When you own a home, having homeowner’s insurance is common — in fact, not having it can cause serious problems with a lender or mortgage holder. But what about when you rent? How do you protect your belongings from theft or damage?
Today, many large rental companies and properties require tenants to carry renters insurance with certain coverage limits, e.g., $30,000 for personal property and $100,000 for personal liability (we’ll explain more below). But, required or not, renters insurance is always a good idea and can save time and valuable resources if it’s ever needed.
A Guide to Renters Insurance Coverage Options
Renters insurance is a type of insurance policy that is designed to protect renters from financial loss in the event of a covered event, such as theft, fire, or damage to personal property. If you’re renting a house or apartment, it’s important to consider maintaining a renters insurance policy to ensure that you’re protected in case of unexpected events.
In this guide, we’ll provide a complete overview of renters insurance, including what it covers, how much it costs, and how to purchase a policy.
Your landlord or property owner will carry insurance coverage that protects the physical structure where you live. That includes any outbuildings, like garages or storage sheds. However, responsibility for any physical property kept inside falls to the owner of the property (e.g., you, your roommate(s), the owner).
To protect your belongings, including clothes, jewelry, housewares, furniture, and other personal possessions, you need to carry a renters insurance policy for an amount that covers the replacement of your items. You can also include things kept in an off-site storage unit as well (with some exclusions for things like mold and flooding).
Renters Insurance – What’s Protected & What’s Not
|Covered Under Renters Insurance||Not Covered Under Renters Insurnace|
|Clothing||Appliances You Don’t Own (e.g., Stove, Refrigerator)|
|Jewelry (Subject to Limits)||Car, Truck, or Motorcycle|
|Sporting Goods (e.g., Exercise Equipment, Bicycles)||Recreational Vehicles|
|Electronics/Appliances You Own||Property Owned by Others (e.g., Roommate)|
|Musical Instruments||Property Kept Outside the Home|
|Other Property You Keep in the Home|
|Additional Living Expenses|
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renters insurance typically covers four main areas:
- Personal Property: This coverage protects your personal property, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, and other belongings, from damage or loss due to a covered event. When determining how much coverage to purchase, consider the costs to replace your items at today’s value.
This coverage also includes theft of personal property, both inside and outside of your rental unit. So, for instance, if your car is broken into, your car insurance covers the damage to the car, but your renters insurancemay cover the contents.
- Liability: Renters insurance coverage protects you in the event that you are found responsible for causing damage to someone else’s property or causing injury to another person. This coverage includes legal defense costs and any damages awarded in a lawsuit. Standard policy coverage for liability is $100,000 per occurrence, but can be more if needed ($300,000, $500,000, etc.).
- Additional Living Expenses: If your rental unit becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, such as a fire or natural disaster, this coverage can help pay for temporary living expenses, such as hotel costs or rental of a temporary living space.
- Medical Costs: If someone is injured on your property, your policy should have coverage to pay for medical costs of their care.
Special circumstances to consider might include being a student living in a dorm or off-campus housing, being a temporary worker living in company housing or dorms, or living and working in an RV full time. All of these situations warrant renters insurance coverage.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
The cost of renters insurance varies based on several factors, including the amount of coverage you need, your location, and your insurance company. On average, renters insurance costs between $15 and $20 per month for $30,000 to $50,000 in personal property coverage, and $100,000 in liability coverage.
However, you can expect to pay more in areas where there are more environmental threats, like Florida and the Southern U.S. (hurricanes and flooding) or California (wildfires).
To get an accurate quote, you’ll need to provide information such as the value of your personal property, the location of your rental unit, and any previous claims you’ve made on renters insurance policies. Some insurance companies also offer discounts for things like having a security system or bundling renters insurance with other types of insurance, such as auto insurance.
How to Purchase Renters Insurance
To purchase renters insurance, you can start by contacting your current auto or home insurance provider to see if they offer renters insurance. You can also compare policies and prices through an insurance marketplace like einsurance.com.
When shopping for renters insurance, be sure to consider the following factors:
- Coverage Limits: Make sure the policy you choose provides enough coverage for your personal property, liability and medical, and alternative housing needs.
- Deductibles: Choose a deductible that you can afford to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim. Deductibles for renters insurance, like car insurance, can be anywhere from $0 to $1,000 or more per occurrence. It’s important to choose a deductible that you can afford.
- Exclusions: Be sure to review the policy’s exclusions to make sure you understand what is not covered. Depending on the insurance company, this can include things like pest infestations (like bedbugs), sinkholes, or major climate events.
- Discounts: What discounts might you be eligible for — be sure you are getting any reductions you might qualify for now or in the future.
- Customer Service: Consider the reputation of the insurance company for customer service and claims handling.
Once you’ve selected a policy, you’ll typically need to provide information such as your name, address, and the value of your personal property. Your insurance company will provide you with a policy document that outlines your coverage and policy details.
