Renters Insurance Basics

If you rent a home, apartment, condominium or other dwelling renters insurance is the way to protect your personal possessions. Your landlord will likely have a commercial property or homeowners insurance policy on the structure you are renting, but that policy does not cover your possessions such as furniture, clothing, electronic equipment and other belongings. Renters insurance is relatively inexpensive because it typically only covers your belongings and not the structure, but it does pay to compare renters insurance policies to find the best deal.

Without renters insurance you would have no recourse in the event your dwelling was burglarized or met with a disaster such as a fire, lightning strike, damaging winds or other disasters covered by your renters insurance policy. Your possessions could even be damaged by other renters near you if they cause smoke or water damage in your dwelling.

The exact coverage for your renters insurance policy would fall under the “named perils” in your coverage so it’s important to research and compare renters insurance quotes before choosing your renters insurance policy.

Typical renters insurance coverage:

1) Theft
2) Vandalism
3) Malicious mischief
4) Fire
5) Lightning
6) High winds
7) Smoke
8) Water damage (but not flooding)

Another benefit of renters insurance is — like homeowners insurance — it provides you liability coverage. Liability protects you against legal action for personal injury or property damage caused by you, members of your family and even your pets. The liability aspect of renters insurance also provides no-fault medical coverage in case someone is injured in your home.

Also like homeowners insurance, renters insurance protects you if your rental dwelling is damaged and you are forced to vacate the premises. Renters insurance pays your expenses while living away from your rental dwelling and covered expenses include hotels, meals and other living expenses. Additional living expenses coverage might be limited depending on your policy.

Renters insurance comes in two basic forms – actual cash value and replacement cost. Actual cash value renters insurance will replace your belongings up to the limit of your policy after a deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost renters insurance provides more coverage in that it pays to replace your lost possessions up to the limit of your policy. There is no deduction for depreciation with replacement cost renters insurance.

Keep in mind renters insurance provides limited coverage for high-dollar items. If you want to ensure these items are fully covered you will need to buy a supplement, called a “floater,” to your renters insurance policy.

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