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First Hand Experience: The Importance Of Rental Insurance

I originally published this post in the early days of the blog before any real traffic. My in-laws have recently been dealing with a very similar insurance issue of their own so I decided to re-publish in hopes of educating (more) people about the potential hazards of not having rental insurance. Please don’t get caught without it!

Before the Hubs and I bought our house we had a sweet little one bedroom apartment we called home for two years. Quickly growing out of it and longing for a ‘space of our own’ we bought our current home but not before making good use of our rental insurance.

Hot Water Heating

Hubby came home for lunch one day only to grab something for work. I was at work and not to be home for a few hours. While he was walking down our hallway he noticed the floor outside our neighbors door was wet…so was the floor in front of ours…water was pouring out from under our door. Hubby’s first thought was that he’d left a tap on, but when he opened the door he was greeted with a face full of steam, we had a hot water pipe break in the bedroom, underneath the exterior window.

The water had most likely been pouring out for hours. There was thousands of dollars worth of damage both to the apartment itself and our possessions. I am so thankful we had rental insurance. A quick phone call to our insurance company brought an adjuster to assess the damage.

Did I mention it was 2 weeks before Christmas? Yeah, it was great fun.

Dealing With The Mess

Our apartment was unlivable. They had to tear out walls, floors and dehumidify the place for days.

Most of the damage was in the bedroom where the pipe was located. Almost everything was ruined. The bed, all our bedding, TV, furniture, clothing and storage under bed all had water damage and black silt all over it. Thankfully our landlords were very accommodating and put us in another (furnished) unit while stuff was getting sorted out.

Upon inspection, the welder said that the pipe broke due to a weak solder joint where the pipe had bent around a corner. The landlords seemed to agree and nothing else was ever said to us.

We were back in our apartment two days before Christmas, sleeping in our new bed! It was nice.

The Threats 

The threats didn’t start until after the holiday season.

The landlords approached us on behalf of the property owners sometime in January looking for damages.

Ummm WTF?! Damages?!

Apparently, the property owners decided it was our fault the pipe broke because, apparently, we left the window open (in -10 degree Celsius weather) and, apparently, we didn’t turn the heat on enough to move the water properly through the pipes?! Ummm, Yeah. Ok.

They were after us for over $3000.00 in damages to pay for the flooring and dehumidification of the apartment (which, by the way was run out of our unit so was therefore added to our power bill).

We said NO. It wasn’t our fault your pipe was a piece of crap and broke when we weren’t home, had a window open? Or didn’t turn the heat on?!

They didn’t care. The property management called us personally and told us ”Your credit rating will be affected if you don’t pay us because we will have to SUE you, and court settlements ruin your credit rating”. I’m not kidding. I’m thankful we had even half a brain to realize these are empty threats and completely untrue.

Had we ended up in court, given our financial situation at the time, we would of had to look at financing options like an online loan site to help us while going through the legal process. Thankfully we didn’t end up down that road though!

Lesson Learned

The point of my story is that a week before the flood happened I suggested to hubby we cancel our rental insurance and save the $18.00/month. I am so thankful my husband said no.

Our insurance reimbursed us for everything and then some (gave us monetary replacement value for stuff we considered to be crap). More than that, they dealt with the property management company after we called them to tell them about the threats we had received. Truthfully I don’t know what the end result ever was. We moved in August of the same year and although they kept our damage deposit (for ‘damages’, and after saying we were getting it back) I didn’t ask what ever came about with the situation. I wanted to remove myself as much as I could and let the big boys deal with it.

The $360.00 we spent in renters insurance over the 20 months we lived there was probably the best $360.00 we’ve ever spent. It paid for itself 10x over in terms of item replacement and a million times over for dealing with the a-hole management company.

Moral of the story: Get rental insurance if you don’t already have it, it could be some of the best invested money ever spent should you require it.

Have you ever made a claim on rental insurance?