Planning to rent a house or an apartment? Of course, you want comprehensive insurance covering you against risks like fire, water or storm damage and burglary. We'll explain how you can get the best protection as a tenant.
A brief guide to fire insurance
Fire insurance protects your rented home against all kinds of loss and damage. A standard fire insurance policy covers:
- Your liability to the landlord as a tenant: cover of damage you cause to your rented home
- Your contents: including damage to furniture in – and in certain cases – outside your home
- Your liability for damage to third-party property, including unintentional damage to your neighbours' property. In the banking world, we also call that 'third-party recourse'.
What am I covered for?
The fire insurance policy covers your rented apartment or house and contents against the following risks, among others:
- Lightning strike
- Storm damage
- Vehicle collision
- Damage caused by an aircraft or a tree
- Smoke damage
- Electrical damage
- Hail and snow damage
- Glass breakage
- Water damage
- Leaking fuel oil tank
Important: leaking fuel oil tanks are not usually covered automatically. It's a good idea to take out a separate policy for leaks caused by corrosion.
What about the communal parts? ?
The landlord or owner is required to insure the whole building. This includes any communal parts, the walls or any loss or damage in general for which the owner can be held liable.
Waiver of recourse
A lease may contain a 'waiver of recourse' clause. What does this mean? Your landlord has their own fire insurance policy. Their insurance company can claim against you if you're responsible for a claim event. The 'waiver of recourse' option protects you against this.
Bear in mind that the 'waiver of recourse' clause only applies to losses covered by the owner-landlord's fire insurance policy. So, if the owner doesn't pay their premium, you won't be covered. This option doesn't include 'third-party recourse' either. If the loss or damage affects your neighbours, their insurer might come knocking on your door too.
Is fire insurance compulsory?
Yes and no. In principal, fire insurance isn't actually required by law. But your landlord can still ask you to take out a policy. Even before you sign your lease. If you don't do so, your landlord can refuse to let the home. Did you know that fire insurance protects your liability as well as your property? That's a good thing. Especially since you're responsible for returning the rented home in its original condition at some point in the future.