Insurance for tenants

Question from Laura updated on 28th September 2018:

I'm trying to find contents insurance as a renter that would cover my contents as well as any carpet damage caused by myself or my cat. Any suggestions / advice?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

You cannot insure your landlord’s goods. Your contents policy will most probably allow you to claim only for your own possessions in the event of loss or damage. However, your contents policy may have some additional Personal Liability cover that can allow for situations where other insured people want to make a claim against you. In such instances they make a claim against their own insurance policy, and their insurance company will deal with your insurance company to recover their claim.

The Court of Appeal decision in Holler & Rouse v. Osaki ruled that residential tenants are entitled to the same protection as that available to commercial tenants. This means that, if you damage the carpet and the landlord has insurance, then you are not liable for damage that you (or your cat) caused unintentionally. However, if you do have Contents insurance with additional Personal Liability cover, you may well be protected in cases where your landlord doesn’t have insurance. (I expect such cases would be rare, as most sensible landlords should have insurance cover.) In any case, I suggest you talk with your insurance company to get professional advice.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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