Toronto fire high­lights value of con­tents in­sur­ance: ex­perts

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

TORONTO — Ex­perts say a mas­sive fire at a Toronto ath­let­ics fa­cil­ity this week that forced the evac­u­a­tions of six build­ings vividly demon­strates why land­lords are in­creas­ingly in­sist­ing rental ten­ants ob­tain in­sur­ance for their homes.

They say the past five years have seen a no­tice­able spike in the num­ber of land­lords re­quir­ing would-be renters to prove that they have con­tents and li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance as a con­di­tion of their ten­ancy.

Though there are no num­bers track­ing the trend so far, they say anec­do­tal ev­i­dence sug­gests it’s most pro­nounced in On­tario.

They say ten­ant in­sur­ance, which typ­i­cally com­bines both the con­tents and li­a­bil­ity com­po­nents, pro­tects both land­lords and res­i­dents from un­ex­pected in­ci­dents such as Tues­day’s fire that sent heavy smoke bil­low­ing over a busy part of mid­town Toronto.

The blaze ripped through the city’s Bad­minton and Rac­quet Club, caus­ing much of the build­ing to col­lapse and prompt­ing evac­u­a­tions of nearby con­do­mini­ums and busi­nesses.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Dam­age from un­ex­pected dis­as­ters, such as the Toronto fire, would be cov­ered by many poli­cies, though in­di­vid­ual terms would vary, said Pete Kara­geor­gos, di­rec­tor of con­sumer and in­dus­try re­la­tions at the In­sur­ance Bureau of Canada.

Con­do­minium own­ers would likely be cov­ered for the cost of al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tions or smoke-dam­aged be­long­ings, Kara­geor­gos said, since most have had to ob­tain in­sur­ance as a con­di­tion of se­cur­ing a mort­gage.

But renters who felt the cost of in­sur­ance was un­nec­es­sary and chose not to pur­chase it may find bills mount­ing quickly, he said.

CHRISTO­PHER KATSAROV, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Fire­fight­ers bat­tle a six-alarm fire on Yonge Street south of St. Clair Av­enue in Toronto on Tues­day.

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