Renter’s insurance provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing personal belongings will be covered if damaged, destroyed or stolen. It provides coverage where other policies don’t, such as in your car. If your belongings are stolen from your car, your auto policy may not provide coverage, but renter’s insurance will. Some renter’s policies also provide personal liability coverage and medical payments, which protects you if someone who doesn’t live with you becomes injured on your property, or even away from your property if their injury is your fault.
If you rent a house, apartment, or condominium, your landlord’s homeowner’s policy probably won’t cover your furniture, appliances, electronics, jewelry, clothing or other personal belongings. If it would cost you more than a few hundred dollars to replace everything in your home, you probably need renter’s insurance. Insurance is relatively inexpensive, and covers events such as lightning strikes, fire, smoke, theft, vandalism, hail, and wind and water damage. It can also cover accidental damage to valuable items like computers, rugs, jewelry, artwork or other collectibles, as well as items in your possession belonging to others even if the damage occurs away from your home. If your home is uninhabitable as a result of covered damage, renter’s insurance should also cover temporary lodging during repairs.
Before you decide on a renter’s insurance policy, there are a few other things you should know.
– Some natural disasters may not be automatically covered, like floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. Ask specifically about these if you live in a higher risk area.
– You may have the choice between “Actual Cash Value” or “Replacement Cost” coverage. Actual Cash Value provides a depreciated value based upon used items. Their reimbursable value will be what they were worth at the time of loss. Replacement Cost, however, provides current market cost to replace the items. Make sure you clarify what type of coverage you’re purchasing.
– Inventory and take pictures of your belongings, especially valuables. This will help you and your insurance representative better assess their value and make sure you have enough coverage. In case of a loss, it will also help ensure you are compensated. Save receipts for valuable items in a fireproof safe.
– If in doubt about the total coverage you need, ask about the cost of the next higher increment of coverage. The difference between $100,000 and $200,000 coverage may be only a few dollars a year.
– Some policies cover your belongings in-transit, i.e., while being moved between locations, whether moved yourself or by professional movers. This may also extend to items in storage. If this is something you need, be sure to ask specifically.
– The age, condition, and location of your home may factor into your premium costs. Local statistics for crime may also be considered.
The occurrences covered by renter’s insurance are unpredictable, and could happen at any time. As they say, it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.