve paid for your policy, your insurer will give you a certificate of insurance. You can now present a copy to your landlord as proof that you have tenant insurance in St. Catharines.

What is the cheapest tenant insurance in St. Catharines as a student?

The cheapest tenant insurance in St. Catharines as a student costs $225. Note that this is an average quote, but your own premiums may differ due to factors such as property type, desired coverage, and the location of your rental. Use MyChoice to compare quotes from different providers to get the best deal for your needs and budget.

Does landlord insurance cover the tenant in St. Catharines?

No, landlord insurance doesn’t cover the tenant in St. Catharines. Landlord insurance covers damage to the landlord’s property, their belongings (a.k.a. contents coverage), and liability in case someone gets injured on the rented property. Tenants should still get tenant insurance to cover their possessions in the event of loss or damage, as well as having liability coverage if they are responsible for damage to the landlord’s property.

Can a landlord ask for tenant insurance in St. Catharines?

Yes, a landlord can ask for tenant insurance in St. Catharines. Tenant insurance isn’t mandatory to rent property in Canada. However, a landlord may require you to get it as a condition in your lease agreement. Failure to comply with your lease conditions can result in eviction, so it’s best to read your lease’s terms and check if you need tenant insurance.

Can a landlord evict you for not having tenant insurance in St. Catharines?

No, a landlord can’t evict you for not having tenant insurance in St. Catharines as tenant insurance is not a legal requirement. However, your landlord may evict you if you agreed to get tenant insurance as part of your lease and you fail to do so. Read the conditions of your lease contract carefully, as it’s common for landlords to require tenant insurance.

Is tenant insurance cheaper in St. Catharines compared to Toronto?

No, tenant insurance is not cheaper in St. Catharines compared to Toronto. The average cost of tenant insurance in St. Catharines is $225 annually, while the average cost in Toronto is $209 annually. Note that your own premiums may be higher or lower than the city average depending on factors like property size and the value of your possessions.

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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