If you’ve recently leased a new apartment, then there are a million little details to take care of as you settle in. At some point you may find yourself wondering: Do I need renters insurance? And if you’re not asking yourself that question, you should be.
What Is Renters Insurance?
Renter’s insurance protects your personal property in any rented dwelling—be it an apartment, condo, or a house—from theft or damage. Basically, renter’s insurance covers what’s inside your apartment but not the structure itself. Your landlord will have an insurance policy to protect their building, but contrary to what many people think, that policy does not cover your personal belongings.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renter’s insurance protects your belongings from a wide variety of mishaps and damages, including:
- Fire: Most renter’s insurance policies provide a payout for you to replace your lost belongings if they are destroyed by fire.
- Smoke damage: Renter’s insurance will cover those belongings that may not have been touched by fire but have suffered irreparable smoke damage. You may even be covered if the smoke carried over to your apartment from a fire that originated in a neighboring apartment.
- Water damage: Whether your stuff gets water damage due to a leak in the roof, a flood, or a burst pipe, you’ll be covered.
- Wind damage: If a windstorm or strong gusts cause damage to your possessions, a renter’s insurance policy may cover the cost to repair or replace these items.
- Vandalism: If someone intentionally destroys your personal property within your rented home, most policies will cover you for that loss.
- Theft: If your apartment is burglarized, renter’s insurance may cover the possessions that were stolen.
Beyond that, your renter’s insurance also provides protection against:
- Loss of use: If your residence becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, then your renter’s insurance policy will cover expenses exceeding your normal living expenses (e.g., hotel room rental).
- Third-party property damage: If someone else’s property is damaged by any of the above perils while in your apartment, renter’s insurance may provide repair or replacement.
- Third-party medical costs: If someone is injured while in your rented property, then renter’s insurance may cover any resulting medical and hospital costs.
Am I Required To Have Renters Insurance?
Sometimes, the answer to the question: “Do I need renter’s insurance?” isn’t up to you, but your landlord. There’s no law that says that you have to have renter’s insurance, but it is legal for your landlord to require you to have renter’s insurance as a condition of your lease. There are three major reasons why your landlord would want you to carry renter’s insurance:
- Protection from third-party injury liability: If someone gets injured while in your apartment and you have renter’s insurance, then your injured guest will seek compensation from your insurance company, not your landlord.
- Protection from claims of damaged possessions: By requiring you to have renter’s insurance, your landlord is telling you that they are not responsible for replacing your personal belongings in the event of a disaster.
- Protection from damages caused by you: If you inadvertently cause a fire or water damage, then your landlord’s insurance company will pay for the damages, but only after your landlord meets the deductible. But if you have renter’s insurance, then your landlord can recoup the deductible from your insurance company.
Before you rent any apartment ask if renter’s insurance is required and how much liability coverage you’re expected to carry. Each landlord may have a different answer and you should account for the cost of that insurance in your monthly budget.
Most Importantly, Do I Need Renters Insurance?
Although it’s becoming more common for landlords to require their tenants to purchase renter’s insurance, in most cases, obtaining renter’s insurance is still optional. And for the most part, many people choose to not buy it. Many renters are under the impression that their landlord’s insurance policy will cover their losses, but that’s just not true!
Another reason that renters choose not to purchase renter’s insurance is that they think they don’t own anything of value. However, almost everyone’s personal belongings are worth more than they think. Plus, renter’s insurance is about more than just protecting your property. You’re covered if guests are injured, their belongings get damaged while on your property, or you incur expenses in the case your apartment becomes uninhabitable due to a disaster.
Where Do I Get Renters Insurance?
Before signing a lease on any rental property make sure you speak with the renter’s insurance agents at JMG Insurance Agency to learn more about what coverage you may need. The JMG Insurance Agency offers a variety of renter’s insurance policies to fit your needs and your budget. Reach out to JMG Insurance Agency today to learn more about the various types of insurance coverage they can provide you.