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'Highly recommend': Fires in Winnipeg highlight the importance of tenant insurance

quail ridge fire

A fire at a Winnipeg apartment block that destroyed the building and displaced 180 people has highlighted the importance of tenant insurance.

Last month, a fire ripped through Quail Ridge Apartment Homes, leaving some people with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Several of the people who lived in the building said they don’t have tenant insurance and are now relying on donated food, money and clothes.

Kelly Melchor, executive director of Winnipeg Insurance Brokers Ltd., said she recommends all renters get tenant insurance.

“Legally, you don’t need to have renter's insurance, but there are going to be some places that will require you to have it…but we would highly recommend, even if it’s not necessary to have, that everyone always insures themselves with renter's insurance,” Melchor said in an interview on Thursday.

Tenant insurance covers a wide variety of issues, including damages and losses caused by theft, smoke, fire, water and vandalism. It helps cover the cost of repairs for accidental damages, as well as guest injuries in your rental unit. Tenant insurance can also protect you if an animal you own injures someone.

Melchor said tenant insurance also helps renters who end up displaced due to situations like the fire at Quail Ridge Apartment Homes.

“If there’s a total loss due to a fire, and you can’t live in your unit for a period of time, your insurance policy can pay for you to have alternate living arrangements until you’re able to get back into your place,” she said.

Melchor explained there are different insurance packages people can get, adding that some of them are “quite affordable.” She said you can build on your package based on the type of coverage you are looking for.

“We don’t want people to undervalue what they’ve got,” she said.

“Think about how much would it cost to replace these if you’re starting brand new. Think about the deductible amounts that you’re going to want to have. Think about any specialty items.”

Melchor recommends working with an insurance broker if possible to ensure that you don’t miss out on anything and get coverage for everything you need.

“It’s really important that you’re working with a broker, that you’re learning about what it is that you need, so that when that time comes, you don’t have any questions about what you have coverage for,” she said.

- With files from CTV’s Ainsley McPhail and Michelle Gerwing. Top Stories

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