Extra Renter's Insurance... Without Our Consent!

M and I received a very strange letter in the mail today. It was from our renter's insurance. The cover letter thanked us for adding "Appliance Protection Plus" to our plan. Enclosed was an insurance policy, telling us our monthly premium would be $10.99/month, beginning in February.

Problem is, we never signed up for this. We've only communicated with them once in the 2 years we've been covered by them (and that was just to check that both my and M's names were on the plan). Our premium is automatically deducted from M's checking account once a year.

Even stranger is that the policy only covers (1) Air Conditioning; (2) Heating System; and (3) Water Heater. Ok, maybe that's not so strange - I have no familiarity with this type of policy. It just raised the hairs at the back of my neck because we had mentioned to the landlord that our heater wasn't working properly, and he knows our air conditioning has always dripped a bit... But, just a coincidence. I have to keep telling myself that. There's no way that the landlord could have contacted our insurance and had this extra plan added... right?? Although he does have our social security numbers (from the rental application)...

Either M or I are going to call tomorrow and get this thing sorted out. Maybe it was just an error on their part. But it just seems so... suspicious. Or am I being paranoid?
UPDATE: Our landlord IS involved!! I knew it!

Let me back up my story to a couple weeks ago. Our landlord was incessantly calling us and when we called him back, we found out he wanted our account number at the gas company. He said he needed it for the building insurance, and that all the other tenants had given him their account numbers. M gave the number to him, and although we found it perplexing (and M asked the gas company why the landlord would need the number; they didn't know), we didn't think too much about it.

Fast forward to today. M spoke with the insurance company, who said that our GAS COMPANY signed us up for the plan in early January (days after we gave the acct # to the landlord). M then called the Gas Company, and the rep there said they had no record of signing us up for anything and also would never do that. So then M called the landlord, who confirmed that yes, HE HAD SIGNED US UP. He said we could "take it out of the rent." Shouldn't he have informed us of this BEFORE we received this letter from the insurance company? Also, why is this in OUR names? Why is this not in HIS name? I'm so infuriated right now... Despite it only being $11/mo, just the fact that he was able to sign us up for this without our knowledge!


Simplelivin' said...

Wow that is kind of shady. They can't add anything to your plan without your permission, so you should be able to take it off no problem. Most appliance have to be covered by the landlord, especially necessities, like refrigerators, and stoves. Check you lease to see what he is responsible for and what you are, so if something happens you'll know.

H.E.A. said...

I agree...that's got the making of a shady situation written all over it. I hope when you get ahold of them you get good news!

Miss M said...

I would call, cancel and find out how it was added. I'm leaning towards weird mistake, your landlord can't add anything to your renter's policy. How did he even know you had one, I never had a landlord ask or ask for the policy number.

Sunflowers said...

@Simplelivin: Yeah, and even stranger was that the appliance protection plan didn't even cover our appliances! (the fridge is actually ours) Only the air/heat, which definitely is covered by the landlord. My bf is going to call today at lunch... I'll post an update after I hear from him.

@Brandi: I hope so too.

@Miss M: When the handyman came to fix our electricity, he said (with the landlord in the room) "do you have renter's insurance?" and my bf said "yes... why?" And the handyman was looking at the wires, saying something like "I hope it covers you if this place burns down." Not sure if the landlord heard that last part, but pretty sure he heard that yes, we had renter's insurance. You're right; there's no way he could know our policy number.

99% likely that this was a mistake on the insurance's part (or maybe they wanted to sneak in an extra $11/mo from us). But the conspiracy theorist in me is latching onto that 1% and giving me the creeps. ;p

Bayjb said...

Ick. That is super shady. I hate landlords

DogAteMyFinances said...

Very shady. I love my insurance agent (strange, I know).

Honestly, I would change renters' insurance over this, whether your landlord was involved or not. Nothing should be added without even asking you.

Miss M said...

OK totally weird. Your landlord is wrong on so many levels, can you find a new place to live? I can't believe he would or could do that.

mysticdomestica said...

Oh my God, that's unbelievable! I can't believe what a crook your landlord is--and I'm sure he would have never offered to let you deduct it from your rent if you hadn't noticed.

Sarah said...

That's fraud. Get the bastard arrested.

Your renters insurance should not be covering HIS appliances. Call and cancel it immediately. And seriously, find out what the laws are. With all the problems you're having living there, you can probably get out of your lease right now.

Sunflowers said...

@Bayjb: Yeah, me too. :(

@DAMF: If you don't mind me asking, what company do you use? We're using Assurant.

@Miss M: He is! Ugh, I really hate him.

@mfaorbust: Yeah, I'm sure he was hoping we wouldn't notice!!

@paranoidasteroid: My bf is supposed to call today and get it canceled... it's just in his name, otherwise I would have taken care of it already. I'm writing a letter to the landlord memorializing everything that happened.

You're right, we likely could get out of our lease... but do we want to, is the question. Yeah, the landlord is a shady bastard, but our place is big, we have a w/d in our unit, it's about average rent, it's an almost-ideal location... And neither my bf or I want to deal with moving out right now. Our lease expires in June, during my summer vacation (although I'll likely be taking summer school, but only 1 or 2 classes), a much more convenient time to move.

I have been looking on Craig's List a bit, but nothing has really caught my eye. I guess if I see an amazing place, then we might do it. I'm a little worried how we're going to be perceived though; my credit has dropped 40 or so points since we moved into this place, and I quit my full-time job. My bf makes a lot and he has a good credit score, but will that be enough? I'm hoping that by June my credit score will be better, and I'll have a full-time job again.

Miss M said...

My experience with renting is they want a decent credit score and you need to earn at least 3 times the rent. I wonder if you can qualify just off the BF? Mr M lived with me "illegally," he wasn't on the lease. By the time anyone noticed we were moving out anyway. We just told them that he had his own place and only stayed over once in a while. If the complex or building is large enough, management will never notice.

Sunflowers said...

@Miss M: I think I would prefer being on the lease just because he doesn't like (or have time) to deal with certain things... so I'd want to have the authority to go talk to maintenance/apt manager/landlord, whoever.

But if we move out in the next month, maybe we'll have to go that route...

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