Some leases have a clause in it that requires tenants to obtain renters insurance. Yes, it is legal for landlords to require tenants to get insurance as a condition of the lease. Even if you're forced into getting insurance because it's a requirement, you can see how it will benefit you as a tenant. It can help you recover damages for your personal property, for example. So why do landlords sometimes require it?
When there's a conflict between landlords and tenants, a landlord would typically prefer to deal with an insurance company because they have deeper pockets. Trying to recover money from a loss is much easier if the landlord has to work with a company with financial resources, rather than their tenant. This situation creates a bridge between the landlord and tenant, which enables damages to be recovered. If you're sued by your landlord, your insurance company takes care of it, regardless of if you're at fault.
This is important to the tenant because sometimes the damage could be your fault. Fortunately, most policies cover common damage issues. For instance, if you accidently left a hot pan on the stove, which in turn causes a fire and burns your stove, causing smoke damage. This means that your property is protected with the insurance, but your landlord's main concern is usually liability.
Another reason a landlord would want to require insurance coverage for tenants is that it can keep the landlord out of litigation. If a tenant is involved in a lawsuit, they may try to hold the landlord legally responsible for the issue. With renters insurance providing liability coverage, it helps ward off potential threats.
In the event of a fire or other natural disaster, the landlord is the one responsible for putting up the costs for a tenant relocation. Because many policies offer temporary living costs for the tenant in the event of a fire, it is obvious that the landlord would want to avoid covering these costs when they don't have to.
If the insurance is so helpful to landlords, then why does the tenant have to buy it, instead of the landlord? Typically, due to the structure of the insurance company, you can't purchase policies on behalf of someone else.
Also, landlords already usually have other protection for their property in most cases. When dealing with professional landlords, their insurance policy might mandate that tenants have an insurance policy too. This would mean that the landlord's insurance company has another insurance company to collect against when that party is liable, instead of going after a tenant. Because insurance companies are only able to protect a policy holder's direct interests, including liability, this means that legally only the tenant can pay for it.
Getting renters insurance can help avoid litigation in some cases, but it isn't a panacea for many issues. If you're a tenant who is having difficulties with your landlord and there are damages involved that aren't covered by insurance, then consider talking to a lawyer. At Wolford Wayne, we are committed to helping tenants understand their rights. Contact us today to get more insight for your situation.
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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.