Quick take: Reasons to consider renters insurance
- Renters insurance can help you repair or replace property after loss due to many types of damage or theft.
- It can provide coverage for an accident on your property.
- Policies have very affordable annual premiums.
- Your landlord’s property insurance doesn’t cover your personal property.
Q: I just got my first apartment! It’s tiny, and I don’t own a lot of things, but my parents are encouraging me to get renters insurance. Here’s my question: Since my landlord already has insurance on the property, what reason would I have to get renters insurance?
A: Simply put, renters need insurance to protect their stuff. As a renter, you don’t own the structure you live in and you are not likely to insure it. The belongings inside your rental, on the other hand, are probably important to you. One reason to carry renter’s insurance is to have coverage for your belongings.
For example, renters could provide coverage in the event of:
- A kitchen fire. A renter’s policy could help with the costs to replace items destroyed in the fire. If your place can’t be lived in while repairs are being done, renter’s insurance may also provide coverage for a place to stay, meals and related expenses.
- A burglary. Renters insurance could help with the costs to replace the covered stolen items.
- A guest falls and gets hurt. The personal liability coverage included in a renter’s policy could help with the payment of medical bills or other expenses related to the accident.
Before you decide that you don’t have enough stuff to get damaged in a fire or what you have is not likely to be stolen, take a look around. You might see more items that are costly to replace than you’d expect. For instance, a smartphone, designer handbag, professional chef knife set, new laptop are all commonly used, high-ticket items. How about your grandmother’s antique china? Even the cost of replacing all your clothes could put quite a dent in your savings.
“What does renters insurance cover?”
In general, renters insurance provides coverage for your belongings, such as clothing, household items and furniture. It also includes electronics and jewelry, although limitations may apply.
A renter’s policy also typically includes:
- Personal liability coverage — in case you are found legally liable for bodily injury or property damage to someone else in an accident where coverage applies.
- Personal property coverage – even when you are traveling and away from home.
- Additional living expenses – when you can’t stay in your rental because of a claim.
Some renter’s policies will provide a replacement cost for a lost or damaged item. Other policies may provide cash value, which takes into account depreciation of your item before the payout. What’s the difference? Say you purchased a new sofa 10 years ago, the cash value that you’d receive could potentially be well under $100. But if the same couch can be bought brand-new, that dollar amount would be the replacement cost amount.
“Is renter’s insurance expensive?”
Not really, which is one of the best reasons to recommend renters insurance. While several variables can affect the cost of your premium, overall, renter’s insurance is a cost-effective type of coverage. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the average yearly premium for renters insurance is just under $200.
Talk to your local agent to help determine how much coverage you may want based on the value of what you own.