Documenting Your Possessions
You hope you never need to provide documentation as part of a renters insurance claim, but this is a case of ‘better safe than sorry’. When creating documenting evidence of your belongings, you want quantifiable proof, so consider these actions:
- Take good photos of the contents of your home, including important documents
- Keep receipts for any big ticket purchases, including:
- Computers & electronics
- Expensive clothing, purses, or jewelry
- Medical devices, e.g., hearing aids, glasses, contact lens
- Sporting Equipment
- Financial instruments, like bonds or gold
- Document everything being kept in storage units
- Document any work-related or work-from-home items
- Keep all records and important documentation in a separate secure location
Doing this before purchasing renters insurance helps you determine the amount of coverage you need and protects you if you have to file a claim following a disaster or theft. Most claims’ processes will ask if you have additional documentation, including photos, receipts, etc.
How to Choose Renters Insurance
Choosing renters insurance involves several important considerations. Here are some steps to help you select the right renters insurance policy for your needs:
- Determine your coverage needs: Before you start looking for renters insurance, you need to know what coverage you need. This may include coverage for personal property, liability protection, loss of use, and other specific types of coverage you may require.
- Research insurance providers: Look for insurance providers that offer renters insurance policies through an online marketplace, like einsurance.com. When choosing an insurance company or broker, check their financial stability, customer service reputation, and online reviews to ensure that they are reliable and reputable.
- Compare policies: Compare policies from different insurance providers to find one that fits your needs and budget. Look at the coverage limits, deductibles, and premiums for each policy.
- Consider endorsements: Some insurance providers offer endorsements that can enhance your policy’s coverage, such as coverage for high-value items or additional liability protection. Be sure to consider these options if they apply to your situation.
- Understand the policy details: Make sure you understand the details of the policy, including what is covered or not covered, how to file a claim, and any exclusions or limitations.
- Review the costs and purchase a policy: Consider the cost of the policy, including the premiums and deductibles, and ensure that it fits within your budget. Understand any discounts you may be eligible for, like auto pay, etc.
Remember to review your renters insurance policy periodically to ensure that it still meets your needs, and update it as necessary if your situation changes.
Difference Between Condo Insurance and Renters Insurance
Condo insurance and renters insurance are both types of insurance policies that provide coverage for personal property and liability protection. However, they are designed to cover different types of living situations.
Condo insurance is designed for individuals who own a condominium or a co-op unit. This type of insurance typically covers the owner’s personal belongings, as well as the physical structure of the unit, such as walls, floors, and ceilings. Condo insurance may also provide liability protection in case someone is injured while in the owner’s unit.
Both condo insurance and renters insurance can provide important protections for individuals in different living situations. It’s important to carefully review the coverage options and limits of any insurance policy to ensure that it meets your specific needs and provides adequate protection.
Renters Insurance Claims Process
The claims process for renters insurance can vary depending on the insurance company and the specific policy. However, here are some general steps that you can follow if you need to make a renters insurance claim:
- Notify your insurance company: Contact your broker as soon as possible after an incident, such as theft or damage to your rental property. They will assist you in the claims process. Most insurance companies have 24/7 claims reporting services available via phone, online, or through a mobile app.
- Provide necessary information: When reporting a claim, be prepared to provide your insurance company with your policy number, the date and time of the incident, a description of what happened, and any supporting documentation or evidence you may have, such as photos or receipts.
- File a police report: If the incident involved theft, vandalism, or other criminal activity, you need to file a police report. Be sure to obtain a copy of the report and provide it to your insurance company.
- Meet with an adjuster: Depending on the severity of the damage or loss, your insurance company may send an adjuster to inspect the damage and assess the value of the loss. Be prepared to provide the adjuster with any documentation or evidence you have to support your claim.
- Receive payment: Once your claim has been approved, your insurance company will issue a payment to cover the losses or damages, less any deductibles. The amount of the payment will depend on your policy limits and the type of coverage you have.
It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements for making a renters insurance claim can vary based on your insurance policy and the type of claim you are filing. Be sure to review your policy and contact your insurance company for guidance on the claims process.
To Sum Up
Renters insurance is a valuable investment that can help protect you from financial loss in the event of a covered event at a very cost-effective rate. By understanding what renters insurance covers, how much it costs, and how to purchase a policy, you can make an informed decision about whether renters insurance is right for you.
As with any insurance product, cost savings can be found by doing a little due diligence. The best way to accomplish that is to visit an insurance marketplace and get quotes for renters insurance for apartments or houses. You want to find cheap renters insurance, but also need to adequately cover personal liability in your renters insurance policy.
Contact einsurance.com to compare insurance quotes and save money. Einsurance.com provides information about renters insurance, as well as homeowners, auto, business, health, and life insurance. Plus, they have tons of additional resources, state insurance guides, and educational articles to help you make the best decisions for your financial circumstances.