The BCNPHA Tenant Insurance Partner Program with Marsh Canada’s Private Client Services provides an affordable solution to help tenants protect their belongings and possessions from fire, smoke, water, vandalism, theft and many other circumstances. Often, people mistakenly assume that the landlord’s insurance policy will cover tenant losses in the case of a claim. The reality is that the landlord’s insurance will only cover the landlord’s liability.
We recently spoke with Pat Buchannon, CEO of New Chelsea Society and Shirley Morales, Accounting Assistant, about the importance of and benefits to tenants and landlords of having tenant insurance.
Pat We think that having tenant insurance is very important. We never talk about the importance of insurance until an event, such as fire or a water pipe bursting, has happened in a suite and tenants cannot stay during repairs. Under the Tenant Insurance program, they have access to an allowance to stay at a hotel while their unit is being repaired. For example, we had a fire incident at Chelsea Lane a few years back that originated from a cigarette and ended up in a $1-million claim and five suites damaged. Luckily the tenant had insurance that covered the cost of repairs. Otherwise, New Chelsea’s insurance would have had to pay, and our premium would have increased by a lot. From our perspective, it is very important to cover our liability and it is also important for tenants to have some protection in case something happens.
We could have a flood in our buildings because they are aging, a pipe could burst and a tenant could be rendered homeless for a couple of weeks.
We do keep one unit that can be used in case of emergency. We do not cover the cost of lost household possessions if everything gets ruined. We do what we can because we are a compassionate organization but, if a tenant has insurance they would be much more comfortable and could better deal with this kind of emergency.
Shirley Prior to COVID-19 we could conduct faceto- face rent reviews, which was helpful. We would explain the insurance is for their protection, and that in case an accident happens their insurance will “kick in” and they will not have to pay from their own pocket. Payments are very affordable starting at around $13 per month, and the coverage is very good. Since the pandemic, we ask tenants if they have insurance when we speak over the phone. If they do not, we provide a brief explanation about the importance of having it. Additionally, we put up posters in all our buildings and run articles in our newsletters to keep tenants informed about topics that we consider are in their best interest.
Pat When meeting with new tenants we encourage them when they’re signing the tenancy agreement. We have a section in our agreement in which they are advised to carry adequate insurance to cover personal property and third-party liability claims. Tenants have to agree that they are responsible if they cause damage or something happens if they do not have insurance. But we do not enforce it. However, the information is in our welcome package, which is a good practice.
Shirley Being a tenant in one of our affordable housing units under New Chelsea Society, I had the privilege of being offered an affordable Tenant’s Insurance through Marsh Canada Limited, which I signed up for in 2016. Their affordable plan has an annual premium ranging from $150 to $175, which includes earthquake coverage. In addition, being a staff member of New Chelsea Society, I have learned from experience that no one can ever predict the future and accidents can happen at any time (this is my encouraging words when I talk to our tenants during annual reviews). However, if you have insurance that is affordable you will have peace of mind from these sort of events and will come to learn how this will be a valuable investment towards the safety of your home and family.
– Shirley Morales
With our Tenant Insurance Partner Program, you will have access to a very low annual premium with monthly payment options and many other benefits. As a BCNPHA member, your tenants will have access to this program. Marsh has made the tenant insurance even easier by going paperless and launching a new website to sign up by clicking below.