Insure your own belongings, even if you are renting

Fires in several high-rise residential buildings recently have highlighted the fact that even when you are renting a home, you still need to insure your own belongings – like furniture, clothes, jewellery and computers – against loss in the event of crime or disaster
“In managing thousands of rental properties,” says Andrew Schaefer, MD of national property management company Trafalgar*, “we find that tenants often have insurance for their cars, but no cover for the goods inside their homes or even the electronic items like cell phones and laptops that they carry around with them.
“This usually arises from a misunderstanding about what is covered by the landlord’s building insurance, or the insurance that is jointly paid for by the owners in a sectional title scheme to cover the actual structures. However, it is an oversight that could potentially prove extremely costly.”
Unless you have your own household contents policy, he explains, you are unlikely to receive any compensation if your belongings are stolen. “In addition, you are unlikely to have any liability cover to provide protection in case someone is hurt when visiting you or working in your home, and that could put all your current and future earnings at risk.
“Most household contents policies include third party liability cover for this reason, at a very small additional premium, and it is well worth having, especially if you have pets.”
Schaefer says tenants living in highly secure apartment buildings or sectional title complexes may argue that they don’t need insurance because the risk of being burgled is so low, “but they forget about the risk of another resident being negligent and causing a fire in the complex, for example, or their upstairs neighbour leaving a tap running and causing their home to be flooded.
“Sectional title schemes are also not immune to lightning strikes, electrical faults and other disasters, and in such cases the body corporate insurance would only cover structural damage to the exterior of the buildings in the scheme. Residents without their own household contents insurance would thus receive no payout for anything else damaged or destroyed, from couches, curtains and carpets to clothes, appliances, electronics and sports equipment.
“That would be a severe blow, especially for young tenants who are just starting out in life and really can’t afford to replace a lot of expensive items all at once - and one that could easily have been avoided for a relatively low monthly cost.”
Indeed, he says, it is a good idea for all tenants to take an inventory of their belongings, work out the total cost of replacing all those items, and then ask themselves if they can really afford not to be properly insured. “To work out what to include in that inventory, the easiest way is to imagine your home being turned upside-down and then simply listing every single thing that would fall to the floor if that were really to happen.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Whenever changes in the political ecosystem of a traditional property market create uncertainty, smart investors begin to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Property experts at IP Global have analysed the trends and crunched the numbers to find new markets to explore in Europe and the United States.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      During the last decade, rampant development has progressively transformed Cape Town’s property landscape with densification being the order of the day, but there are still one or two hidden gems like Scarborough which have retained their original character, offering an inimitable lifestyle and an attractive investment opportunity.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody. According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      Choosing to buy your first home instead of continuing to rent is a big decision that will usually take some time to put into action, but the sooner you can save up a sizeable deposit, the closer you will be to reaching your goal.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      Selling your home is no small task and as you will quickly find out, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Gerhard van der Linde, Seeff's MD in Pretoria East lists the top 5 misconceptions when you are selling your home.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      The Cape Town municipality is now installing water-management devices at properties that have been non-compliant with the new level 5 water restrictions and there are talks of fines between R5,000 and R10,000 for households that use too much water.
    • 17 Apr 2018
      The recent interest rate cut has stoked the coals in the first-time buyer’s market. At least for the next two months until the next interest rate announcement, homeowners are guaranteed lower monthly instalments than in the previous quarter. But, is it wise to take out a 100% bond just to enter the property market while interest rates are low?
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us