Renters Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

So, you’re moving into a new rental property, but you aren’t sure if you should get renters insurance. Some landlords and management companies require their tenants to obtain it, while others don’t. Either way, it’s important to know what your options are when it comes to renters insurance. To help you out, here is everything that you should know about renters insurance.

Renters Insurance: What is it?

Renters insurance covers you and your valuables while you are renting an apartment or house. Renters insurance can be thought of as mini-homeowners insurance, with protection that lowers your liability in case of certain unexpected events like burglaries, guest injuries, and natural disasters. However, unlike homeowners insurance, renters insurance does not provide any structural coverage – your landlord is responsible for properly insuring the home itself.

Simply put, renters insurance covers your belongings in your apartment or rental house, and not your apartment or rental house itself. For example, if a pipe bursts in your apartment building, ruining your belongings or if another tenant’s guests take off with some of your valuables, you’ll have options for reimbursement.

There are always limits to coverage when it comes to any type of insurance. Your individual renters insurance policy will lay out the specifics, but expect there to be an overall limit that caps the total amounts you can be reimbursed.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance protects the belongings that you keep inside your apartment or rental home, as well as your personal liability if someone is injured in your home and you are found responsible for that injury. If you are unable to stay in your rental home for certain reasons, such as a fire for example, renters insurance will also usually cover your short term housing and moving expenses.

Generally, a good renters insurance policy will cover damages to your possessions due to:

  • Theft

  • Vandalism

  • Fire

  • Falling objects

  • Freezing

  • Water and steam damage (not including floods)

  • Smoke

  • Tornadoes

  • Windstorms and hail

This is not a complete list, so make sure to read over your personal policy carefully to know exactly what your coverage is.

What Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover?

It is just as important to know what your renters insurance doesn’t cover as is it to know what it does cover. Again, similar to homeowners insurance, there are two key types of situations that were left off the above list: floods and earthquakes.

If you are renting in an area where you need to be worried about floods and/or earthquakes, then it is important to look into purchasing separate policies for coverage. You can obtain flood insurance through a number of private insurers, as well as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can often add earthquake insurance as a supplement to your renters insurance through the same company you purchased your original renters policy.