Filing a Renters Insurance Claim

Always make sure you have an inventory of your personal property when getting renters insurance. If a covered peril does occur, contact your landlord and file a report with the police. You should then notify your insurance company that you will be filing a claim. Make sure to document your losses. When filling out the claims form, give the most detailed and accurate information. Otherwise, your claim could be delayed or denied altogether. Also, consider whether or not filing a claim is worth the effort. If the claim amount is a little more than your deductible, consider paying out of pocket instead of getting a rate hike. If you’re renting and need to file a claim, keep reading and see what you should do.

How To File a Renters Insurance Claim

  • Create an inventory - Always create an inventory of all your possessions when getting a renters insurance policy. This helps give you an idea of how much coverage you should purchase. Make sure to store your inventory list in a safe place along with any receipts or other pertinent documents. You can also take pictures or videos of your possessions that can be stored as part of your inventory.
  • Contact your landlord - Contact your landlord should something happen. It is common for leases to require tenants to inform the landlord immediately of any situations in which the rented property is damaged. Events such as burglaries or break-ins, fire damage, injuries to guests, items stolen from your vehicle and water damage should all be reported to your landlord.
  • File a police report if needed - Filing a police report is always a good idea when it comes to stolen or vandalized/damaged property. Police reports help establish that a crime has taken place which helps give validity to your claim when reporting to the insurance company. Make sure you record the names of the police officers you speak to. You can provide this information to your claims adjuster so they can speak with the officers themselves. Make sure you include a copy of your police report when you file your renters insurance claim.
  • Notify your renters insurance company - Inform your insurance company that you will be filing a claim. This will help the insurance company quicken the claims process. Be ready to provide your policy number and all information pertaining to the incident when you call your insurance agent. Your agent will likely be able to verify the time limit for filing the claim, explain your coverage and tell you if the claim will be higher than your deductible.
  • Document your losses - Keep a copy of the police report along with any receipts for any expenses you may have incurred due to the incident. This includes any windows that may have been boarded up or locks that had to be replaced around your rented property. The reason for this documentation is so you can be reimbursed. You will also want to document any personal items that were damaged, destroyed or lost. Make sure you have:
    • Property information including purchase dates, purchase prices and copies of receipts
    • Photo or video documentation of damage caused to each item

The more information you’re able to provide your insurance company, the faster the claims process will be.

  • Complete the claims form - Use all of the information you have about the incident to complete your insurance company’s claim form. Make sure you give detailed and accurate information when filing your claim. If you don’t, your claim may be delayed or denied.

Submit your claim promptly. You can still make adjustments to your claim after the filing process if there are ongoing situations such as additional living expenses associated with having to relocate.

  • Update your personal property information - Once you’ve filed your claim and the dust has settled, make a new inventory of your current items. Make sure you include any items that were purchased to replace damaged, destroyed or lost property. Also, include any items that may have not been inventoried the first time.
Keep a copy of the police report along with any receipts for any expenses you may have incurred due to the incident.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Filing a Renters Insurance Claim?

While filing a claim can help reimburse you for damaged, destroyed or lost property, there are some downsides. Below is a table comparing the pros and cons of filing a renters insurance claim.

Pros

Cons

Costs of damaged, destroyed, or stolen property is reimbursed

There is the potential for a rate increase

Additional living expenses will be reimbursed

Filing a claim may not be worth it if the claim amount is only slightly higher than your deductible

Liability coverage provides protection should you be the one who caused the damage

You may be considered a risky investment by your insurance company if you are at-fault

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Common Mistakes To Avoid When Filing a Renters Insurance Claim

Mistakes to avoid when filing a renters insurance claim include omitting required documentation or inaccurate information. This can cause delays in the claims process or even result in your claim being denied. Also, make sure you are quick to file your claim or else you may not get reimbursed. And make sure your documentation (photos, videos, receipts, police reports and insurance policy) is well organized.

Always create an inventory of all your possessions when getting a renters insurance policy.

Don’t file a claim you can easily pay on your own, and reconsider filing one if the claim amount is only marginally above your deductible.

How Are Renters Insurance Claims Paid?

How you’ll be reimbursed depends on whether you have an actual cash value policy or a replacement cost policy. An actual cash value policy pays the original amount spent for the item minus its depreciated value. A replacement cost policy will pay the original value of the item up to the policy's limit. You will get an initial payment for the value of your property, regardless of which type of policy you have. Replacement value policies require you to provide receipts. Only then will you get second payment for the difference between the replacement cost and the actual cash value. The time for reimbursement varies from one incident to another. Things like additional living expenses can be an ongoing process.

Renters Insurance FAQs

What does renters insurance typically cover?

Your typical renters insurance policy will include personal property coverage, liability coverage and additional living expenses. Personal property covers stolen or damaged belongings from covered perils, liability covers expenses associated with the property you damage or injuries you cause. Additional living expenses coverage helps pay hotel bills and more, if you are not able to stay in the property you rent.

How long does it take to get a payout from a renters insurance claim?

It can be between 10 and 30 days to receive a payout from a renters insurance claim. Payouts for additional living expenses can be ongoing depending on the situation.

Why would a renters insurance claim be denied?

Your renters insurance claim could be denied if there is no itemized inventory of your belongings, wrong or inaccurate information is given to the insurance company, the hazard is not a covered peril, or you wait too long to file a claim.

Key Takeaways

  1. Always be sure to create an inventory of your property when you get a renters insurance policy.
  2. If a covered peril does occur, contact your landlord, file a police report, notify your renters insurance company, document your losses, complete the claims form and update your personal property information.
  3. Filing a claim may cause a rate increase on your policy.
  4. Supply your insurance company with the most accurate and detailed information when filing a claim. Otherwise, your claim may be delayed or denied.
  5. Payouts for renters insurance claims depend on if you have an actual cash value policy or a replacement cost policy.

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