Is renters insurance required? This is a questions both landlords and tenants often ask us, and in the state of Washington, we cannot legally require tenants to obtain it. We can tell everyone who rents from us to have a renters insurance policy, but there’s no way to enforce it. We cannot evict a tenant who buys it one day and cancels it the next. To avoid that hassle, we don’t require our tenants to have it. But we do strongly recommend it. Today, we’re telling you why.
Is Renters Insurance Worth It? Yes
As a renter, if your fridge goes out, the owners insurance is responsible for replacing your fridge. But they aren’t responsible for replacing the food inside your fridge. So if you just made a $500 Costco run and your fridge goes out, the owner is not responsible for covering that food loss. However, the renters insurance policy will. What if your house floods? We live in Washington. Flooding is common. Storms come in, and trees hit houses. If something like that happens, the owners insurance is responsible for the structure of the property, but not the tenant’s stuff. As a tenant, the owners insurance won’t pay to put you up somewhere if you cannot live in the house. But, your renters insurance will. As a renter, you need to consider this. There’s a belief that the owners insurance will cover everything, but it won’t. It only covers the structure and the owner’s liability. It doesn’t cover your possessions or your food or your shelter if the house becomes inhabitable.
Is Renter’s Insurance worth It? An Example
Once, we had a tenant who was cooking taquitos on his gas stove. His two-year-old daughter fell down the stairs. As a parent, his child was the first priority. But in the five minutes he was gone, hot oil from his pot caught one of the flames and started a kitchen fire. The damage to the kitchen and house was $35,000. Because he had renters insurance, they covered that portion, and he did not have to pay out of pocket. If he hadn’t had insurance, the owners insurance would have gone after him legally because he caused the property damage.
Renters insurance covers more than what you think. And, it’s cheap. If you have car insurance and you add a rental policy, sometimes you can end up paying nothing extra because bundling causes your prices on both policies to go down. The most expensive rental policy I have seen is $22 a month. That’s a small price for a lot of coverage.
So, owners need to understand we cannot require this, but tenants need to think about it. You can also buy a renter’s policy for your tenants, and if you’re interested, we can talk about it. If you have any questions about insurance for rental property or anything pertaining to property management in Kitsap County, WA, please contact us at Lighthouse Cove Property Management. We take the hassle out of renting your castle.