If the place I’m renting needs repairs, I just call my landlord — so why do I need renters insurance?
This is probably the biggest misconception when it comes to renters insurance. You might assume your landlord will cover you, or that you don’t have anything valuable enough to worry about. You might even believe that you can’t afford renters insurance.
The reality is that we all have things that are worth protecting, and you can’t rely on your landlord’s insurance to cover everything.
Here’s what you need to know about renters insurance and how you can get covered.
Do I need renters insurance if my landlord has insurance?
When you don’t own a home, it’s easy to assume that you don’t need any type of insurance. Especially if your landlord hasn’t brought it up or it’s not in your lease. Not only that, your landlord should have insurance on the structure.
While your landlord’s insurance will cover the rental itself, your things — the items you keep in the house or apartment — aren’t included in that coverage. If you want protection for your possessions, you need renters insurance.
Your landlord’s insurance might cover you in situations where they could be liable for a personal injury. For example, if you fall down the stairs, and can prove that the landlord hasn’t properly maintained the stairs, their insurance will cover your medical costs.
For the most part, though, you need renters insurance to offset costs related to your own personal items or accidents that happen in your home that aren’t attributed to neglect on the landlord’s part.
So you definitely need renters insurance and here’s how it can benefit you.
If you’re trying to decide if you need renters insurance, protecting your stuff is one of the biggest reasons to get a policy. When your items get damaged or destroyed, you can receive help repairing or replacing them.
You can’t always prevent some situations, such as a burst pipe, break-in, or fire. If there’s a fire in the rental, your landlord’s policy will likely cover the damage to the structure. Meanwhile, your renters insurance will help you replace your damaged possessions.
Renters insurance covers a lot, but not everything. Many basic renters insurance policies don’t cover natural disasters. If this is the reason your stuff gets damaged, you could be out of luck when it comes to coverage.
For instance, if you live in an area that frequently experiences flood, your regular policy won’t help you. You might need to purchase additional coverage for different possibilities if you live in an area prone to natural disasters, whether they’re tornadoes, mudslides, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes.
You will also get coverage for belongings stolen when they aren’t in your home. If someone steals your laptop out of your car while you’re at work, your policy might cover a replacement, even though the laptop wasn’t in your home at the time.
Coverage for your high-value items
If you have high value items such as jewelry, you definitely need to think about renters coverage.
While your clothes, electronics, and furniture are easily covered with your renters insurance, it most likely won’t be enough to cover your high-value items.
You should consider adding a floater policy to your renters insurance that higher limits and more coverage. It will often cover your items if you accidentally dropped your engagement ring down the sink or left your watch in the hotel while on vacation.
Do I need renters insurance if my belongings aren’t valuable?
Without insurance, you could be on the hook for expenses related to an unexpected event, such as a break-in or a burst pipe.
You might not have one single high-value item, but the value of multiple items can really add up. Consider the things you keep in your house or apartment: computers, furniture, clothing, TV, and other items. If those things were destroyed, how much would it cost to replace them?
But it’s not exclusively about expensive items. Even if you have IKEA furniture, the cumulative cost of replacing what you use every day — and doing it all at once — can add up quickly. Having the right coverage can help you replace more valuable items, like electronics, as well as provide you with a way to replace several less-expensive items at once if needed.
When deciding if you need renters insurance, don’t just think about the coverage for your stuff. Your renters insurance will come with liability coverage, which could come in handy.
On top of that, your policy might also kick in to cover medical expenses if a visitor gets an injury in your home. If you’re considered responsible for medical bills, it can be devastating. However, with the help of an insurance policy, you’re more likely to be able to handle the costs.
It could also protect you if someone sues you for damage that you or your family members cause. Not only that, many renters policies come with liability coverage if you damage someone else’s things or if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s apartment.
For example, if you borrow a friend’s tablet and it gets damaged, your renters insurance will help to replace the tablet.
Additional Living Expenses
Another reason you might need renters insurance is if your house or apartment is damaged to the point where it is uninhabitable. Renters insurance can help you pay to stay in a hotel until you can move back in or find other living arrangements.
If your rental burns down, you might move into a hotel during repairs. Your insurance policy would reimburse you for the cost of the hotel. It would even cover the costs of food that come with the need to buy ready-made meals while staying at the hotel.
How much you’re eligible for depends on your coverage amount and deductible.
Do I need renters insurance if my roommate has a policy?
If you have a spouse, you can share a policy and your things will be covered together.
But if you have a roommate, you should think twice before sharing a policy. If only one of you is named on the policy, only their personal belongings will be covered.
If you decide to share a policy with both your names on it, any claims your roommate makes will directly affect your insurance history. That means seeing higher rates even if you had nothing to do with the claim. It also makes things easier to have separate policies in case one of you decides to move out.
When you live with someone else, discuss the situation and make sure each of you has your own renters policy.
It’s recommended that you only share a policy with your spouse or if your roommate is related to you.
How much coverage do I need?
Deciding how much coverage you get depends on the type of coverage you choose, as well as how much your belongings are worth.
First of all, you need to figure out what kind of coverage you want. There are two main types:
1. Actual cash value
This usually covers your items up to the current market value — while accounting for depreciation. This coverage usually costs a little less because you might not receive a higher payout.
2. Replacement cost value
This generally covers the cost of replacing the item with a version at today’s retail prices. You might pay more for this coverage, but you’re more likely to be able to replace all of your items if they are destroyed or stolen.
It’s usually recommended that you go with replacement cost value. That’s because the cost to buy new items is always higher than the value of the items you currently have.
Next, take a home inventory. Make a list of everything you have in your home, how much it’s worth, and how much it would cost to replace it.
Once you know roughly how much it would cost you to replace all your possessions, you have an idea of how high your coverage limits should be.
Do I need renters insurance?
Renters insurance is more important than you think. It’s common to assume that nothing bad will ever happen to your stuff, but the reality is that we can’t control everything that happens.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average policy costs between $15-$30 per month. At a low cost, you can have a backup plan to protect your things.
Don’t assume that your landlord’s insurance policy will protect your possessions or take care of all personal liability issues related to your rental. If the unthinkable happens, you might not be able to afford to cover all the costs on your own. This is where renters insurance can help.
If you’re looking for renters insurance, do some research on the different policies offered by insurance companies. You’ll be able to find one that works for you at a price you can afford.
Remember that it’s only beneficial for you to shop around for insurance before you commit to a policy. Prices will vary and you want to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to.
It can be a time-consuming task, so let Cover do the work for you. Download the app for free from the App Store and Google Play. We’ll search over 30 insurance companies to get you the best quote for you in under two minutes.