There are always things happening beyond our control, and without renters insurance, you have no coverage for personal property loss or damage. It is perhaps one of the most overlooked pieces of protection available to renters even though it provides great coverage for little cost and protects your belongings.
But how much do you need, what does it cover, and what else do you need to know? Here's everything you've ever wanted to know about renter's insurance.
What is renters insurance?
Renters insurance covers damage to your personal belongings and living expenses if your place is damaged. It even offers liability if someone gets hurt at your place.
What does renters insurance cover?
Simply put, if you own it, it’s covered. From your laptop and cardigan to your Kate Spade bag, you can be reimbursed for replacement costs if your personal property is damaged. Most renters insurance policies cover losses from fire, smoke, lightning, windstorm, theft, and water damage.
Most insurances also include coverage of losses or additional living expenses that occur away from home, such as in a hotel bill incurred while you’re traveling. Even if you leave your cell phone in your car, and it gets stolen, you’ll be covered.
Those are the basics, but, depending on your coverage type, renters insurance protects way more than the stuff in your apartment. For example, in the event of a fire or other disaster and your rental is no longer safe or inhabitable, renters insurance will help cover any living expenses, such as paying for a hotel or moving into a new place.
Renters insurance also includes liability coverage and helps you cover costs if someone has an unpleasant accident in your home. For example, if a guest breaks an arm or needs to be sent to the ER for stitches, your insurance protects you. It’ll also cover medical bills that guests incur from these accidents. And in the unfortunate event you're sued because of the accident, renters insurance can provide liability coverage for legal costs.
In another case, say your kid accidentally throws a ball through the neighbor’s window. Renters insurance will help cover the damage. In addition, dogs and other pets are usually covered under renters insurance liability.
What doesn’t renters insurance cover?
It is essential also to consider what renters insurance doesn’t cover. First, the structural aspects of your apartment or home wouldn’t be covered – only your belongings. Check with your landlord to make sure they carry the appropriate coverage on your place. Most insurance policies don’t cover damages caused by floods or earthquakes.
How much renters insurance do I need?
When signing up for a renter's insurance policy, you’ll have to select your coverage amount and need to decide up to what dollar amount you’ll want your insurance policy to cover. You should walk around your apartment, take a video and photos of everything you care about and estimate how much they cost. Add up all your costs and round up to the nearest $10,000. So, for example, if you have $26,000 worth of items, you should choose a personal property coverage amount of $30,000.) There will be a deductible with each plan. The deductible is the portion of a covered personal property loss that is your responsibility. Deductibles vary, but if you have a $500 deductible, you are responsible for $500 of the covered personal property loss. It's also important to know that some categories of personal property have coverage limits. In some cases, a maximum dollar limit is set to a certain amount that will be paid to a policyholder in case of damage or loss.
Is renter's insurance required in NYC?
If you are a renter residing in New York, by law the building owner is required to maintain insurance on the dwelling you rent. However, the landlord's insurance does not protect you as a renter or cover the loss of any of your personal property.
How much does renters insurance cost?
The cost of insurance varies depending on several factors, but most policies are extremely affordable – in some cases, it costs as little as a morning coffee. Even if renters insurance is not required, the average policy costs less than $10 a month, which is nothing compared to the cost of buying new clothes, furniture, appliances, and electronics.
Fires, theft, weather damage, and accidents, these things happen. Homeowners would never go without adequate insurance coverage—and neither should renters.
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