The homeownership rate is at a nearly 50-year low in the U.S., meaning there are more renters out there. Whether you’re among the majority without renters insurance or unfamiliar with the benefits of your policy, there are a few things you may want to know about this type of insurance.
Many renters assume they are covered under their landlord’s or the property owner’s homeowners insurance — which is untrue. Renters need a separate policy for their property to protect them against liabilities; it can apply to your property while living in a rented apartment, condo, or home.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Renters insurance is generally pretty cheap — the national average for a renters insurance policy is about $15 a month, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) — and they can save you from being financially liable for pricey property damage.Get A Quote
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
The goal of renters insurance is to make sure you and your property are covered in the case of unexpected events or “covered perils.” The events covered under renters insurance may include:
- Impact by a vehicle
Protect Your Valuables
If your home is broken into and valuable items are stolen, including furniture, electronics, jewelry, clothing, etc., the money to replace all of these items would come out of your pocket without renters’ insurance. The same would be true if your belongings were destroyed in a house fire. However, your values would be protected with a renters’ insurance policy.
When considering obtaining renters insurance, it’s a good idea to take inventory of your belongings to see how much personal property coverage you might need. Additionally, there are two different types of coverage for renters: actual cash value and replacement cost.
Actual cash value coverage pays what the property is worth at the time of theft or when the damage was incurred. This is the least expensive renters insurance type, as it accounts for the depreciation of property.
Replacement cost pays the full amount of replacing property with new items, which is around 10% more expensive than actual cash value coverage.
Liability for Injuries
Renters insurance can protect you, as a renter, from being sued by another resident if they were to be injured in your rental home. Injuries could include your child’s friend falling off the bed and breaking their arm or a neighbor injuring their back helping to move your furniture. In either case, renters’ insurance would protect you from a lawsuit.
As with other coverages, limits apply to how much your policy pays out after a covered loss. Make sure your policy contains the amount of coverage you will likely need.
If you have a pet, renters insurance can provide liability coverage so that if another resident were bitten by one of your pets, you would be protected from legal actions, including a lawsuit. Without renters’ insurance, you would be at risk of being sued.
Additional Living Expenses
Some policies will cover additional living expenses in the event that you cannot stay at your current residence during a covered loss. For example, if damage from a fire makes your apartment uninhabitable, necessitating a hotel stay, your policy might cover the costs.
What Isn’t Covered By Renters Insurance
Almost as important as what is covered by renters insurance is what isn’t. There are a few instances that are not covered by renters insurance and may need a separate policy, such as:
- Sewage backups into the residence
- Earthquakes, floods, or other “acts of God”
- Unusually expensive or valuable items, such as high-end electronics, musical instruments, or art collections and antiques, might require an additional policy
- Home businesses
It’s important to assess your prospective needs and potential liabilities based on multiple factors. For example, while floods are not typically covered in general renters insurance policies, if you live in a flood zone it might be helpful to purchase additional flood insurance. Other policies, such as umbrella insurance, can be personalized to help cover you beyond general personal policies.
Renters Insurance FAQ
Is renters liability insurance required in California?
Renters insurance is not required by law in California, but some landlords or owners may require it for living in their building. As the numbers of renters increase in California, liability insurance is becoming more common.
Does renters insurance cover damage to my car?
Renters insurance does not cover damage to your vehicle. However, some policies may provide coverage for personal property that is stolen from your vehicle.
Does renters insurance cover moving costs?
Typically, no. However, if you incur costs related to relocating after a covered loss such as a fire, your additional living expenses portion of your policy may kick in and help cover some of the cost of moving into a hotel or another residence.
How do I file a renters insurance claim?
While filing a claim may vary depending on the extent of damage, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible
- Contact your landlord in case they are needed to make repairs
- File a police report in the event of theft or vandalism
- Document all damaged items with photos, do not throw anything away
- Document and file the claim accurately
Renters Insurance in Southern California
Gallant Risk & Insurance Inc. offers customized renters insurance policies to ensure you get the best protection at the best prices from the convenience of our Corona, California, offices.