Buying Renter’s Insurance

September 20th, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure
 
If you rent your home, you can protect your personal property from most kinds of damage for only about $10-$15 a month, making renter’s insurance a great idea for most people, but you’ll still want to understand the ins and outs.
 

Why do you need it?

Typically, landlords will have insurance that covers the actual building itself, but it won’t cover your personal possessions inside – your furniture, clothes, electronics, etc. So in the event of a beak-in or disaster, you’ll be on the hook to replace them, which can get pricey. You may have enough in your emergency fund to cover everything, but you may not want to pay for it all yourself, which is where renter’s insurance comes in.
 

What’s covered?

Some of this will depend on your specific policy, but typically, renter’s insurance covers damages due to theft, fire, rain, wind, hail, and power surges. Notably absent from this list are flood and earthquake, which usually require supplemental insurance, and may not be available at all depending on where you live.
 
For the most part, your insurance will pay for;
 
Personal property – If your stuff gets stolen or damaged, your insurance will cover it. Some types of property will only be covered up to a specified limit depending on your coverage. For example, jewelry may only be covered up to $1,500 and electronics up to $2,500 per item. If you need more coverage on more valuable items, you can get additional personal articles insurance.
 
Loss of use – In addition to covering your personal property, most policies will also cover any additional living expenses you incur while your home is being repaired, like the cost of a hotel or food expenses beyond what you normally spend.
 
Personal liability – Most renter’s insurance will also protect you in the event someone gets injured in your apartment and you end up on the hook for legal or medical bills.
 

How much does it cost?

The cost will vary by where you live and your coverage limits, but for a typical renter policy covering up to $30,000 of personal property and up to $100,000 of liability, you can expect to pay about $10 – $15 per month with a deductible of about $500 to $1,000. Overall, the cost is pretty low compared to what you would have to pay to replace your property or if you get sued.
 
If you need to purchase supplemental coverage, like personal articles insurance, for various belongings, the cost will go up. You can also pay more for higher coverage limits in general.
 

How to buy it

We should mention that renter’s insurance can usually be bundled with your other insurance policies, often for a discount, so if you already have auto insurance, you’ll want to check with your insurance provider to see what they offer.
 
You’ll also want to shop around and compare offers. A few popular providers are;
 
Allstate
 
Geico
 
Liberty Mutual
 
USAA
 
State Farm
 
Of course, there are other providers out there too, and some only serve particular regions, so an online search never hurts.
 
When you go to a particular provider’s site, you’ll be asked for some information about you and your home before you’re given a quote. The entire process should only take a few minutes. You can also get a quote by phone if you prefer.
 
Once you’ve compared a few quotes, you’ll get a sense of how much your specific policy will cost and which offer is right for you. Keep in mind, it’s a fairly competitive market and the offers should be somewhat comparable.
 

Summary

Having renter’s insurance is an easy, affordable, and important step in protecting your possessions from damage and protecting you from personal liability. If you rent your home, the sooner you get it, the better. Accidents don’t wait.
 

And just a few more tips before you go…

Pro Tip 1: Your renter’s insurance may even cover stolen items when you’re traveling, so check your policy.

Pro Tip 2: If you live with a roommate who has renter’s insurance, your stuff probably won’t be covered, so you would still need a policy of your own.

Pro Tip 3: When you first buy renter’s insurance, take pictures of your belongings, and when possible, keep receipts to document their value.

 

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