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Tenant Insurance in Canada: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Jessica Steer
Find out what tenant insurance does and doesn’t cover in Canada, if it’s worth it, and what providers are the best and the cheapest. But first, let’s first review what tenant (or renter's) insurance is and how it works…
Table of Contents

    What is tenant insurance?

    Tenant insurance, also known as renter’s insurance, is financial protection against loss of belongings, property damage, and personal liability in your rental home. 

    While your landlord will have home insurance to cover property damage, the contents within – your belongings – won’t necessarily fall under that policy. If your belongings are damaged or stolen, rental insurance will help cover the replacement costs. In addition, tenant insurance can cover temporary living expenses and tenant liability claims.

    How does tenant insurance work?

    This type of insurance works like any other insurance: each month you will pay a premium and should you need to make a claim, you pay the deductible, and the insurance company covers costs beyond the deductible. The larger your deductible, the smaller your monthly premium.

    The monthly premium is based on several factors, including the residence’s size, location, age, construction, and type. Your previous claims history and age are also considered. A 2000 sq. ft. property has more contents and residents than a 500 sq. ft. property, meaning there is a higher chance of problems arising. Likewise, a property in a high-crime area may be more susceptible to theft, increasing the risk for the insurance agency and resulting in higher premiums.

    There is a difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement costs when it comes to contents insurance. The actual cash value replaces your contents at their current value including depreciation. A replacement cost policy will replace your items as if you were buying them brand new today.

    There may also be limits to how much you can claim on items like collectibles, jewellery, art, and wines and spirits.

    What does tenant insurance cover?

    You may be surprised by the scope of what renter’s insurance can cover. The three main areas of coverage are:

    • Contents insurance: This protects your belongings (such as furniture, jewelry, TV, and laptop) if they're stolen or damaged.
    • Liability insurance: This covers you if someone injures themselves in your residence and decides to take legal action against you. It also protects you if you’ve caused damage to other people's property or your own (for instance, if you leave a tap running and flood your apartment and cause water damage to a neighbouring unit).
    • Additional living expenses: This pays for your expenses if you have to temporarily live elsewhere, such as a hotel, due to your rented space becoming unlivable as a result of an insured peril (ex. flood or fire).

    A comprehensive insurance plan can also include:

    • Non-owned property: Coverage for personal property belonging to others while it is in your possession
    • Personal property at other locations: Coverage for personal property while it is temporarily away from your premises, anywhere in the world.
    • Belongings in your vehicle: Coverage for theft, attempted theft or burglary of personal property that is inside or on any automobile that is parked on or away from your premises.

    What isn’t covered by tenant insurance?

    While tenant insurance covers a lot of circumstances, there are some things that it won’t (no matter how much you wish it would):

    • Broken TV: It depends. If your TV breaks because your child chucked the remote at the screen or it’s just plain old, the claim will be denied. However, if it was destroyed in a fire or stolen, then it is likely covered.
    • Car damage: While the belongings inside your car may be covered by renter’s insurance, damage to the vehicle itself isn’t covered. For that, you’ll have to rely on your auto insurance.
    • Water damage: This one is a little complicated. Tenant insurance covers water damage to your belongings from some common causes like accidental overflows or a discharge of water. However, it usually won’t cover damage caused by weather-related events, like backed-up sewage or a flood. Your landlord is responsible for maintaining the building itself, while you must maintain your own living space and belongings. This means that you don’t have to replace any pipes if your plumbing breaks, but you are responsible for replacing your own damaged property. Some basic plans may cover water damage from events like burst pipes and leaking appliances. For coverage of water damage from storm waters, spring thaw, and other freshwater flooding, expect to pay an extra cost. There are no hard and fast rules around water damage coverage, so pay extra attention to the fine print.
    • Mould damage: Since it is seen as the result of neglecting home maintenance, mould is frequently not covered by renter’s insurance. It may be covered if it is the direct result of water damage from a covered event.
    • Bed bugs: Most renter’s policies will not cover the cost to exterminate bed bugs or the damage caused by them.
    • Earthquakes: Tenant insurance does not usually include coverage for earthquakes. Because earthquakes can cause significant damage, including earthquake coverage will increase your monthly premium.

    Who needs tenant insurance? 

    Arguably, if you’re renting then you should have tenant insurance. Tenant’s insurance isn’t required in Canada, though many landlords will require it as terms of the lease. Even if your landlord doesn’t ask for it, it’s still a wise decision.

    Consider the value of the goods in your home and if you could afford to replace all of them. Ask yourself, “Could I afford to replace all my personal belongings?” For most, the answer is “No.” Without renter’s insurance, you could find yourself without a home or belongings and no way to pay for accommodation or replacements. 

    Additionally, if you cause accidental damage to someone else’s property, you could be on the hook to repair or replace what was damaged. With tenant’s insurance, you’re much less likely to have to shoulder those costs.

