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Dear Patty - Renter's Insurance

Monday, June 18, 2012  
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Dear Patty:

I’m often asked by tenants if they really need renter’s insurance. They claim to never have had problems in the past, and they seem to feel they are "throwing money down the drain.” What should I tell them?

--Tenants Happily Uninsured

Dear Uninsured:

Make it easy on yourself! I recommend that all property management companies utilize a lease that requires tenants to carry renter’s insurance, and ensure that tenants are aware of the requirement. Then it’s a simple matter to inform tenants that failure to have renter’s insurance is a violation of their lease.

There are a several additional points you can make to the skeptics. Try explaining that insurance policies carried by the owner of the property will not cover any losses the renter incurs (contrary to what many renters believe). The owner’s policy covers only the owner’s "stuff” and the renter’s policy covers only the renter’s stuff. For example, if the refrigerator breaks down, the owner’s policy covers the cost of the refrigerator but the renter’s policy covers the cost of the ruined food.

You can also point out that most renter’s insurance policies cover "loss of use.” This coverage provides reimbursement or an allotment to tenants who are displaced — for example by a fire in the property — so they can pay for temporary housing.

Finally, try making a graphic comparison. Dinner for four at a fast-food restaurant runs about $25. But one month of renter’s insurances costs only about $10! That’s a lot of peace of mind for a very little price.

Good luck,


"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Subcommittee. Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to

The ORRA Property Management Subcommittee provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.

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