First Hand Experience: The Importance Of Rental Insurance

Before the Mr 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….

Hubby came home for lunch one day only to grab something for work; I was at work and not due 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 explosion 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. Thank God we had rental insurance. A quick phone call to our insurance company brought an adjuster in to assess the damage.

Did I mention it was 2 weeks before Christmas?

Yeah, it was great fun.

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

In case you didn’t catch that, it was two weeks before Christmas. Our tree was up, the presents were wrapped and decorations hung. The presents were under the tree, on the opposite side of the apartment so although they got wet, thankfully nothing was ruined but it was a huge pain in the butt to deal with.

Couldn’t say the same for the stuff in the bedroom. Pretty much everything was ruined, the bed, all bedding, TV, furniture, clothing, storage under bed, all had water damage and black silt all over it (from the inside of the pipe).

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 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 none-the-less) 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. Thank God again we have even half a brain to realize these are empty threats and completely untrue.

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.

What was I thinking?

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’ haha) 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.

p.s. – nobody talks about this, but I’m all about having insurance and I’m probably going to get a full package of insurance when I’m older, life insurance, supplemental disability insurance, medicare supplemental insurance.  You name it, I’m buying it.

5 thoughts on “First Hand Experience: The Importance Of Rental Insurance

  1. Rental insurance is a must have! I bet when the property management company and the owner of your apartment realized that you had insurance they decided to have your insurance pay for damages instead of their insurance company. Nasty of them, but good thing you didn’t fall for their threats and handed it over to the insurance company. We are currently renting a house and we have a million dollars in liability damage should we cause any problems. I think it is standard in rental insurance so you might have had it as well in your policy. It is hard to keep up with all the stuff that is in insurance policies.

    On the bright side, you got all new stuff. That is cool!!

    • It’s true, they totally took advantage of the insurance aspect. The insurance company even said that. They said that claims under 5k they always try and get something for (over 5k is court settlement I guess). It makes me mad because a lot of people would have just given the money not knowing any better! I hate when people try and take advantage of others.

    • Scary stuff! It’s so cheap too! I don’t know what I was thinking when suggested we give it up, one of the dumbest things to come out of my mouth. Most places around here require it before they will rent to you.

  2. Pingback: Friday’s Circle of Friends – September 21 | Financial News Blog 2012

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