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A Simple Guide to Renters Insurance

Most know that if you’re a homeowner, you must have homeowners insurance in the event of property damage or an accident that injures somebody on your property.  However, what if you rent or lease?  Many don’t know that there is important insurance available that covers your property against things like fire, smoke, vandalism, theft, and explosions and liability even if you don’t own your own home.   

What is Renters Insurance? 

Renters insurance is a type of property and casualty insurance that covers losses to personal property and protects you from liability claims.  

Contrary to popular belief, your landlord’s insurance only covers the rental building, not your stuff in it or your liability in the event of an accident.  

You might look around your apartment and think you don’t have much stuff or that nothing will ever happen to your building. The truth is, having insurance as a renter is important, because it affords you protections from things you may not usually think of.  

What Does it Cover?  

Renters insurance provides four protections:

  1. Personal Property.  This is usually the first thing that comes to mind when renters insurance is discussed.  Your stuff is protected anywhere in the world, even in a mobile home or a car.  While many items will be given a value at time of loss, extra coverage can be purchased that will replace the item at its replacement cost.  Most coverages don’t cover losses due to flood or earthquakes, but just about everything else is covered with standard coverage.   
  2. Liability.  This coverage protects you in case of a lawsuit.  If someone is injured or you are held responsible for damages, renters insurance can assist in paying for legal expenses and damages.  
  3. Medical Payments to Others.  If a visitor gets injured in your apartment, renters insurance will help pay their medical expenses. 
  4. Loss of Use.  If something were to happen to your building and you couldn’t live there until repairs were made, you would have to find temporary living quarters.  And that could become expensive.  With renters insurance, you would be provided funds to help with a hotel, meals, and other expenses until you could return to your building.  

What isn’t Covered?  

Just like homeowners insurance there are some things that most basic policies do not cover such as backup sewage, earthquakes, floods, and other “acts of God.”  However, endorsements are available to take care of these risks if you feel it is warranted, but it will be expensive.   

If you share an apartment or townhome with a roommate, a common misconception is that the roommate’s renters insurance will also cover your stuff in the event of a loss.  This isn’t true.  Only his or her belongings will be covered; you need your own coverage. 

Whether you just moved into an apartment or a townhome or have been renting for a long time, you will definitely want to consider renters insurance.  Most standard coverages are very affordable, and when you bundle your renters insurance with your auto insurance, you can save even more money.  You can and should protect yourself with affordable renters insurance.