“What is renters insurance?” is a fair question, but a better question might be, “Why should I have renters insurance?” The answer: It keeps accidents and annoyances from becoming bank account and budget killers. Remember that your landlord’s insurance protects their building, but it does not cover your stuff—ever. Only you can protect yourself and your possessions.
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Additional Living Expense
You’ve lit several candles — which unintentionally start a small fire in your apartment.
Property coverage under your renters policy may help if personal property like a sofa and a bookcase are damaged by fire.
On an especially gusty day, strong winds push a small potted plant off your apartment’s balcony and onto a neighbour who is passing below. He is seriously bruised, and decides to sue.
Renters liability coverage may help if you’re responsible for an injury to someone outside your household.
Medical Payments Coverage
You’re hosting a small cocktail party when a guest trips on frayed carpet in the hallway. His injury isn’t severe — but his arm does require medical attention.
Medical payments coverage may help if a guest is injured on your premises.
Replacement Cost Coverage
A thief steals all the electronics from your home and the equipment is a few years old, though, and you want to replace everything with new.
Replacement cost coverage may help cover the cost of replacing older items with their brand new equivalents.
Additional Living Expenses Coverage
When a washer hose bursts and floods your apartment, you must move out while your landlord makes repairs.
Additional living expenses coverage may help with the extra costs of housing and food if you’re forced to move out for temporary repairs to your residence.
What is Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is a form of property insurance that covers losses to personal property and protects the insured from liability claims. This includes injuries occurring in your rental that aren’t due to a structural problem. Injuries due to structural problems are your landlord’s responsibility. Renters insurance protects anything from a studio apartment to an entire house or mobile home.
Even if you’re just starting out or living in a place for a year, getting a renters insurance policy—probably the least expensive and easiest-to-obtain insurance you’ll ever own—could be a smart investment. You may not think you’ve got anything of great value, but you probably do—more than you could comfortably afford to replace in the event of a bad burglary or fire.
In addition, no matter how careful you may be with your own apartment (the sort of residence most renters have), you can’t control your neighbors. They can leave your security gates open, buzz ill-intentioned strangers into your building, or fall asleep with a cigarette in hand and start a serious fire.
While your landlord’s property insurance may cover the building itself, that insurance will not cover the contents of your apartment, nor will it cover the damages for which you could be sued by someone who had an accident within your apartment or rented space.
What does Renters Insurance cover?
A typical renters insurance policy provides three types of coverage: personal property coverage, renters liability insurance, and additional living expenses. Different insurance companies sometimes give different names to these coverage types, but in general, they all function the same way.
Personal property or personal belongings coverage is what most people think of when it comes to renters insurance. Personal belongings include things like furniture, clothing and shoes, electronics and devices, appliances and kitchen equipment, home goods such as bedding and towels, and most sports and hobby equipment such as bicycles and musical instruments. Certain personal belongings may be excluded from a standard policy if they’re above a certain value, such as jewelry, artwork, collectibles, and specialized computer or hobby equipment.
More about Renters Insurance
Renters liability or personal liability coverage provided by a renters insurance policy covers the policyholder in case of a lawsuit resulting from incidents originating on the rental property, such as accidental injuries, injuries from household pets, or accidental damage to a neighbor’s personal property. Your personal liability coverage can usually be increased or augmented with an umbrella insurance policy if needed.
Additional living expenses coverage provides reimbursement if a covered disaster results in temporary relocation from the rental property. This ensures the policyholder is compensated for additional lodging, food, and other living expenses while they are living somewhere else. Covered disasters generally include smoke, fire, explosions, theft, vandalism, windstorms, lightning, and water damage from internal sources, such as plumbing or intrusion from a neighboring unit, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Common exclusions include earthquakes and floods from weather or other external water sources.
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It might be time to switch insurers whenever the service that your existing insurer provides doesn’t meet your needs. For example, if you have a poor claims experience or an unexplained rate increase, it might be time to consider other options
If you cancel a previous policy before a new policy is effective, you could run into some serious financial problems.
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