Can a Landlord Require Renters Insurance?

Landlord Holds Keys to Rental PropertyWhile approximately 95% of homeowners in the U.S. have homeowners insurance, only about 57% of renters have renters insurance. Unlike car insurance, here in Massachusetts, renters insurance is not required by law. And although the benefits of having renters insurance are various, with policies starting at very low premiums, many still choose to go without in order to save a few dollars a month. But wait—not so fast. Even if it’s not a government mandate, landlords often ask that their tenants do make the investment. This begs the question: Can landlords be the ones to require renters insurance? 

Renters Insurance Vs. Homeowners Insurance 

First, let’s make sure we have a basic understanding of the key differences between renters insurance and homeowners insurance. In a straightforward fashion: 

  • Renters insurance is meant for tenants renting a place to live, whereas homeowners insurance is for those who own the home. 
  • While homeowners insurance covers the structure of the building (e.g., walls, floors, roof) plus all the owner’s belongings in the house, renters insurance covers the tenant’s belongings in the space (i.e., not the structure). Hence, homeowners insurance is more expensive than renters, as it covers more. 

Misconceptions About Renters Insurance 

Among many common renters insurance myths (of which you can read our top five in this blog), one that stands out the most is the idea that if something goes wrong, the landlord’s insurance on the house or apartment you’re renting will cover you. This is not true! When it comes to personal belongings, remember that the landlord’s insurance covers their things, while renters insurance covers your things. 

Will My Landlord Require Renters Insurance? 

Landlords can and often do require tenants to have renters insurance. As long as it’s clearly stated in the lease agreement and is required of all tenants living on the property, it’s allowed. So, asking if it will be required is a good question during the rental search process, and you should always be sure to read carefully before signing a lease. They might ask you to provide proof of insurance upon move-in. Here are some reasons why your landlord mandating renters insurance can be beneficial to them: 

  • Increases protection on their rental property, without adding to their own expenses 
  • Mitigates the risk of conflict if/when something goes wrong 
  • Reduces the risk of damage caused by tenants’ pets 
  • Provides peace of mind 

Of course, a renters insurance policy doesn’t only behoove the landlord. Some of the ways you as a tenant might benefit from having insurance include coverage of: 

  • Damage from theft, accident, fire, and more 
  • Damage caused by your pets or children 
  • Hotel costs or additional living expenses in case of disaster, “loss of use” 
  • Your personal belongings, borrowed belongings, and all possessions in the rental 
  • Medical expenses for a guest of yours injured on the property 
  • Legal fees if someone sues you over an injury sustained on the property 

Tip: if your landlord isn’t requiring renters insurance, but you’re going to get the coverage anyways, you can consider negotiating your rent payment prior to signing the lease—perhaps they’ll shave a little bit of the monthly cost off in exchange for you paying to protect yourself and their property.  

The bottom line is: whether your landlord is going to require renters insurance or not, it’s always a good idea for you as a tenant to protect yourself and your belongings by purchasing insurance upon renting a place to live. For a small premium each month, you’re not only getting personal property and personal liability coverage, you’re also getting peace of mind! Let’s get your rental space insured today. Contact us to talk about our renters insurance policy options and our competitive pricing—it’s not an investment you’ll regret making!