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 covers the house or flat you're renting against all kinds of risks.. 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. This is also called 'third party’s right of recovery'.
Tip You can add on to your property insurance with, among other things, tenant's legal assistance cover. This cover provides you with legal assistance and support if you have a dispute with your landlord.
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.
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.
So, if you want to be sure, take out your own property insurance and things like your home contents will be covered against claim events.
Is fire insurance compulsory?
That depends on which region your rented property's situated in. Flemish landlord and tenant law will be changing on 1 January next year. From that date, tenants will be under a legal duty to take out property insurance. Wallonia made tenant's insurance compulsory on 1 September of this year. Brussels has not yet officially gone that far. Landlords can nonetheless include it as a condition of contract. You need to agreebefore you can sign. If you don't, the landlord may refuse to let the property to you. You should bear in mind that property insurance safeguards both your belongings and your liability towards other people. That's to your benefit. Especially given your responsibility for later returning the property in the same state as when you moved in.
Have you got more questions about property insurance? You might find the answer in our FAQs.