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Navigating Tenant Insurance and Apartment Hunting

By April 15, 2024Personal Insurance
A content woman with a warm smile, holding a cup of coffee, is seated on a cardboard box in a sunlit living room, signifying a new move. Stacks of books lie by her side, with a plush blue sofa and a healthy green plant in the background. The cozy and minimalist decor emphasizes a fresh start, highlighting the importance of tenants insurance for new renters.

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When searching for a new apartment, one critical aspect that often goes overlooked is tenants’ insurance. This insurance covers your personal belongings in the case of theft, damage, or disaster. Also, it provides liability coverage, which can be indispensable if someone is injured in your rental space. Understanding the importance of tenants’ insurance can safeguard you against unexpected financial burdens while you focus on finding the perfect rental home. As you embark on your apartment-hunting journey, keep the benefits of tenants’ insurance in mind to ensure comprehensive protection for your future home.

Apartment Hunters Checklist

Whether you’re renting for the first time or just need a refresher, use this checklist to spot potential red flags before signing a lease. Once you’re in your new place (or even if you decide not to move), dust off your renter’s policy for a quick once-over.

Surrounding Area

  • What is the surrounding area like at different times of the day? Confirm it’s safe at all hours, especially if you walk your dog or commute late at night.

Maintenance and Access

  • Have you met the maintenance technician? If not, stop by the office for a visit. Many maintenance supervisors have passkey access to all apartments. It’s a great benefit when you have a leak or get locked out of your apartment. It’s not so good when you don’t feel safe with them.

Common Areas

  • Are the common areas well-kept? Check out the laundry room, parking areas, hallways, elevators, trash chutes, recycling, storage areas, and entryways. Are they obstruction-free, secure, and well-lit? You don’t want to feel unsafe in a creepy laundry area or every time you take out the trash.


  • Are there any signs of infestation? A place might look great on the surface (even recently remodelled). Still, an infestation could be lurking behind cabinets and under sinks. Take a flashlight and look for signs of droppings and insect shedding around pipes, appliances, and sinks. Ask if they use a professional pest control service for the building.

Doors and Windows

  • Are the doors and windows in good condition? Check for locks and tight-fitting doors. Make sure all windows are functional and have screens and locks properly. Poorly maintained doors and windows are a security hazard and can be the culprit behind higher utility bills.


  • Is the plumbing in good shape? You want to avoid a reverse flow of sewer water or a burst pipe situation on your hands. Check with your insurance broker about adding sewer backup insurance to your renter’s policy.


  • Are there bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans and window ventilation? A kitchen mishap can be an olfactory nightmare if no window or exhaust fan is nearby.

Electrical Safety

  • Are the electrical sockets conveniently located, safe, and operable? Having too few outlets is inconvenient and dangerous and may force tenants to overload them with power strips and extension cords. Remember that the electrical system feeds the whole building, not just your unit. Poorly maintained electrical systems are fire hazards for everyone there, so don’t chance it.


  • What’s the parking situation? Do you have an indoor garage or an assigned stall? Is the area well-lit and maintained? If not, how hard is it to find street parking? The last thing you want at the end of a workday is to spend two hours looking for a place to park. Where you park your car (indoors or outdoors, in a secured garage or an open lot) can also affect your auto insurance. Call us to see if your chosen location will affect your rates.

Noise Level

  • Is it noisy? A barking dog could be a deal breaker if you’re working remotely. Schedule a showing for midday and again in the evening if you can swing it.

Lead Paint

  • Look for indicators of lead-based paint, like peeling on porches and other aging areas, especially in vintage buildings (1978 or earlier). Curious children might pick at peeling paint or accidentally consume fine particles that settle as dust. Property owners must tell you if there is lead paint in the building. (Don’t repaint on your own. The dust is toxic, so leave it to the professionals.)

Moisture and Mould

  • Check ceilings for moisture stains, cracks, and flaking. These could be signs of a water leak, which could sprout mould. Mould is unhealthy, especially black mould. (Even if the property owner corrects it, proper remediation could take weeks.)


  • Is the flooring clean and free from damage? Loose floorboards, threadbare carpet, and uneven floor transitions are tripping hazards for you and your guests.

Mobile Reception

  • Do you have solid mobile reception? If your cellphone is your only phone, you’ll need reliable service in all apartment areas. Call your best friend during the showing and stroll through the apartment to check the reception.

Internet Access

  • Is internet access reliable? Do you have a choice of providers? Some apartment complexes have an exclusive provider relationship, which means you’ll have to use their internet service provider or get special permission to run new lines at your expense.

About Wedgwood Insurance

Wedgwood Insurance has offices in St. John’s & Corner Brook and is Newfoundland & Labrador’s largest independent insurance broker. We provide straightforward home, auto & business insurance advice. 

With over 265 Google My Business reviews, experience the Wedgwood difference with expert advice from our dedicated team. We ensure that every client has the coverage that best suits their needs through upfront complimentary consultations and midterm reviews.

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Author Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross leads the Marketing and Communications team at Wedgwood Insurance, renowned as one of Atlantic Canada’s premier independent insurance brokers. Bringing a wealth of experience amassed over many years at some of Canada's most esteemed advertising agencies, Jamie transitioned to the insurance industry in 2017. This pivotal move has marked a period of significant professional growth and contribution to the field. A native Nova Scotian, Jamie has been a resident of St. John's, NL, since 2011, where he has become an integral part of the local community. Learn more about Jamie.

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