Picture this: a fire breaks out in a property. The tenants are displaced, and their stuff is ruined. Accidents do happen and, in the case, above, a renters insurance policy would help the tenant with their belongings AND hotel accommodations with no cost to the owner. Theft, water damage, fire and vandalism are risks that can be mitigated with renter’s insurance.
Renters insurance is a policy that covers tenants’ personal property. This insurance is usually cheap and once explained to the tenants, most want it. Del Val's leases require our tenants to have rental coverage AND that we are listed on the policy either as a named insured or a beneficiary. This is important as the insurance company will notify us if the tenant does not 1) renew the policy or 2) defaults on the policy. It is also easier to file a claim when you are listed on the policy.
If the lease does NOT state that rental insurance is required, then you cannot make the tenant get a policy. On the other hand, if the lease requires it and the tenant does not have it, this could be a way to end the lease. Another note, you cannot require a tenant purchase a lease from XYZ company however you can require a specific amount of coverage (it must be considered reasonable). Proof of coverage is all that can be required.
Rental insurance is not expensive and has many benefits for both the tenant and the owner. From the tenant's perspective, they are insured if their property gets damaged. Temporary housing is available as well. Medical expenses if someone is injured. Accidents outside the home (excluding car accidents) AND legal defense costs are all included for tenants. The owners benefit as any loss can be diminished.
If you do not have a requirement in your lease for renter’s insurance, you can add it at renewal. Check your leases (if it's not Del Val) and get yourself and your tenants covered.
Elisha Heebner is the Assistant Director of Rental Services and property manager of Del Val Realty and Property Management. Elisha specializes in property management as many homeowners today need a competent, caring person to handle these affairs for them. Professionally, it is her duty to provide services to her clients with integrity, competence, and confidentiality.