Toronto fire highlights value of contents insurance: experts
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.
Firefighters battle a six-alarm fire on Yonge Street south of St. Clair Avenue in Toronto on Tuesday.