Can a landlord make you buy renters insurance?
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A decade ago, mandatory renters insurance was so rare that landlords who tried to impose it risked losing tenants.

Today it’s as much a part of the rental process as a security deposit, credit check and first month’s rent. But in the early 2000s, when the cost of property insurance for apartment owners skyrocketed, landlords sought to reduce their costs. Now a $ 100,000 deductible is common at large complexes. The high deductible reduces an owner’s premium, but leaves him with a hefty bill each time a tenant starts a stove fire or lets the water overflow. The solution: File a claim against a tenant’s policy instead. “Landlords are getting wise. They’re drafting smarter and smarter leases that allow them to go after the tenants,” says Gary Wickert, a partner with Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer and an expert on subrogation. “Renters insurance will hire a lawyer to defend tenants, but it also provides a target for landlords. Now the landlord has a tenant with insurance, instead of a tenant without insurance.”

Renters insurance combines liability coverage, which pays for damage to the property caused by the tenant’s negligence, with personal property coverage, which pays to help replace a tenant’s damaged or stolen property, items that are not covered under the building’s policy. (

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