Compare Renters Insurance

Before you shop for renters insurance quotes, it is a good idea to compare the coverage options that are available to tenants.

Your possessions are what make your home a home. The best way to protect them is with renters insurance.

Renters insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings in the event they are damaged or stolen. Unfortunately, accidents, theft, and disasters happen. For instance, what if a fire were to break out in your apartment? What would you do if you lost all your clothes, electronics, furniture, appliances, and other belongings? Could you afford to purchase all that you own all over again? Probably not. But with renters insurance, you would be reimbursed for what was lost. And if damage makes your rental unlivable, renters insurance can even pay for a hotel and other living expenses until your home is back to normal.

With liability coverage, renters insurance can also financially protect you in the event of an accident. Liability coverage helps pay for the repair, medical, and legal costs in case you accidentally damage someone else’s property or if someone is injured in your home. For example, what if you forget the bathtub is running and cause water damage to your bathroom or even your neighbor’s apartment? In such a case, liability coverage can reimburse your landlord for the repair costs, so you don’t have to. Or what if a guest slips and hurts herself in your home? Liability coverage can also step in to help pay for medical costs and any legal fees if you are taken to court.

In an unpredictable world, you can rely on renters insurance to help you through life’s perils. For peace of mind, it is recommended that all renters purchase coverage.

What Is Covered?

Here are the four types of coverage typically available with a standard renters policy: 

  1. Personal property:  Pays to repair or replace your possessions -- such as electronics, furniture, clothes, appliances, etc. -- in the event they are damaged in a covered peril. Covered perils typically include fire, weather-related damage, and theft.
  2. Personal liability:  Financially protects you by helping pay for legal and medical bills in the event a visitor is injured in your home, and you are at-fault. Also helps pay to repair or replace damage you accidentally cause to another’s property. For instance, if you accidentally start a fire and burn the exterior of the apartment building, or if you inadvertently overflow the bathtub when staying at a friend’s home.
  3. Medical payments:  Helps pay for a visitor’s medical expenses if they are injured in your home. Unlike personal liability, medical payments is intended for less severe injuries, and can be used regardless of who is at-fault.
  4. Loss of use:  If your home is somehow damaged to the point that you need to move out while it is being repaired, your renters insurance will cover the cost of living elsewhere for the time being. This can include the cost for a hotel, moving, meals, and other related living expenses.

High-value items -- such as jewelry, art, collectibles, bicycles, sports and music equipment, etc. -- are typically excluded from personal property coverage. To protect your high-value belongings, it is recommended that you purchase a “rider,” or additional coverage on top of your renters policy. A personal property coverage rider will protect your valuables in the event they are damaged, stolen, or even misplaced. The cost of adding a rider is usually affordable, with low deductibles.

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Personal Property Covered Perils

Covered perils, or events which your renters policy will cover, typically include:

  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Explosions
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Falling objects
  • Mold
  • Water damage
  • Theft
  • Vandalism

When comparing renters insurance, it is important to ask your agent the exact perils that are included in the coverage.

Who Is Covered?

Your policy covers your personal possessions, but what about your family’s possessions? Or your roommate’s?

In general, any family that lives with you will be covered by your renters insurance. You just need to incorporate the value of their possessions along with yours when buying a policy.

Roommates, on the other hand, are not automatically included. You can either add them to your policy or have them purchase their own. Although sharing a policy can save both of you a few bucks each month, it’s not always a good idea. Let’s say your roommate files a claim due to an incident they caused. The claim could go against your insurance record, even though you were not at fault. Additionally, consider the value of your possessions versus that of your roommate’s. Perhaps your belongings are more expensive. How will you decide to split the bill? In such cases, simply paying half the premium wouldn’t be fair. Even still, you need to make sure your roommate is someone you can rely on to pay on time. If none of this is a concern, then adding your roommate to your policy is one way to save on renters insurance, provided you trust them.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Coverage needs can greatly vary from person to person. Personal property coverage limits typically range from $10,000 to $50,000 or higher. Consider that it is estimated that the average renter owns $30,000 worth of possessions.

To know how much personal property renters insurance you need, it is best to create an inventory of your belongings. Use a spreadsheet or an app to make it easy. For many, once they start accounting for what they own, they can be surprised at how much everything they own is worth. When done calculating, it is a safe bet to aim for a personal property coverage amount that is even higher.

Liability coverage amounts typically range from $100,000 to $50,000. In general, the more assets and savings you have, the higher the liability coverage you should try to get. Medical payments coverage amounts, on the other hand, often range from $1,000 to $5,000. Though intended for less severe injuries, with the rising costs of medical expenses, it could be a good idea to aim for $3,000 or more in coverage.

Renters vs Homeowners Insurance

The key difference between renters and homeowners insurance is what is covered. As a renter, you do not own the structure you live in. That is your landlord’s responsibility. As such, it is expected that the owner of where you live will have landlords insurance to cover the structure and the common areas.

However, what’s inside your rental unit is your property. As such, you have the right to cover your possessions, as well as protect yourself from liability (such as if you cause property damage or someone is injured in your unit).

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