When people rent a new apartment or home, they often don’t think about protecting their income and belongings with a renters insurance policy. A study by ORC International found that only 41 percent of renters had renters insurance. Most landlords and apartment communities only have insurance that covers damage to the actual dwelling. This means that if there is a fire or other disaster on the property, your landlord will be covered while you have to pay out of pocket for any losses. If you are on the fence about whether or not you need renters insurance, take a look at this renters insurance guide to help you make an informed decision:
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Most standard renters insurance policies offer protection for your belongings in case of events such as fires, power surges, water damage, theft, vandalism and other accidents that are out of your control. Here are the four categories that are usually included in a basic renters insurance policy:
Personal Property – Your renters insurance covers items such as clothing, jewelry, computers, electronics, furniture, collectibles and any other personal belongings. It is important to keep in mind that your basic policy may have limits for certain categories of property (i.e. jewelry and electronics). If you have an especially valuable ring or an expensive work of art, you might want to consider purchasing additional coverage.
Property Outside Your Dwelling – If personal property like your laptop or textbooks are stolen from your vehicle your renters insurance policy will typically cover those items.
Loss of Use – Your renters insurance will also help cover your living expenses if you are displaced from your home after an accident. For instance, if there is a fire in your apartment complex and you are unable to remain in your dwelling during repairs your policy will cover your hotel, food and other additional expenses while you wait to return home.
Liability – Your renters insurance also includes personal liability coverage, which pays for injuries to other people on your property for whom you are found legally liable. Let’s say your otherwise well-behaved Cocker Spaniel bites the neighbor or you accidentally start a fire that injures someone on the property, your renters liability coverage will protect you from legal action and/or damages.
Medical Payments to Others – This type of coverage can pay for injuries that happen to others at your dwelling, regardless of who is at fault. For example, your visiting friend trips over a power cord in your living room and chips their tooth. The limits for Medical Payments to Others coverage are typically lower than Personal liability coverage.
What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover?
While renters insurance covers a great deal of common hazards, there are several events that might not be covered under a basic policy. For these events, you might need to look into purchasing expanded coverage, or additional policy riders to protect your belongings. All policies vary, but here’s what is generally not covered under a basic plan:
Flooding – If a pipe bursts in your building and the leak causes water damage to your belongings, that will most likely be covered under your policy. On the other hand, flooding caused by a storm or natural disaster is generally not covered by a basic renters insurance plan. If you live in a flood zone or an area frequently hit by hurricanes, you might consider purchasing additional flood insurance.
Earthquakes – Damage to your belongings caused by earthquakes is typically not covered under a basic renters insurance policy. If you live near a fault line, speak to your insurance provider about purchasing earthquake coverage.
Pests – Termites, moths, bed bugs and rodents can wreak havoc on your belongings, but damages to your property caused by pests and vermin usually aren’t covered under renters insurance.
High Value Items – Your most expensive valuables might not be covered by the standard limits of your policy. If you own antiques, high-priced art, high-end jewelry, vintage family heirlooms or rare collectibles, you may need to increase your limits for individual items.
Additional Exceptions - While your renters insurance might cover items stolen from your car, it won’t cover your car itself. Your policy also will not automatically cover the property of a roommate. Each roommate sharing a dwelling typically must buy their own renters insurance policy to cover their property and belongings.
Learn More About Renters Insurance
Renters insurance is an easy and inexpensive way to protect your income and belongings in the event of an accident or unforeseen disaster. With flexible options to cover high-value items and additional coverages to protect you from events like earthquakes and natural disasters, it’s easy to purchase a renters insurance policy that fits your specific needs. If you would like to know more about what is covered by renters insurance, contact a Wawanesa Insurance professional who can talk you through all the details. To find out if you can save on renters insurance, get a free quote today.