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If you’re looking for the cheapest renters insurance you can get, it’s essential to shop around and compare quotes. You may find that your current insurer is cheapest, but that can change, so check roughly once a year.
No matter who your insurer is, we can help you save on your insurance policy.
A renters insurance policy is a group of coverages designed to help protect you and your belongings. A typical renters insurance policy includes liability coverage, protection for your belongings and coverage for additional living expenses, should the home you're renting become temporarily uninhabitable. While you may not always be able to prevent certain situations, such as a break-in or visitor's injury, renters insurance, sometimes referred to as tenant insurance, may help minimize the impact, whether you're renting a single-family home or an apartment.
Renters insurance provides coverage for your lost, damaged, or stolen personal possessions. It also provides coverage for injuries to another person that might occur in your rented home or apartment. For example, if someone is hurt in your apartment, and the injury is deemed to be your fault, that person can file a liability claim with your insurance company to cover the costs associated with the injury.
If the injured person chooses to file a law suit against you, your renters liability insurance would pay for your legal defense, up to the limits set on your policy. If you do not have renters insurance, these costs would be your responsibility to pay out of pocket.
Most apartment complexes and landlords only have insurance that covers the damage to the actual dwelling, which leaves everything of yours—electronics, furniture, clothes, whatever—vulnerable. So, to protect your belongings in case of fire, theft, or damage, you need your own policy, called an HO4 or renter’s insurance policy. (Unless, of course, you have the funds to replace everything yourself!)
You also need liability coverage for damages caused by negligence. For instance, if you accidentally leave the kitchen sink on and it overflows into your neighbors’ apartment, you could be found liable for that damage—and required to pay for repairs, medical bills related to the accident, as well as defense costs if they bring a suit against you. Renter’s insurance would cover those costs.
No, none of this is fun to think about, but believe me—it’s a lot easier to plan (and pay) for it before it actually happens.
Is renters insurance worth it? The average cost of renters insurance is $12-$15 a month. Think about the value of all of your stuff. How much rent could you afford if you had to replace it all? In most cases, the cost of renters insurance is well worth protecting it.
Most insurance companies offer renters insurance. But what their policies offer can be very different, so it’s important to look at more than just the price when reviewing quotes. Read the policies carefully to see what is covered. The biggest thing is to do a rough estimate of the value of your belongings. Then choose a policy that covers them in full, but doesn’t offer more coverage than you need so you don’t squeeze your budget by paying more than necessary.
Also check out whether a renters insurance policy pays what your property is worth (actual cash value) or the cost to replace it (replacement-cost coverage). Think about what the difference might mean for your most important things. For example, if the cash value of your bike isn’t enough to buy a replacement, and you need one to get to work, it might be important for you to get coverage to replace stolen items.
Renters insurance isn’t a purchase you make often, so you may not know where to start or how to get renters insurance quotes.
Most standard renter’s insurance policies offer protection for your belongings in case of power surges, water damage, fire, vandalism, theft, and other events out of your control. However, most do not cover damage caused by flood water, earthquakes, mudslides, or nuclear hazards. If you live near a fault line or the water or are concerned about these hazards, talk with your insurance agent about getting a separate policy.
Also keep in mind that certain types of property will only be covered up to a limit set by your insurance company—$2,500 for electronics and $1,500 for jewelry and furs, for example. So, if you have an engagement ring, a customized computer, or even an expensive set of golf clubs, you should consider purchasing an additional personal articles policy. These add-ons to your renter’s insurance are typically inexpensive (we’re talking a few dollars every month), but protect those really important items that would be costly to replace.
Your policy also covers your living expenses in case you must leave your home after an accident. Say a tree crashes through your roof and the place needs repairs before you can live there again—loss of use will cover a hotel, food, and any other expenses you incur during that time.
Your liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage caused by negligence—like if your dog gets loose and bites the neighbor's kid and he has to get stitches.
You’re not, however, covered for negligence for expected or intended bodily injury (you throw a baseball in a parking lot trying to hit your neighbor), business pursuits (the cupcakes you bake in your apartment make someone sick with food poisoning—you would need a business owner's policy), or vehicle-related damage or injury (your emergency brake fails and your parked car hits someone—auto insurance covers this).
In addition to the basics, there are a few other types of coverage to know about. If a visitor suffers an injury in your home, your policy’s “medical payments to others” coverage will take care of the medical bills, regardless of who is at fault. “Credit card and bank forgery” coverage will protect against some monetary fraud attempts, such as if a burglar steals your credit card or check book during a break-in to run up fraudulent charges or write forged checks. And “property of others” coverage replaces not only your belongings, but others’—for example, if you borrow a friend’s laptop, and a leaking pipe destroys it.