Can a landlord charge me for not having renters insurance? Does Texas allow this? Where does it say they can do that?
That’s a great question, and the answer is to be found somewhere you might not have looked in a while: Your lease.
First things first, yes, Texas allows your landlord to charge you for not having renters insurance. Why? Because that’s a matter of your lease, not a matter of what a landlord may or may not do. That’s strictly between you and the landlord, and the same applies anywhere.
A landlord can charge you anything they want for not having renters insurance, so long as it’s in your lease. A landlord can also use any other remedies if you don’t have renters insurance and you’re required to.
Remember that just because it wasn’t in your original lease doesn’t mean it’s not in your lease now. If you’ve lived in the same place and signed a lease renewal, it probably includes a clause requiring renters insurance and laying out what happens if you don’t have it. The specifics of what happens will, of course, vary between communities. It’s important to read your lease renewal, just like you read your original lease when you moved in.
A landlord can use just about anything they want to encourage residents to comply with a renters insurance requirement, as long as it’s written into the agreement between tenant and landlord. There are a couple of common processes you’ll find, however.
Any And All Remedies For A Breach Of This Lease
This is the one with the widest latitude for the landlord, and also the one least commonly found on its own. This would enable the landlord to treat not having renters insurance just like not paying your rent. You may well find this phrasing in addition to the other options below, but it’s less common on its own. That’s because residents like to know what happens if they don’t perform an obligation under the lease, and landlords like to know what their options and procedures are in a specific set of circumstances.
Pay $X Per Month As A Penalty
Under this plan, you’ll be assessed an additional charge per month as a penalty for not having renters insurance. This is generally an amount larger than the average monthly cost of a policy, so it makes sense to buy renters insurance to avoid the fee.
These fees are due and payable as additional rent generally. That means two things to you. One, it’s money you pay with your rent to the landlord. Two, and this is the important one, if you don’t pay it it’s just like not paying the rest of your rent and the landlord can pursue remedies to get the money accordingly.
Pay $X Per Month To Enroll In Master Liability Policy
This option to mitigate you not having renters insurance is less common, but still frequently seen. The extra fee, due and payable as additional rent, pays for you to be enrolled in a master liability policy. That sounds good, but there are a couple of things you should be aware of.
A master liability policy provides no coverage for your personal property. The landlord isn’t responsible to insure your stuff, and couldn’t if they wanted to. This leaves you with tens of thousands of dollars of exposure if someone else has a fire, because that master liability policy may not cover their liability to you!
The master policy is going to cover your liability to the apartment community. That, too, sounds useful, but it’s very limited. Generally it covers damage to the premises from smoke, fire, water, and explosion. It will often not cover the damages that loss causes to anyone else, which means if you have a fire you’re responsible for the losses that other residents suffer as a result.
Pay $X Per Month To Enroll In Waiver Program
Sometimes, you can pay a fee for not having renters insurance and they’ll let it go. Again, due and payable as additional rent is pretty typical. Sometimes paying this fee is affordable, roughly the monthly cost of renters insurance. Sometimes it’s higher. In this case, they’ll waive the lease requirement to have a policy.
This, too, exposes you to a great deal of risk. This actually gives you less coverage than some of the other option, because it’s not a master policy – it’s just the landlord waiving their right to require you to have a policy. In some cases, the waiver program may also mean that the landlord waives their right to sue you for smoke, fire, water, and explosion damage. That’s great, but it doesn’t protect you.
Just like with the master liability policy, you’re still on the hook for losses suffered by other tenants and by anyone else impacted by the occurrence.
What’s The Best Option For Not Having Renters Insurance?
If you’re bent on not having renters insurance because you believe your landlord shouldn’t tell you what to do, or for some other personal reason, you certainly may make that choice. But between the lack of coverage in the above options and the fact that Texas Renters Insurance is so incredibly affordable, often buying a policy is the best option.
Consider it this way – you could pay $25 a month for the privilege of not buying a policy… Or you could pay around fifteen dollars a month and have all of the coverage and protection that comes with the policy. Not only does renters insurance give you the coverage you and your family deserve, it also is frequently the most affordable option even when there are ways to get out of having the coverage your lease requires.
If you need renters insurance because it’s cheaper than the other options, or because you’re worried about the risks to your property or for liability coverage, just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need Texas renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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