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What is renter’s insurance?

As a lessee, it's important to consider renter’s, or tenant’s, insurance. We speak about its purpose and importance.

4 October 2021 · Joshua White

What is renter’s insurance?

Rent is one of the largest expenses that many consumers face, and it comes with a host of responsibilities. It requires precise budgeting on a regular basis, and the ability to maintain a property for an extended period of time.

One option to consider as a lessee is renter’s, or tenant’s, insurance. We spoke to Jan de Villiers, CEO and founder of Flat Fee Homes, about its purpose and importance.

READ MORE: The costs you may encounter when renting

The purpose of renter’s insurance

According to De Villiers, “Renter’s insurance covers tenants’ belongings against certain unexpected occurrences. Should their belongings be subject to fire, theft, flood, or accidental damage, they would be covered by their insurance and would be in a position to replace these items.”

De Villiers cites a burst geyser as an example. As many tenants know all too well, this can cause major damage to electrical appliances and furniture.

“In this event,” De Villiers says, “the landlord’s building insurance will see to the repair work of the structure, but the tenant’s insurance will look after the replacement of furniture and appliances.”

In short, if anything happens to the structure of the apartment that is not the fault of the tenant, such as a fire in the building, the landlord would need to contact their insurance providers. The tenant, of course, has a responsibility to keep the interior of the property in good order, but they cannot be held liable for structural damage that is caused by incidents outside of their control.

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Renter’s insurance vs landlord’s insurance

It’s important to remember that, as a tenant, there are certain things you are liable for and certain things that fall under the responsibility of your landlord. If you’ve just moved into a rental property, it will be worthwhile to differentiate between them.

Indwe Risk Services explains landlord’s (houseowner’s) insurance and renter’s (householder’s) insurance, as follows.

“Houseowner’s insurance is cover that is exclusively available for the landlord, as they alone have an insurable interest in the actual dwelling.

“Householder’s insurance can be for the landlord or the tenant depending on the circumstances. Should the house be let out furnished, the landlord will need to insure the contents, since the property belongs to them,” Indwe says.

“Where the house is let out without furniture, or with minimal movable property, the tenant will need to furnish the house with their own or hired equipment, and would need to arrange their own separate policy to cover this property. They will also need to cover any of the landlord’s property for which they are legally responsible.”

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