    Unless you have a large amount of savings and can handle unexpected costs at any time, tenant insurance is a worthwhile purchase.

    How much is tenant insurance on average? 

    Tenant insurance varies by province, generally ranging from $12 to $30 per month ($144 to $360 annually). Rate Hub found that on average, Canadians pay $23 per month in tenant insurance, with British Columbians on the higher end at $26 per month and Ontarians on the lower end at $21 per month. 

    The typical liability coverage for someone taking legal action after injuring themselves on your property is $1 million, though some plans go up to $2 million. The average amount for belonging insurance is $25,000. 

    To make your claim, you’ll need proof of your policy and documentation of the items you lost and how much they cost. Detailed record-keeping will help with this, so consider recording costs for big-ticket items or even filming a video walkthrough of your home.

    Which tenant insurance should I get?

    There is no singular type of tenant’s insurance, but overall, all plans include content, liability, and living expense coverage. 

    “All Perils” or “All Risk” plans offer the most comprehensive coverage available in Canada and exclude only those events stated in your policy. Some providers offer all risk plans while others offer basic plans with the option to add on coverage for events like earthquakes, floods, overland water damage, and identity theft.

    Who sells tenant insurance? 

    One of the most popular providers is Square One. Square One’s plans are all comprehensive (All Risk) and highly customizable. Their plans start at $12/month, making them one of the cheapest providers in Canada. They also offer deductibles ranging from $250 to $5,000, as well as liability starting at $500,000.

    Sonnet is another popular national provider. Their main selling points are 24/7 customer service, online self-service and account management, and express claims. They offer customized plans with a median annual cost of $355/year (about $30/month). Their basic plan even includes coverage for identity theft and unit improvements.

    For those looking for a simple but flexible plan, Duuo is worth considering. They don’t have any annual commitments or cancellation fees, allowing you to go month-to-month on your insurance. The basic tenant insurance costs $12-20 per month, the personal liability limit is $1 million or $2 million dollars, and content coverage limits are $25,000 $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000.

    Also worth mentioning are the Canadian mainstays TD Bank, Royal Bank, and CAA.

    To get a better sense of rates, we created a couple of test properties. The rates below are based off a 650 sq. ft. one-bed, one-bath apartment built in 1956 in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood and a 2000 sq. ft. single-family house with no basement built in 2005 in Red Deer, Alberta.

    Sonnet plan


    Apartment in Toronto

    House in Red Deer




    Highlights of Sonnet plan

    • $1,000,000 Liability Coverage
    • $10,000 per loss, $3,000 per item 
    • Special Belongings coverage
    • $50,000 Personal Belongings Coverage
    • Full Sewer Backup Coverage
    • Full Overland Water Coverage
    • Full Hail

    Duuo plan


    Apartment in Toronto

    House in Red Deer




    Highlights of Duuo plan

    • Loss or Damage to your Personal Property from theft, fire, burst pipes, accidental and sudden water leakage, unauthorized use of Debit & Credit Cards
    • Temporary residence expenses due to an insured event
    • $50,000 Personal Property Coverage
    • $1,000,000 Liability Coverage
    • $1000 deductible

    Square One plan


    Apartment in Toronto

    House in Red Deer

    Square One



    Highlights of Square One plan

    • Covers burglary, fire, hail damage, inland flood, water back up, and wind damage, and theft
    • $50,000 Personal Property Coverage
    • $1,000,000 personal and premises liability coverage
    • $1000 deductible
    • $25,000 additional living expenses
    • $10,000 identity theft and financial loss

    TD Insurance plan


    Apartment in Toronto

    House in Red Deer

    TD Insurance



    Highlights of TD Insurance plan

    • $50,000 Personal Property Coverage
    • $1,000,000 personal and premises liability coverage
    • $1000 deductible
    • $25,000 additional living expenses
    • $50,000 extended water damage

    Some insurance companies, like Sonnet and TD, also offer discounts for graduates of Canadian universities and employees of some companies. From the above, Duuo wins on price while the next lowest, Square One, makes up for the price difference with more comprehensive coverage.

    How does tenant insurance work with housemates?

    If you live with immediate family members, your tenant’s insurance policy should also cover their belongings. Roommates aren’t automatically covered in your policy, though some providers (like Sonnet) allow you to add roommates.

    Can tenant insurance be transferred? 

    If you move, your policy can be transferred to your new address. Your rate may change depending on your new property. Policies can’t be transferred to another holder, so you can’t leave pass them on to the tenants after you.

    Make a move with Spring

    While tenant insurance is a worthwhile expenditure, it’s yet another cost that isn’t going towards your own home. If you’re ready to stop renting and start owning, reach out to Spring Financial today. You can quickly and easily get pre-approved online for your mortgage and start your journey towards homeownership. 

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