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# Considering Liability Risks in Renting Property

I am really not worried about my possessions and happy to completely self-insure on all of them. My place is like a fortress, with secure entry that allows access only to those I approve.

However, the main risk I face is liability. I recall a previous court case that held landlords liable for damages, except for a capped amount – potentially the excess on landlord insurance or a set number of weeks’ rent. Even though I am willing to self-insure against this risk as well.

One concern that has crossed my mind is that I live in an apartment building. In the event of a catastrophic incident such as a fire, I wonder about the liability implications for neighboring apartments or the building as a whole. Would landlord insurance cover such scenarios?

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View Reference


  • Classic-Foot-736

    Yep, it covers you if you damage the place. I think?

    Imagine you flooded the place by accident, the owners insurance company pays out the owner, then comes to you to pay for it…..

    A similar thing happened to us when young and flatting – except it was a pan on fire put on to a bench top that did not like it one bit.

  • Sufficient-Piece-335

    The other thing renters insurance covers is accommodation in natural disasters etc. We used it after the Christchurch earthquakes.

  • aromagoddess

    $25 month for renters insurance

  • Zzthegator

    Contents insurance gives you liability cover too. You might not have a break in but what if there was a fire and you lost everything? You could get low coverage for the value of contents which won’t affect the value of liability cover. Most insurers have their policies online, have a look.

  • NotGonnaLie59

    Might get better answers at r/legaladvicenz

  • SparksterNZ

    When it comes to damaging your rental property, damage is split into three categories:

    – Accidental Damage for which you are not liable at all (e.g. you accidentally tripped over a child’s toy and put a hole in the wall)

    – Careless Damage, for which you are liable for up to 4 weeks rent or your landlord’s excess, whichever is lesser (e.g. you were running through the house drunk and ran into a wall)

    – Deliberate Damage, for which you are 100% responsible (e.g. you punched the wall because you were angry)


    Contents Insurance covers:

    – Your Physical Assets

    – Temporary Accommodation if the property you are living in becomes uninhabitable

    – Any property damage you become legally liable for in NZ due to a negligent act, including the 4 weeks rent payment due to careless rental damage (excluding whilst operating a vehicle, as for that you would need vehicle insurance).


    Like any insurance you just need to weigh up the cost versus benefits.

  • Main-comp1234

    > Like if I burned the place down./ Whats the deal with liability on neighbouring apartments/the building?

    None unless the other party can prove it’s intentional

  • shaunrnm

    Talk with an insurance broker. Liability insurance will cover more than just something you could to to the building.

  • Many_Still2282

    What’s your personal situation? If you are of low net worth (< $50k) sometimes jts just easier to be careful. Insurance companies aren’t going to try to get blood out of a stone.

  • Outback_Fan


    ~~When you burn the place down cos you came home drunk, fell asleep and the chip pan burnt the house down. His house insurance will come after you personally for the whole lot.~~

    Apparently that’s all been changed, but i remember the AMI case.


    Give Nationals love for landlords I suspect this change may be backed out as well.