Tenant Insurance Tips for Your Kid's First Apartment
Realizing that your kid is about to move away from home for the first time can be momentous to a parent. They will soon be exploring the world on their own and discovering certain things about themselves. But before their departure into the "real world," it may be helpful to pass on some valuable knowledge when it comes to living away from home. And some of that knowledge has to do with rental insurance, also known as tenant insurance.
What is tenant (rental) insurance and why should my kid have it?
Although your kid's landlord may have his or her own insurance policy to cover pipes, appliances, and the physical structure of the home or building, their insurance policy will not cover your child's personal belongings, such as their furniture, clothing, and electronics (smartphone, laptop, and tablet). Let's say your kid needed to move out temporarily because of a covered loss. Tenant's insurance could pay for additional costs incurred until they were able to move back into their apartment or find another place to live.
In addition to other coverages, tenant's insurance includes liability coverage, which could protect your kid from liability if guests injure themselves in your kid's new apartment. For example, if your kid threw a party and someone slipped and fell in the apartment, they could be held financially responsible for the cost of medical expenses and lost wages. In the event of a lawsuit, it could help them cover the cost of any such damages. It could also protect them if they caused unintentional damage to the building or to the belongings of other tenants.
Tenant's insurance, all things being considered, is a fairly affordable solution compared to what could be lost financially if a potentially covered loss were to occur – yet, it's often overlooked.
Is my kid covered under my policy with TD Insurance?
If you currently have a home insurance policy with TD Insurance, your policy extends similar coverage to your kid while they are temporarily living away from home, as long as they remain a dependent of yours. This includes coverage for their personal belongings and liability.
Available limits for belongings depend on the type of policy and coverage you have, so make sure you take the time to understand the coverage in your current home insurance policy.
Here are some things to consider:
- If your child moves away permanently and is financially independent, then they will need to set up their own insurance policy.
- Only your kid is covered by your policy. If multiple roommates are sharing one property along with your kid, make sure each roommate has their own insurance coverage and that everyone is named on the lease.
- Make sure your child keeps a list of belongings and an estimated value of expensive items to ensure you have enough coverage in the event of a claim.
- Have your kid keep records or receipts pertaining to particularly important or valuable possessions.
Here are some other things to know before your kid moves out:
Once my kid signs a lease, what is he/she responsible for?
- A lease agreement is a binding contract that is made between a landlord and tenant (your kid). The lease will have all the terms and conditions related to the apartment, the landlord and tenant's responsibilities and their respective rights too. Your kid should be sure to understand the terms of the lease agreement and should ask their landlord any questions prior to signing. Once they sign, they become legally responsible for any damage they cause to the building. They may also be held responsible for any injuries that occur to visitors or other residents while in their unit.
What's included in the rent?
- Make sure they ask simple questions such as "what's included in the rent?" Utilities, such as hydro and water, are not always included. It is also beneficial to know if amenities are included, such as a washer, dryer, microwave, AC, pool, etc.
Is a deposit required?
- The deposit is a sum of money that the landlord will collect ahead of time and keep throughout the lease agreement to cover any damages that might happen to the apartment while your kid is renting it. If your kid takes care of the property and abides by the lease, they should receive some, or all of it back when the lease agreement ends.
Should my kid have a co-tenancy agreement?
- If your kid is sharing a unit with roommates, it may be beneficial to have a co-tenancy agreement. A co-tenancy agreement spells out responsibilities and liabilities for each person sharing the unit. This can include the payment of utilities, repairs, rent payments, and other expenses. It sets the expectations ahead of time and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Does my kid understand the Landlord/Tenant Act for their province?
- Have your child read up on the landlord/tenant act for their province so they know what their rights and obligations are.
Is your kid covered under your policy? If not, get a quote.