Jakob Renpening

We have insurance for everything — cars, boats and even ourselves.

Yet many eschew the idea of securing renter’s insurance, or just don’t think about getting it at all, according to a 2013 Statistics Canada finding that less than half of renters are covered.

With so much confusion over what renter's insurance is, there’s been a push among landlords and insurance providers alike to help educate and inform renters across the country of the value of a little thing called foresight.

"More and more property managers are including the purchasing of renter's insurance as a requirement on their leases," says Leonard Drimmer, CEO at Property Vista Software Inc. "Often, the property manager's insurance only covers the building itself. This means that renters — and their belongings — need separate coverage."

And here lies the education gap when it comes to renter's insurance. Renters often make the false assumption that their landlord has insurance that will cover them in the event of a fire or even something as seemingly benign as a burst pipe. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. News reports on apartment fires across the Greater Toronto Area occur almost every week. Think you’re not at risk? Think again. Findings from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reveal that fires in residential units account for 60 per cent to 70 per cent of fire injuries annually.

From a French-fry mishap in a basement apartment on Wilson Heights in September to a fatal two-alarm fire caused by “careless smoking” at Kipling and Avenue last May, the message is clear: these things do happen and they happen all the time.

The prospect of losing your belongings to a fire or flood, on top of possible medical bills, is a frightening one. But by investing in renter's insurance, you can help to put your mind at ease, and without breaking the bank. StatsCan researched rental insurance quotes listed by various providers and determined the average monthly rate ranges between $13 and $25. Drimmer’s software, which offers TenantSure, averages out at just $120 a year — or $10 a month.

While you may think your belongings don't warrant insurance coverage, in the event of an emergency situation where most of those items are lost, you'll be glad to have it. Renter's insurance can cover everything from your television and computer to your jewellery and clothing — all things you will likely want to replace. Many renter's insurance policies also provide temporary housing in the event your apartment is deemed unliveable due to a fire.

As with most insurance, you may not realize how much you need it — until you actually need it.

Personal Finance