When you rent, you may expect your landlord to take care of everything, but that doesn’t include insurance. If you want to protect yourself and your belongings, you need to get your own renter’s insurance.
Why Do You Need Renter’s Insurance?
Your landlord’s insurance policy only covers the landlord. If something happens to the building you live in, your landlord’s insurance company will help the landlord rebuild or repair it. However, if your stuff was destroyed in the same disaster, you generally won’t receive any reimbursement from the landlord’s insurance company. You may also want liability protection in case you accidentally injure someone or someone gets hurt inside of your home.
Some landlords may have a deal with a renter’s insurance company that lets you get insurance with your lease. This is still your own separate renter’s insurance policy — it’s just a different way of buying it.
Do You Have to Have Renter’s Insurance?
Many landlords require you to provide proof of having renter’s insurance before you move in. If you cancel your policy, it could be grounds for eviction, depending on the terms of your lease. Otherwise, renter’s insurance is an optional but financially sound decision.
What Kind of Homes Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?
You can get renter’s insurance for almost any type of home you rent. That can include apartments, condos, duplexes, single-family homes, college dorms, and more.
What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?
Renter’s insurance policies are fairly standard. Always check your specific policy, but the following ideas usually apply.
- Property damage: If a fire, storm destroy your furniture, clothes, or other personal property, or other covered caused, your renter’s insurance policy will cover you up to your policy limits.
- Theft: You’re also typically covered for burglaries, robberies, or other thefts.
- Property losses away from home: Your renter’s insurance may also apply to personal belongings that you bring with you on vacation are moving from one location to another, or temporarily have in your car.
- Liability: Most renter’s insurance policies include liability coverage that works similarly to homeowner’s insurance. If someone gets hurt in your apartment, your dog bites someone, or your children hurt someone while playing, you’re probably covered.
- Earthquakes and floods: Earthquakes and floods are often excluded under a standard renter’s insurance policy. If you want to protect your belongings from these disasters, you may be able to add this coverage or buy it separately.
- Water damage: Renter’s insurance policies are very specific on what types of water damage are covered. It depends on where the water is coming from and why — i.e., rain, drains backing up, your pipes bursting, a neighbor’s pipes bursting, etc. Some of these perils are included with basic coverage, and others require adding optional coverage. See your specific policy for details.
- Living expenses: If you have to move out of your home after a disaster, you may be covered for lodging or other additional expenses until you can move back in or find a new home.
What Are the Limits on Renter’s Insurance?
Most renter’s insurance policies have fixed dollar limits. You should select a limit that’s at least equal to the value of your property. In addition to the main limit, there may be limits on specific items, such as your electronics. Your insurance agent can help you select the right limits and add any supplemental coverage you need for items with special limits.
How Do I Know How Much My Stuff is Worth?
Saving receipts is best, but you probably didn’t keep them all, especially for smaller items. You don’t need receipts to file an insurance claim, but you will need to prove what you had. The best way to add up what your stuff is worth is to make a list of everything you own. Store it online so you have a copy in case of a disaster. Also, take photos of everything you own that clearly show the brand and condition to prove that you actually owned it. Don’t forget to file a police report if you’ll be claiming theft.
How Much Will Renter’s Insurance Reimburse You for Your Property?
The amount you receive for a damaged or destroyed property depends on your policy. Some policies pay the current cash value. Others pay you the cost of buying a new replacement item. You can usually pick which option you want when you buy your policy.
What Deductible Should You Choose?
The most common deductibles range from $0 to $1,000. A higher deductible usually means a lower premium. But you wouldn’t have coverage until you pay that amount out-of-pocket. This is a judgment call you need to make based on your financial situation and ability to pay the deductible.
What Happens if Your Needs Change?
If your needs change during the year, you can always change your policy. For example, you might need to increase your limits if you buy new, more expensive furniture. If you move, you may be able to transfer your policy to your new home or cancel your current policy for a refund after you move out.
How Much Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?
Renter’s insurance premiums vary based on where you live and what coverage you select. Since you’re not buying coverage for the building, renter’s insurance is often one of your smallest bills each month.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Your insurance agent can help you figure out what coverage you need and compare quotes between multiple renter’s insurance companies. If you’re near Abbotsford, WI, contact Feldbruegge Insurance to request a quote or more information.