Understanding your Renters Insurance Policy

It’s not necessary for you to memorize everything about your renter’s insurance policy; but if you have a basic understanding of the component parts and know how your policy is put together, that knowledge will help ease the uncertainty you might feel when coverage issues arise. If you take a few minutes to review your policy, you will see it is written in easy to read language with a simple format.

First of all, your renter’s policy is actually two policies in one. Section I insures your personal property against loss due to a range of named perils. Section II provides insurance for personal liability claims filed against you.

Each renter’s policy has a single Declarations page, with separate Insuring Agreements, Exclusions and Conditions that explain the coverage provided under Section I and Section II.

To help you understand certain words, such as “occurrence,” or other insurance terms, a Definitions section contains a list of words with meanings specific to your policy.

1- Declarations Page-

This part of your renter’s policy is based on the details you supplied in your original application for coverage. The Declarations Page is one of the first things a claim representative looks at when determining your coverage for a claim. When you take a first look at your policy, review the following details to make certain the information is accurate:

-Named Insured


-Policy Limits- property damage limit, personal liability limit and Medical Payments limit



-Policy period

-Policy Coverage Form – Renter’s form HO-4

-Endorsements – a list of the attached coverage forms that modify your policy

2- Insuring Agreement-

The Section I Personal Property Coverage Insuring Agreement tells what actions your insurance company agrees to take on your behalf in the event of a covered loss. It also details the named perils covered by your renter’s policy HO-4 form. These are:

-Fire or Lightning

-Windstorm or Hail, Explosion, Riot or Civil Commotion




-Vandalism or Malicious Mischief


-Mysterious Disappearance


-Falling Objects

-Weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet

-Sudden and Accidental Tearing Apart

-Cracking, or Bulging; Freezing

-Sudden and Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electrical Current

-Volcanic Eruption.

The Section II, Liability Coverage Insuring Agreement explains the insurance company’s responsibilities in case of an “occurrence” to which your liability coverage may apply.

3- Exclusions –

This part of your policy details the circumstances or conditions not covered by your insurance, such as wear and tear or earthquake.

There are separate Exclusions for your Section II Liability Coverage.

4- Conditions-

This section outlines your claim reporting responsibilities and other duties as a renter’s insurance policyholder.

5- Endorsements

In addition to the Declarations Page, Insuring Agreements, Conditions and Exclusions, your renters insurance policy may have Endorsements which change the basic policy by increasing limits or deductibles, adding earthquake or replacement cost coverage or adding scheduled amounts for jewelry, computers, business personal property or other valuable items.

Endorsements are typically separate forms attached to the back of your policy.