Five tips for renters to take the stress out of renting

12 July 2016

The term ‘generation rent’ highlights the fact that 30 per cent of all Kiwis are now renting, many because they’re unable to afford to buy a home of their own. As the market grows, it therefore makes sense for tenants to better understand their rights and responsibilities. So, AA Insurance has put together a few tips to help renters protect themselves, and their property, while renting.

  1. Whether you’ve rented for years or are moving out of home and into your first flat, it’s important that you take out contents insurance to cover your items from being stolen or damaged. This includes items that may be taken from your car, such as clothing, sunglasses and mobiles.

  2. You may not think you have enough ‘stuff’ worth taking out insurance for but it does all add up, and contents insurance does more than just protect your property. It can also protect you from potential financial ruin, by covering your legal liability for the accidental damage you may cause to other people’s property. For example, if you accidently cause a fire in your friend’s house, or you accidently break something in a store, or your dog causes a car accident by running into the street.

    With contents insurance, you’re covered – up to $1million of liability cover if you’re an AA Insurance customer – even if you’ve taken out as little as $2,000 worth of cover to protect the necessities. If you’re not insured, then you’ll be required to pay for the damage out of your own pocket.

    Here’s a handy calculator to help you work out how much ‘stuff’ you actually have.

  3. Legal liability cover might also include cover for any court ordered reparation in the unfortunate situation where you cause accidental injury to another person. An example might be if you injure a pedestrian by riding your bike through a red light and a court orders you to pay reparation to top up the ACC payments for the losses that person suffers as a result of the injury. If you’re an AA Insurance customer, your contents policy will include up to $250,000 worth of legal liability cover for incidents like this.

  4. Contents insurance also provides cover for your temporary accommodation should your rental home become uninhabitable, such as after a flood or a fire. At AA Insurance, this cover also applies to any family member living with you, and your domestic pets. Your insurance will also cover the cost to temporarily store your things during this time.

  5. Lastly, as most contents policies don’t cover contamination from illegal drugs, it’s important you do due diligence if you’re concerned about your rented home, or the home you’re about to move into. Ask the landlord or property manager about any past history. You could also get the home tested before you decide to rent it. These precautions could save you from any potential health risks associated with contamination. There’s more information on the Tenancy Services website.

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