Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

Q&A Renters: Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

(Here's a hint: the answer is, almost always, Yes)

Table of Contents

Can a landlord require renters insurance?
Why is renters insurance required if the landlord has insurance?
Why should a landlord require renters insurance?
What's the purpose of requiring renters insurance?

Can a landlord require renters insurance?

I'm thinking about moving but the building I want to apply to requires renters insurance as part of my lease. When I searched online, I saw that there is no legal requirement that tenants must have renters insurance. If it isn't legally required, can a landlord require that I purchase renters insurance?

Although renters insurance isn't legally required, a landlord can still require that you purchase renters insurance as part of your lease. Ultimately, it's the landlord's discretion whether they want you to carry a policy. However, if you live in Oklahoma, it's against the law for a landlord to require a renters insurance policy.

That being said, when you shop around for a renters insurance policy, working with an independent insurance agent will give you the broadest range of options at a variety of prices and policy limits.

Why is renters insurance required if the landlord has insurance?

Landlords typically require renters insurance because it covers different kinds of property and liabilities than a landlord insurance policy does. Landlord insurance policies protect landlords from structural damage to the building. 

This means that the policy would pay out to your landlord if there's a covered loss that covers structural damage (this could be to other structures on the property, too, such as a fence). 

However, a landlord policy doesn't cover a tenant's personal property or a tenant's liabilities from injuries or other damages that occur on the premises. Because they provide different types of coverage, it's important to have both in place so that a landlord and any tenants are covered.

It's important to note that a landlord insurance policy generally won't cover damage you do to the building. For example, if you start a kitchen fire and there's damage, you'll need to rely on your renters insurance policy and not the landlord's policy to pay for the cost of the damage (provided it's due to a named peril in your renters insurance policy).

If you'd like more of an explanation about what renters insurance covers and what the landlord policy covers, your independent insurance agent can help.

Why should a landlord require renters insurance?

There are several reasons why a landlord should require renters insurance. The primary reason overarching all the rest is that it's in the best interest of the renter. After all, renters insurance offers multiple layers of protection including:

  • Personal property coverage: If your property is damaged or destroyed by a named peril (theft, fire, etc.), your policy will pay up to the limit to replace personal property such as furniture, electronics, and clothing.
  • Liability coverage: If your insurer finds you liable for injuries to others or damage to the property of others, renters insurance will cover the costs and any legal fees should the case proceeds to court.
  • Additional expenses: If your home is damaged by a fire or some other specified peril, your policy may cover the cost of a hotel or other short-term living arrangements while repairs are made.

In consideration of all of the above, the best reason for a landlord to require renters insurance is that doing so keeps a tenant protected where they would otherwise be vulnerable to losing everything should disaster strike. 

If you'd like to discuss the benefits of renters insurance in greater detail, your independent insurance agent can help.

What's the purpose of requiring renters insurance?

Because renters insurance isn't mandated by state law and it doesn't offer a landlord additional protection they don't already have from a landlord insurance policy, a lot of renters are left wondering why renters insurance is required at all. 

The main purpose is to facilitate a better relationship between landlords and renters. After all, even if it isn't the landlord's fault that something goes wrong, if that loss isn't covered but adversely affects the renter, the relationship is likely to become strained. 

With a renters insurance policy in place, there's a significantly lessened risk that this will happen and everyone involved is protected from relevant risks.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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