Renters Insurance 101
If you don’t own your home or apartment it can be easy to write off insurance as something your landlord needs. Renters don’t have to worry about purchasing homeowners insurance, but that doesn’t mean they can forget about insuring their property. Better yet, renters insurance is one of the cheapest types of insurance on the market and it can protect you from losing thousands of dollars in the event of a covered peril.
Why do I need renters insurance?
Your landlord is responsible for insuring the home you live in, whether that is a freestanding house or an apartment. Their insurance won’t cover your belongings, however, so you will need renters insurance to repair or replace your property in the event of a covered peril.
What is a covered peril? Your renters insurance typically protects your belongings in the event of:
- Damage by aircraft or vehicle
- Smoke damage
- Volcanic eruption
- Falling objects
- Weight of snow/ice/sleet
- Damage from appliances (water/steam related)
- Leakage or overflow of water
- Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning
What does a renters insurance policy cover?
There are three parts to a renters insurance policy:
- Personal property coverage: This covers your personal property if it is stolen or damaged by one of the covered perils listed above.
- Liability coverage: This protects you if you damage someone else’s property or cause someone injury, including if your dog bites someone.
- Loss-of-use coverage: This covers the cost of a temporary rental if your home is rendered uninhabitable by one of the covered perils listed above.
As a renter, you are responsible for tallying up the total value of your property and determining how much coverage you need to be fully protected. You will also be given the option to choose liability coverage levels, so it is important to know exactly how much coverage you need before purchasing a policy. Working with our experts at Goosehead Insurance is an excellent way to make sure you have exactly the right amount of coverage for your needs.
What is the difference between renters insurance and homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance protects against the same things as a renters policy, but it includes coverage for the physical structure of the house and other structures on the property. Because of these added coverages, homeowners insurance is significantly more expensive than renters insurance.
What is the difference between renters insurance and condo insurance?
Condo insurance usually covers some of the physical structure of a condo unit, whereas renters insurance doesn’t offer any dwelling coverage. Condo insurance is typically more affordable than homeowners insurance, while renters insurance is typically cheaper than both types of coverage.
Is renters insurance required?
Though there are some landlords who require you to carry renters insurance, the decision whether or not to purchase renters insurance is generally left to you. Some people choose to go without it, but think twice before choosing to be uninsured.
Renters insurance is generally very affordable, with monthly premiums that are often less than $30. It would replace everything you own in the event of a total loss and pays for medical costs for someone if they are injured in your home or bitten by your dog. It even pays for a temporary rental if you find yourself unable to live in your home because of a covered peril. These are all unexpected expenses that could leave you financially insecure, which means renters insurance protects you from potential financial devastation.
How much renters insurance coverage do I need? How do I find renters insurance?
To determine exactly how much coverage you need, take an inventory of everything you own, including everything from your flat screen TV to your underwear. Many renters underestimate the financial value of their belongings. Itemizing your things will give you a good idea of how much insurance you need to be completely protected.
There are some things that could earn you a discount on your coverage. For example, many insurance companies offer discounts for safety features such as smoke alarms or deadbolt locks. You could also face higher rates if you live in an area with lots of theft or if you have a specific breed of dog, so consider these factors carefully when shopping for insurance. Our experts at Goosehead Insurance can help you find the best policy for your needs.
What does renters insurance cover?
Renters insurance covers a lot of things you might not have thought about, including:
- Credit card/Identity theft: Your insurance policy doesn’t just protect you if your things are stolen. If the thief took your credit cards or checkbook, your policy may also protect you from any fraudulent spending that appears on your account.
- Other people’s property: If you borrowed something from a friend, coworker, or even the library and it is damaged by a covered peril your insurance can pay to replace it.
- Items not in your home: Many rental insurance policies cover damages to your belongings if they aren’t in your home. Whether something was in the trunk of your car or in a storage unit offsite, your belongings can still be covered by your policy.
- Food: You can sometimes file a claim for food spoilage during a power outage or other situation where your refrigerator stops running.
- Natural disasters: Damages caused by some natural disasters, such as flooding and earthquakes, are typically excluded from insurance policies. If you live in a high risk flood zone or near a fault line, consider buying additional coverage for those disasters.
- Property damage caused by pests: Damages caused by rodents, termites, and other vermin typically aren’t covered under renters insurance.
- High value items: Expensive items such as antiques, fine art, jewelry, and vintage family heirlooms generally aren’t covered or only have limited coverage under your renters insurance. If you have expensive items that need coverage you may need to purchase an endorsement or other additional coverage.
- Intentional actions: If you purposely damage something, whether or not it is done with the intention of filing an insurance claim, those damages are not covered by your renters insurance.
Fun Fact: Though there are many perils that are excluded from most policies, almost every homeowner, rental, and business insurance policy sold in the United States offers coverage for damage caused by volcanoes.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting based on this information without first consulting a Goosehead licensed agent at firstname.lastname@example.org. We disclaim all liability for actions taken or not taken by you based on the contents of this article which is provided "as is." Goosehead makes no representation that this content is error-free.