6 Surprising Things that Renters Insurance Covers
Renters insurance is fast becoming a staple product most renters need to have. While not all landlords require this type of insurance, it is something you really don’t want to pass up. Imagine the ceiling caving in, a major leak upstairs or a fire! If something were ever to go wrong you may not only have to replace some valuables in your apartment, but your place may become uninhabitable for a length of time too. What would you do if you had to stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks? Would you be able to afford it? Most renters insurance policies cover up to $100,000 in personal liability protection and $30,000 in contents coverage. You can even cover more if you elect to pay a few more dollars a month. There are some surprising things that renters insurance covers up to those limits. Here are a few:
1. Dog Bite a Neighbor or Friend?
We know your dog is amazing and normally very well behaved, but just like people, dogs also have their bad days. It’s not unheard of for an otherwise sweet dog to just snap and bite someone -- and badly. When this happens, it’s usually no big deal, but sometimes there are injuries involved and stitches needed. If your dog bites someone you know (or don’t know very well), your renters insurance will most likely foot the medical bills. Not a bad deal.
2. Belongings Stored Off-site
If you have your belongings in storage and they go missing, are stolen or get destroyed due to humidity or mold, you’re covered by renters insurance up to 10%. That’s $3,000 maximum. This coverage is much more inclusive when applied to contents inside the home (50 to 60%, which means $5,000-$6,000 max). You can always increase your coverage if you think your stuff is worth more. This coverage also applies to students living in a dormitory. Usually they are covered by their parents’ renters insurance coverage, but often only by 10% because it’s considered an off-premises coverage. You’ll want to add a rider for your child’s laptop (and other expensive items) so they are covered after the limits on your policy are reached.
3. Vacation Coverage
If your luggage is lost at the airport or if your bag is stolen while you’re away on vacation (yes, even a foreign country), your renters insurance will cover you for the missing items. If your things are stolen from your car while you’re on a road trip or if your home is burglarized or vandalized while you’re away you’ll also be reimbursed for losses. Renters insurance: Never leave home without it, right?
4. Relocation Costs
No, don’t count on renters insurance to pay for your move to another state, but your policy will cover you if you have to relocate because your apartment is no longer inhabitable. For instance, say you experienced fire or water damage so extensive that you were forced to rent a hotel room. Would you be able to afford it or would you need some help. Buy renters insurance and you won’t have to worry about it (up to limits, of course). You may even be covered for gas, meals and other miscellaneous expenses associated with the temporary relocation.
5. Belongings in a Car
Countless petty thieves pull their heads out of the sand every holiday. They will take things out of your car or steal the car itself. While renters insurance won’t cover the loss of the car, it will cover your belongings. Also, keep in mind that comprehensive insurance won’t cover belongings and gifts inside a car (only installed stereo systems and the like). You’d only be covered for your stuff if you have renters insurance or homeowners insurance.
6. Did Your Food Spoil?
Strange as it may seem, your renters insurance will cover it if your refrigerator stops working and all your food in the refrigerator goes bad, but only if it’s due to a power outage or failed appliance. Remember though: You’ll have to pay the deductible first. If you chose a $500 deductible, you’ll have to pay that first. Or worse yet, you’ll have to pay $1000 if that’s what you elected as your deductible amount. All this for renters insurance to pay for the $50 worth of groceries that went bad. Worth it? Probably not, unless it happened in conjunction with another peril that caused you to have a deeper loss.
What’s Not Covered by Renters Insurance:
- Bed bugs
- Natural disasters, like a flood or earthquake insurance, which are two separate policies not included in renters insurance or home insurance.
- Termites, vermin and other pests and the damage they do.
- Antiques, jewelry, art, and rare or expensive items may not be fully covered (you should always get a rider or floater for these items).
- Terrorism/Nuclear War are not covered. Terrorism coverage is now a separate policy and you won’t be covered unless you or your landlord have that coverage.
- Broken appliances, like televisions and other electronics, are not covered unless they are damaged or destroyed because of a covered peril, like fire, theft or vandalism.
- Anything else specifically excluded in your policy.
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You may not remember everything that got destroyed and you won’t be compensated for it either. Think about what kind of damage a really bad water leak or fire will do. Your things may become unrecognizable and you may not list everything properly when you start the claims process. Or worse yet, what if the insurance company requires proof of ownership?
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Here is what you should keep in mind If you rent an apartment, condo, townhome or single-family home.