Renter’s Insurance Requirement for Rental


    About to become a landlord for a two bed/2 bath apt in PS and wonder what the board’s view is on requiring tenants to maintain renter’s insurance. I will be keeping a condo policy in place for the home and think it makes sense (and have been so advised by my lawyer) to require the tenant to carry his or her own policy. Any rule of thumb for the amount of contents, liability etc. I should require. Thanks!

    4 Replies

    1. These are all very thoughtful and helpful responses. Thanks H4MC, GA and invisible. Good weekend!

    2. As a renter, I think it’s a great idea. Not only does it give you a piece of mind, it helps educate your tenants on how to be responsible renters. While I’ve always carried rental insurance, my current lease does contain a provision that requires me to maintain a policy with a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage. I was told by my LL that this provision helps offset the cost of his umbrella policy for the bldg. As for the personal property coverage, I would leave that up to the renter. I’m sure your lease has standard language releasing you from any liability with respect to personal property (except for gross negligence on your part). I always recommend that my friends prepare a written inventory of all of their belongings upon packing or unpacking to help them determine what type of coverage they should carry. I’m currently with Amica Mutual, and have found their customer service to be exceptional. Geico outsources to Liberty Mutual in NY. I’ve found the average cost for a basic 100k liability/20k personal property to run in the neighborhood of $17.00/month. I’d work out the language of the specific lease provision with your attorney.

    3. We have a rider to our lease stating that our tenants must have rental insurance. We didn’t specify an amount. We have always explained to new tenants that our homeowners policy doesn’t cover their belongings. Once you say that, people understand and the policies are not expensive. And if they don’t buy one, well, we warned them.

    4. rental insurance is quite different than homeowners. all but one of my LL’s required renters insurance. as far as contents, i wouldn’t really care as long as they can replace their work clothes in order to pay the rent.

      the landlord who did require it (late 90’s) stipulated a min $500k of liability. that seemed pretty strict, but still not completely unreasonable (it was a newly reno’d building as well, in the crazy time of showing up with broker and checkbook in rental-mania).

      something to keep in mind, at that time state farm was the only one i knew that had $500k as standard, otherwise everyone else had to purchase an umbrella (which probably turned some people off). Don’t know how the limits have changed since then at the majors or not.