Unexpected accidents can happen at your place of business that may cause damage to your unit and possibly a neighbouring unit as well. Situations like this reinforce the need for tenants insurance. Tenants Legal Liability Insurance (TLL), also known as Commercial Tenant Insurance or Tenants Liability Insurance, is a form of Commercial General Liability Insurance that protects your business against the day-to-day risks of running a business within a leased space. Here is a brief overview of what TLL insurance is, what it covers and why all businesses that rent space should have it.

What is Tenants Legal Liability Insurance?

Tenant’s Legal Liability coverage is insurance for loss or damage of a property resulting from an action of a person renting space at that property. This insurance, when purchased by the tenant, pays for the cost of the loss or damage caused by the tenant. This is different from a tenant’s content insurance policy, which covers your own possessions within your unit. Often times, additional tenant liability can provide appropriate coverage to protect against the landlord’s insurer. This policy works even if the tenant is not directly responsible for the accident (i.e. an employee of the rented office unwittingly causes a fire.)

Why does my business need TLL?

Tenants Legal Liability is important because the costs to repair damages (when they happen on commercial property) can easily reach a level that no business can afford. Your landlord may insist on your business carrying a tenant’s insurance policy to ensure that both your business and the commercial property have legal liability coverage and protection. Even if there is no such clause in your lease policy, having this coverage is a cost-effective way of making sure that an accident at your place of business doesn’t bankrupt your business.

Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance

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Tenant Liability coverage is part of a Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy. Coverage can be related to incidents that occur on your business premises or elsewhere, involving a physical injury, damage to property or some kind of reputational harm. In a nutshell, CGL insurance enables you to continue your normal operations while dealing with either real or fraudulent claims against your business.

A CGL policy protects your business from lawsuits and medical expenses related to:

  • Personal injuries that occur on your property (Bodily Injury Liability)
  • Your products or services and/or other property damages resulting from your business operations (Third-Party Property Damage)
  • Legal claims of false advertising (Personal & Advertising Injury Liability)

Standard CGL coverage has a number of exclusions, and among them is any damage you cause to a property that you rent or lease. For this very real risk, you need Tenants Legal Liability (TLL) Insurance.

Tenants Legal Liability Insurance coverage

While most insurance providers may include this coverage as part of your CGL policy, it is not standard, so you will need to speak to your insurance broker for a better understanding of your coverage. If you do have this coverage on your CGL policy, your limit could be as low as $250,000. Often, TLL included in a commercial policy will not meet the requirements of your lease or sufficiently protect your landlord for their exposure.

How CGL & TLL insurance works together to provide coverage:

  • Flooding – Accidental water damage caused by negligence causes extensive damage to your unit and the unit below. Tenants Legal Liability insurance will cover the damage to your unit. Damage to properties that you are not renting (the unit below) would be covered by CGL.
  • Fire/explosion – A fire and explosion that damages the outer wall of the building. If you rent the entire building, this damage would be covered under TLL.
  • Smoke damage – Smoke damage due to employee negligence requires cleaning and repainting costs in your unit, as well as adjacent units. Your CGL policy would cover the damage to the other units, but you would need TLL coverage to pay for the damage to your own unit.

What doesn’t Tenants Liability Insurance cover?

Tenant Legal Liability Insurance provides coverage for accidental injuries and property damage to third parties.

You would not be covered for:

  • Bodily injury to yourself or your employees
  • Contractual liability (when one party assumes liability on behalf of another via a contract)
  • Intentional or wrongful acts
  • Errors and omissions (you’ll need Professional Liability Insurance)
  • Your personal property (look into Contents Coverage or Equipment Breakdown Coverage)
  • A product you manufacture or sell (Product Liability would generally offer coverage)
  • Third-party damage or bodily injury due to an alcohol-related incident (we recommend Liquor Liability Insurance if you serve alcohol)

How much is Tenants Legal Liability Insurance?

You can anticipate spending $60 annually on a basic Tenant Legal Liability Insurance policy for a small business. As every business is different, the following factors are typically taken into consideration when determining the cost of your premium:

  • Business size and location
  • Annual and projected gross revenue
  • Number of employees
  • Previous insurance claims

Finding savings for your business insurance needs

Tenant insurance premiums are more affordable than you may think, and there are several ways to reduce the overall cost of your business premiums. Speak with one of our isure representatives to help you cut costs by:

  • Bundling
  • Comparing quotes
  • Choosing only the coverage that you need
  • Inquiring about discounts (install centrally-monitored alarm)
  • Being claims-free
  • Increasing your deductible
  • Paying premiums all at once

FAQS about Tenants Liability Insurance

Is TLL insurance necessary in Canada?

Landlords typically do not rely on their tenant’s balance sheet to cover damages that could be caused by tenants to their building. Landlords will require you to provide evidence of TLL coverage via a certificate of insurance that an isure broker can issue on your behalf.

Does my TLL policy cover my company’s property and equipment (computers, furniture, etc.)?

Coverage for your company’s assets and equipment is not provided under a Tenant Liability Insurance policy. The policy is designed to cover a tenant’s legal liability towards the landlord or other third parties. To protect your property and equipment, make sure you add Commercial Property Insurance to your policy.

Am I legally required to have Tenants Liability Insurance?

Although you are not legally required to obtain Tenants Liability Insurance, it is common practice for landlords to require their tenants to have insurance coverage before leasing to them. In most cases, tenants are asked to get insured before signing a lease.

Does Tenants Legal Liability cover damages done by my employees to the landlord’s furniture?

Yes. If furniture and fixtures are included in a lease agreement, they would be covered by TLL.

What’s the difference between Tenant’s Insurance and Tenants Legal Liability Insurance?

Tenants insurance usually refers to a policy that a residential tenant would have that would include a certain amount of liability coverage as well as coverage for the tenant’s contents. Tenants Legal Liability is a type of business insurance for businesses that rent space, and it is specifically meant to cover the space that you’re renting if you or your employees cause damage to it.

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