If you rent your home, be it a single-family residence, condo, or apartment, renter’s insurance is as important to you as homeowner’s insurance is to those who own their own homes. While insurance carried by your landlord covers the physical structure of your home and it’s common areas, there is no coverage provided for your personal property in the case of theft or damage. For this reason, renters insurance is a good choice, but you should be aware of what types of damage or loss are typically covered in a renter’s insurance policy.
A standard renter’s insurance policy will cover your belongings from specific “insured risks”, which will be named in your policy. Typically, these risks will include acts of nature such as lightning and fire, hail or windstorms, damage due to the weight of snow, sleet, or ice, and even volcanic eruptions. Be aware that standard coverage does not extend to earthquake or flood damage. If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes or floods, additional coverage can be purchased. In some coastal areas where hurricanes occur, this may also be an addition to your standard policy.
Another feature of renter’s insurance is that your personal property is covered away from home as well. If you are out of town and your car is broken into, any stolen or damaged items will be covered by your renter’s insurance. Loss due to theft or vandalism is always included in a standard policy, as are damages caused by smoke, explosion, riots, and falling objects. If your home is damaged by a vehicle or aircraft, you will also be covered.
As a renter, you do not have much control over the condition of the structure or it’s systems. However, with a renter’s insurance policy, your items are covered if there happens to be water damage from your home utilities, damage by glass that is part of the building, or damage resulting from electrical surges. Furthermore, if your home is destroyed or somehow made unlivable, many renter’s insurance policies have coverage for temporary living expenses while your home is being repaired.
One of the more important aspects of a good renter’s insurance policy is the liability coverage it provides. If someone falls in your home, your insurance policy may cover your visitor’s medical bills, as well as any court costs and judgments if you are sued. If you cause damage to the property, perhaps from a leaky waterbed or a faucet left on, the cost of repair would typically be covered by your policy. Of course, your policy will set dollar limits for these payouts.
In addition to the coverage of a standard policy, additional riders can be purchased to cover things such as work items that are carried back and forth from the office and costs related to identity theft. Of course, always read your policy to find out your exact coverage, and contact your insurer if there is anything you feel your policy is leaving out.