Renter’s insurance is one of the most affordable types of insurance available, yet many renters are relatively uninformed about how it works, particularly young people. A 2015 survey conducted for insuranceQuotes.com by Princeton Survey Research Associates International found that 37% of millennials said they don’t have renters insurance because they don’t know how it works.
When you rent a home or an apartment, your landlord is responsible for insuring the property against damages caused by fire and other disasters. But, this doesn’t mean that your personal property is also covered. As a renter, you have the option of buying renters insurance, which comes with a number of coverages to protect you from the unexpected. Here’s a rundown of what is covered by renters insurance.
1. Personal property coverage. Think of everything you own. Now, try to assign a dollar amount to all of those belongings. Pretty mind-boggling, isn’t it? A renters insurance policy offers you coverage for the theft, loss or destruction of your personal belongings in the event of a fire, storm or other covered peril. This can help you replace the items you use on a day-to-day basis, from your clothing to your appliances to your furniture—as well as your more expensive items. If you’re a die-hard jewelry collector or an audiophile with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of pricey sound equipment, you can even take out extended coverage that provides you with higher limits, sometimes called floater insurance or Scheduled Personal Property coverage. This extra coverage may increase your deductibles, but will certainly be worth having to make sure you have enough coverage for your pricey items. Having a renters insurance policy can even cover your personal belongings when they’re not inside your home—like if you take your laptop with you on a trip and it is damaged or stolen.
2. Liability coverage. Life is risk, but that doesn’t mean you have to dig deep into your pockets or drain your savings account every time something goes wrong. The liability insurance that comes as a part of your standard renters insurance policy can help protect you if you are sued by a guest injured in your home. Say someone comes over to your house and trips down your stairs, injuring themselves seriously enough to warrant medical attention. If you are found responsible for the accident, your renters insurance liability coverage can help pay for your legal expenses and their medical bills and other damages. When buying renters insurance, it pays to think long and hard about having enough coverage to guard against any eventuality. Liability coverage can even pay for damages caused accidentally by you or your family members. For example, if your child accidentally throws a baseball through your neighbor’s living room window, your liability insurance plan could cover the damages.
3. Additional living expenses. People rarely think about where they’d go or how they’d pay for it if a fire or disaster were to render their rental home unlivable. With a renters insurance policy, you can rest easily because this coverage will help pay for your temporary living expenses. This can include things like hotel bills to restaurants to other living expenses you normally wouldn’t incur. With a renters insurance policy, you don’t have to worry that a damaged roof will force you to share a house with your in-laws. For that alone, it’s a priceless investment.
Young and old consumers alike also grossly overestimate the cost. When asked to guess the annual cost of renter’s insurance, 29% of millennials guessed $1,000 a year. The average premium only costs $187 a year, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), or between $15 and $30 per month. There are also more options than people realize when it comes to your renter’s insurance policy. Depending on the particular kinds of coverage that are important to you, you can often pick and choose certain aspects of your policy.
To help you navigate the reasons you should have renter’s insurance, read our fact guide here.