Renters insurance is an optional insurance policy you can take out on your rental property to protect your belongings in case of a covered disaster. Most landlords won’t let you rent from them without proof that you have renters insurance. It’s up to you to get it and cover yourself against the cost of repairing or replacing your personal property if it’s damaged or destroyed.
Many things can go awry in renting and living in a rental property. Potential tenants think renting isn’t worth the risk without an insurance policy covering where they keep their stuff. However, the information is essential. With correct details about what renters insurance covers, why you need it, and what price points different policies come in, you can make a more informed decision as to whether or not getting renters insurance is right for you.
What Is Renters Insurance?
If you’re visiting an insurance agent or company website to get a quote, they will likely ask if you’re looking for homeowners or renters insurance.
The critical difference between the two is that renters insurance covers your stuff wherever you have it. But, homeowners' insurance covers the structure of your house or apartment building against damage or destruction caused by the same perils.
Does renters insurance policy cover property outside of home? Most insurance agencies include off-premises coverage. This coverage caters to stolen items in your hotel room, workplace, or vehicle.
Renters insurance, in other words, is a type of liability insurance that insures your belongings against fire, water damage, theft, vandalism, and other disasters that might occur in the rental property where you keep your stuff.
Because you don’t own the property where you keep your stuff, you risk having your belongings damaged or destroyed by perils not covered by your landlord’s home insurance policy.
You’re at risk for perils like water damage from burst pipes, vandalism from other tenants or intruders, and fire from an electrical or gas-related incident.
Why Do You Need Renters Insurance?
As we’ve gone over, several perils can affect your stuff while it’s in a rental property. While most landlords will have insurance policies on the rental structure, they don’t have coverage for your belongings if disaster strikes. Worse, if you don’t have your insurance policy, you’ll be responsible for paying out of pocket to repair or replace your damaged belongings.
Please note that you can’t take out a homeowners insurance policy for your rental property. That’s because homeowners insurance protects your investment in the rental property you live in, not your stuff.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
The cost of your renter's insurance policy depends on several factors. The price you end up paying will depend on the value of your belongings, your age and profession, and the coverage and limits you choose. Rates go up with the value of the stuff you have insured, so the more valuable your belongings are, the higher your premiums will be.
Younger people tend to pay lower rates than older people because they have fewer claims. You can also reduce your premiums by increasing coverage and choosing a higher deductible.
Things Renters Insurance Will Cover
Fire or smoke damage
If your apartment catches fire or smoke damages your belongings, renters insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing those items.
Burst pipes or floods triggered by extreme weather can cause water damage to your rental unit, which can soak through wall paneling, flooring, and even furniture. Your renter's insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing those damaged items.
Damage from vandalism
While you may not be directly responsible for vandalism, your renter's insurance policy can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged items.
Damage from natural disasters
From hurricanes to tornadoes, the most extreme weather events can cause damage to the place where you keep your stuff. Your renter's insurance will help protect you from paying for repairs or replacements.
Things Renters Insurance Won't Cover
Your landlord’s property
While your renter's insurance will help cover the cost of replacing or repairing your damaged or destroyed belongings, it won’t help reconstruct your landlord’s property. Your policy only protects your stuff, not other people’s things or the rental property itself.
Damage caused by you
If you damage your stuff or another person’s property, your renter's insurance won’t cover the costs of repairing or replacing that property. It only covers damage caused by external forces.
Your renter's insurance will step in if you don’t have the money to pay for repairs or replacements after a catastrophe strikes. However, it won’t cover the cost of making bad decisions or the consequences of your choices.
Tips to help you find the best price on renters insurance
While you might be anxious to get renters insurance as soon as you’ve decided to rent, don’t jump at the first price quote you get. Instead, shop around and compare quotes from a few different insurance providers to see which one offers you the best deal.
Don’t underestimate your value
Many people undervalue the cost of their belongings. However, underestimating the value of your stuff can cost you in the long run. If disaster strikes, you risk paying more for your policy by overvaluing your property, but you’ll have the coverage you need.
Consider getting an endorsement.
If you’re renting a high-end apartment or your profession involves an elevated risk of loss, you might consider getting an endorsement on your renter's insurance policy. An endorsement can help you reduce your premium or increase your coverage limits.
There Are Two Types of Coverage
There are two types of coverage: liability coverage and property coverage. Liability coverage protects you against certain lawsuits if someone gets injured in your home or on your property and sues you for damages. Since you’re renting, you likely don’t have enough money to pay for those expenses. On the other hand, property coverage works to repair or replace the items in your home damaged or destroyed due to a covered incident.
Renters insurance protects your belongings from the perils that could occur in the rental property where you keep them. While your landlord’s insurance might cover the structure of your apartment or a rental unit, it won’t protect your belongings like furniture, clothing, electronics, and other personal property.
You can reduce the risk of losing those valuable things by getting renters insurance to protect them against the perils that could harm or destroy them. With the right policy in place, you can help protect yourself against having to pay out of pocket if a disaster strikes.