If you don’t own your home, you may be wondering if it’s possible for you to cover your belongings. Renting from a landlord doesn’t guarantee that their insurance will protect your things in the event of a theft or fire. And if you own a rental property, you may want to encourage (or require) your tenants to obtain renter’s coverage so that they don’t come knocking if and when something goes wrong.
That’s where renter’s insurance comes in. Renter’s insurance offers protection for tenants in the event of fires, theft, vandalism, and water damage. With that in mind, it’s important to discuss renter’s coverage with your insurance agent to give you peace of mind that your possessions are safe and sound.
But what is renter’s insurance? How does it differ from a homeowner’s policy? Well, let’s take a look.
What is Renter’s Insurance?
Renter’s insurance or rental coverage is exactly what it sounds like – it’s insurance that a tenant of a rental property can obtain to protect their belongings in situations where a homeowner’s policy might normally cover the owner of a home in their residence.
In addition to fire or water damage, this coverage can even include theft – and not just from the home. Items stolen from a vehicle or detached storage area can be included under a renter’s insurance policy. If you have a renter’s policy, talk to your insurance agent to determine what exactly is covered and whether you may want to extend coverage to include additional risks.
Many renters’ insurance policies also include liability coverage – so if someone is injured in the renter’s apartment due to their negligence, there’s a possibility that the renter’s policy may cover it.
Who Should Have Renter’s Insurance?
Really, anyone that lives in a rental unit should have renter’s coverage. Rental policies are relatively inexpensive and offer substantial coverage in case of an emergency. It’s also in the best interest of the landlord to encourage or require their renter’s to obtain a renter’s policy, because doing so ensures that the tenant is responsible for protecting their own belongings.
How Do I Decide How Much Coverage I Need?
The two biggest factors in determining what kind of renter’s insurance policy you’ll want are: the total value of your possessions and the amount you want to pay monthly.
Just like any insurance policy, your premium and your deductible are tied together. If you want a lower monthly premium, you’ll have to take on a higher deductible – that means that, in the event that you need to file a claim, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket. Alternatively, you can take a higher monthly premium and a lower deductible to lower your out of pocket expenses in case of an emergency.
The big factor, though, is how much your stuff is worth. One of the easiest ways to determine how much coverage you need is quite simple – inventory your belongings. For example, if you live in an apartment and are moving, take pictures of each room before you move. You don’t have to put a value on every single item, but your big-ticket items should each have a price attached to them. That means that you should have a number in mind for your furniture, TV, computer, small appliances, etc.
Once you’ve tallied up the total, you’ll want to contact your insurance company and make sure that you have coverage for the appropriate amount. You can provide pictures and receipts of especially valuable items to make sure they’re covered in case they’re stolen or damaged. For very pricy items, you may also want to consider a VPP plan – protection for Valuable Personal Property. Examples include jewelry, camera gear, and fine art.
In short, obtaining a renter’s insurance policy can help protect you in case something bad happens to your rental home, so consider talking to your insurance agent about coverage today.