Have you recently moved into a new house or apartment? If you are a renter, then you may be questioning if it's really necessary to purchase your own insurance policy. Sure, you would have to buy insurance if you were the homeowner – but do you really need it as a renter? The truth is, renters insurance is incredibly important for you as a tenant to make sure you're protected against financial liability, damage, and more.
Renters insurance is a type of insurance policy that protects tenants of houses and apartments who don’t own their living space. While your policy will be based on your circumstances, renters insurance usually covers the costs for personal property damage and some forms of liability. Renters insurance bridges the gaps in liability where you may be responsible for damages and loss, or instances where your landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your personal property.
Renters insurance is different from homeowners insurance. Depending on the type of policy, your insurance plan can cover everything from personal property loss to liability for injuries suffered by your guests. Just like other forms of home insurance, you will need to file a claim and undergo an investigation process to receive compensation for your losses. It provides you a financial advantage, since you do not have to pay out of pocket for your losses or damages.
For example, say that someone breaks into your home while you are away and you return to find that the burglar took your new TV. Without renters insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket to replace your TV. With renters insurance, your insurance provider can cover the expenses of a new TV.
Renters insurance can also cover injuries to visitors at your home. If someone suffers an injury on your property, then they can file a claim with your insurance company to recover compensation for losses such as medical expenses and lost wages. If you did not have insurance, you would be liable for these injuries.
The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the following factors:
A deductible refers to the amount of money you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will give you a payout. For example, say that you have a $500 deductible and the replacement cost of your stolen TV is $1,000. After your deductible, the insurance company will give you $500 to replace your TV.
You may wonder if purchasing a renters insurance policy is necessary if your landlord or property owner has an insurance policy for your home. This is a common misconception but homeowners policies only protect your landlord’s property—not yours. If your apartment were to flood, repairing the building would be covered by your landlord’s insurance policy, but you would be responsible for replacing any personal belongings that were damaged. Renters insurance provides great peace of mind for the protection of your possessions and your pocketbook.
Renters insurance is necessary if you meet the following criteria:
While the law does not require you to carry renters insurance, purchasing a policy is a smart financial investment. Depending on your landlord, you may be required to purchase renters insurance when you sign your lease. When you carry renters insurance, you protect both yourself and your landlord from potential liabilities and damages to the property. These policies help bridge the gap between the coverages your insurance and your landlord’s insurance provide.
You can customize your renters insurance policy based on your needs and circumstances. As we mentioned above, renters insurance typically covers liability, loss, and damage – but there are other compensation options you can receive with renters insurance. Below you will find some of the most common types of coverage that renters insurance can provide.
Liability coverage is one of the most important components of renters insurance and an essential part of a standard policy. Liability coverage comes into play in many circumstances but the most common type of liability claim occurs when someone suffers an injury in your home. Liability coverage provides compensation to the injured person for costs such as lost wages, legal fees, and court judgements up to the policy limit.
Liability coverage can also provide compensation for damage that occurs to your property that your landlord’s insurance does not cover. For example, if your child breaks someone’s window while playing ball outside, your liability insurance can cover it. If you accidentally cause a fire by smoking inside, your liability insurance can pay to repair the damage.
Another essential component of renters insurance is protection for protection for personal property. If you leave your home for a weekend and come back to find that someone broke in and stole your belongings, then you could replace your items with the coverage provided by your renters insurance. Without renters insurance, you’d be expected to pay for all of your lost property out of your own pocket. For large-scale robberies and other instances where lots of items are missing or damaged, these costs can quickly add up – but renters insurance provides you with comprehensive protection.
The types of losses and damages that your renters insurance will cover is dependent on your specific policy. However, many renters insurance policies will replace lost or damaged property under the following circumstances:
If you would like to extend coverage beyond your own renters insurance or even your landlord’s insurance, you can invest in scheduled personal property coverage. This supplemental insurance policy will ensure that you receive full-value coverage of expensive, valuable items in case of damage or theft. In addition, you won’t have to pay a deductible on the items you want to replace.
With a typical renters insurance policy, you can only receive coverage for your personal property up to a certain amount. You can either receive the actual cash value amount for a lost possession, which is often less for the amount you paid for it, or you receive replacement cost coverage. Valuable items typically have a limit that you can receive to compensate for their loss, which is usually less than the amount you need. You will also need to pay a deductible before you can receive compensation.
However, when you choose scheduled personal property coverage, you do not have to consider depreciation. You receive coverage for the full value of the item you lost – scheduled personal property plans usually include electronics, jewelry, firearms, business property, and other high-value items. You may also receive coverage for the damage to your property even if you lost or damaged the item yourself.
In some circumstances, your home or apartment may become uninhabitable. For example, you may need to leave your home for a few days while you wait to have mold removed. One of your plumbing pipes may burst and flood your home, requiring you to vacate for a period of time while you’re waiting for cleaning crews or contractors to repair this damage. During this time, you could incur costs for rent, hotel stays, food, a rental car, and more – if you’re out of your home for a week or more, these costs can add up significantly.
When you have reimbursed living expense coverage in your insurance policy, you can receive compensation for these expenses. If you cannot live in your home for a period of time due to damage for which you filed a renters insurance claim, the insurance company will compensate you for your cost of living. This way, you can safely live outside of your home even in emergency circumstances.
Guest medical coverage is another important component of your renters insurance. In the event that someone suffers an injury on your property, they may need to seek medical attention immediately and they may then suffer from other ongoing issues caused by the injury, requiring therapies and surgeries. To receive compensation for their medical expenses, this person would submit a claim through your renters insurance.
As someone who resides in the property, you are financially liable for these costs if someone suffers an injury in your home. If you do not have insurance to absorb these costs, then you could end up paying for these medical bills out of pocket. Your landlord’s insurance won’t usually cover these costs, so it is imperative that you have renters insurance to protect yourself.
Identity theft is a serious problem in the United States – it can happen to anyone and the potential that it could occur to you is quite high. Another unexpected form of coverage that your renters insurance can provide is identity restoration coverage, which helps protect you during instances of identity theft. Depending on the terms of your policy, you may be able to claim compensation for the costs you incur because of identity theft, such as legal fees, lost wages, and other reinstatement costs.
Renters insurance is not a one-size-fits-all type of insurance policy. Whatever coverage you invest in will depend on your circumstances and the risks you could reasonably encounter. For example, if you live in a high-crime neighborhood, you would want to invest in a higher amount of personal property coverage than the average person. If you entertain others at your home often, then you may want to purchase higher amounts of liability and guest medical coverage. Whatever the circumstances, speak to an insurance representative to discuss your options and build a policy that works for you.
When you begin to choose your renters insurance, you will need to consider three basic types of coverage and the coverage amounts you want to have:
Of course, the more coverage you have, the more expensive your monthly renters insurance cost will be. However, renters insurance is typically an inexpensive policy – many people can pay as little as $15 to $20 per month. To determine how much insurance you should carry, make an itemized list of your belongings and consider the potential costs of a liability claim. You should come up with a ballpark figure to help you determine an amount that is right for you.
Renters insurance is a smart financial investment that all rental property tenants should consider. You never know what could happen – from break-ins to accidents to natural disasters, you do not want to be financially responsible for replacing your belongings or paying for someone’s medical bills. Renters insurance helps reduce your responsibility for these expenses, protecting your home and your pocketbook at the same time.
Do you need assistance finding a renters insurance policy that works for you? Acceptance Insurance can help! Our team specializes in matching individuals with insurance policies that work for them, including renters insurance. Contact us today to speak with one of our representatives and learn more about how renters insurance can help protect you!