Do you really need coverage if you are renting? Not everyone who rents a home or apartment realizes it, but just as a homeowner should have insurance to cover accidents to or on their property, most renters also need renters insurance. If the home you are renting suffers from a tree falling onto the roof, the landlord's homeowner insurance will pay for the repairs. But who will pay for damage caused to items you had stored in the attic, or for the broken china or collectable stained glass you own? You will, unless you have renters coverage. Should someone shatter the glass at the rear of the house while you're away on vacation, the homeowner's insurance will take care of the glass, but not your expensive audio equipment that was stolen. Renters coverage also covers you against liability should someone become injured on or off the property and pursue a lawsuit against you.
Insurance coverage for renters covers a wide range of catastrophes. Most types will insure your belongings against lightening strikes, fire and smoke, hail, explosions, flooding from a sprinkler system, broken pipe or other interior cause, electrical charges and the like. Many policies also cover a range of natural disasters, although the more likely such disasters are in a given area, the more likely they are to be excluded from a basic policy.
Before purchasing insurance coverage, you will want to review the various options. For example, actual cash value insurance might be a better fit for renters who prefer to make lower premium payments and own newer furniture, appliances and the like. Those with older, but still functional, belongings that would cost considerably more to replace than their current cash value, would gain greater protection with a replacement cost policy. It's also important to understand the deductible defined in the policy, as well as the total dollar amount of the coverage.
Something else to consider when purchasing insurance for renters is whether the policy insures loss of personal property as "all risk" or "all peril". "All risk" policies are those that are written to insure against every possible disaster except those that are specifically excluded. For example, if your home is flooded and you own an "all risk" policy, the insurers can only refuse to pay if flooding was a risk that was specifically excluded at the time you purchased your policy. On the other hand, if you own a "named peril" policy, the risks that are covered are specifically listed. In this case, flooding would have to be specifically included in the insurer's list of perils before they would pay out.
Types of Insurance Coverage
Insurance Terminology and FAQ
Understanding the Policy
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Insurance Coverage for Renters
Last Updated: 08/20/2013