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Recent Insurance Guides & Articles

SmartFinancial is here to answer your tough insurance questions and give you smart advice about coverage.

Renters Insurance

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Renters Insurance

Does My Roommate Need Renters Insurance Too?

If you bought renters insurance but your roommate did not, there are a few things you need to know.

Renters Insurance

25 Questions to Ask When Buying Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is one of the most underrated types of insurance out there. It’s also one that many people regret not having invested in until it’s too late. A renters insurance policy can protect you and your belongings in situations that you may not have ever anticipated.

Renters Insurance

8 Things Renters Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Before purchasing renters insurance, it’s important to keep in mind that you should buy enough renters insurance to cover all of your personal property. The best way to calculate how much you need is by creating a list of all your belongings along with their estimated value.

What Is Renters Insurance?

What Is Renters Insurance

A renters insurance policy is a contract between a renter of a home, apartment or condo and the insurance company stating that he/she is protected for coverage on belongings and living arrangements after a covered loss. If clothing, furniture or electronics are damaged as a result of a covered peril or stolen after a burglary, you are protected and should expect reimbursement for your losses. Additional costs, like temporary lodgings if your home becomes uninhabitable, may also be covered in your policy. Your personal property coverage is a standard part of a renters insurance policy . Your things may be replaced if they are damaged or destroyed, in cases of a fire or a burst pipe that causes water damage. Your coverage limits place maximums on how much you can be reimbursed for your losses. Also, note that you are subject to a deductible. A deductible is the amount you have to pay before your coverage begins. In order to get coverage for a burglary or theft of items stolen out of your car, you may need to submit a police report.

Often, tenants wrongly assume that any loss would be covered by the landlord’s insurance. Therefore, only about 37% of renters are covered by renters insurance, whereas 95% of homeowners have home insurance.

It’s important to note that you often have the option between two types of renters insurance policies: the broad form (standard policy) and the comprehensive form (added protections). Like comprehensive coverage with auto insurance, the comprehensive form is an added layer of protection. In the area of renters insurance, it’s advisable to elect higher forms of coverage if you live in, say, Tornado Alley or a hurricane and/or earthquake prone area of the country.

How Much Is Renters Insurance

How Much Is Renters Insurance

The cost of renters insurance will barely make a dent in your wallet. On average, renters pay anywhere between $11 and $30 a month to keep their coverage active. If you have a renters insurance policy, dependents like college students will most likely be covered under your policy for up to 10% of your limits. However, we always advise parents to buy a separate policy for their children who are living away from home. Some carriers even offer a reduced policy called dorm insurance.

Where you live greatly determines the cost of your renters insurance as does the building type. Prices vary by state and neighborhood but coverages are very similar according to geographic location. The widest discrepancy in rates is seen from one state to another with smaller shifts on a more local level. The national average for an annual policy of renters insurance is $188, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Compare that national average with the average annual premiums for the following states (from 2015, compiled by NAIC):

  • Mississippi : $262
  • North Dakota : $114
  • California : $202
  • New York : $202
  • Wisconsin : $132

How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

How Much Renters Insurance Do I Need?

The amount of personal property coverage you need depends on how much stuff you own. If you sit down and make an inventory of all your possessions, you’ll be shocked at how much everything adds up. Now, imagine having to replace everything without any help? This is why buying renters insurance is important. When you buy a policy you can decide what kind of coverage to buy an actual cash policy and a replacement cost policy . While the difference won’t affect the price of your premiums much, it will impact your claim very differently.

An actual cash value policy will reimburse you for the cost of the property minus your deductible. With replacement cost, you buy the replacement item and submit the receipt for the new TV as your claim. You may or may not be reimbursed 100%, depending on what you bought. You will only be covered fully for the same/similar model of what you previously had. The replacement cost of renters insurance is about 10% more expensive but you often get more for your money if/when a disaster causes damage to your personal belongings at home. However, if you add riders or floaters to an actual cash value policy, you will fill in the gap for what you’re not reimbursed for after a loss.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance covers unexpected losses that might otherwise be expensive. A covered peril is explicitly covered by a renters insurance policy. Covered perils include: theft/robbery, break-ins and injuries on the premises. Renters insurance would help you repair or replace belongings, like clothes, furniture and electronics. It would also cover repairs to someone else’s property if you accidentally damage it. Medical bills for someone who gets injured on the property are also covered. If you need to rent a hotel or live elsewhere until your home becomes habitable again, renters insurance often covers those expenses too.

Let’s say the neighbor upstairs flooded her apartment and it ruined your shoes. You would be able to buy new shoes after being reimbursed by your renters insurance. This includes damage/loss/theft of items taken out of the home. For instance, if your purse is stolen out of your car, some carriers will cover that loss with renters insurance. Your landlord’s insurance will only cover the damages to the building, so your personal items will be only protected with your personal renters insurance policy. Ask questions about your policy terms because policies vary from one insurance carrier to the next.

Renters insurance also protects you against lawsuits. If you are accused of negligence resulting in another person’s injuries or property damage, renters insurance will cover your legal fees, including defense. For instance, if your dog bites a visitor, or if they trip and fall while in your home you’re covered for legal bills and medical expenses.

Another little known bonus of having renters insurance is coverage for credit card fraud and check forgery. As we all know, hacking of phones and computers is on the rise, so even limited coverage for these types of losses helps.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?

Yes, not only are you covered if your home is burglarized but you’re also often covered if your property is stolen out of your car or if your bike gets stolen. Before buying renters insurance t’s always good to create a home inventory to decide how much coverage you need to buy and also as proof of your loss. Keep receipts or find online listings of the same item with pricing so that if you have to be reimbursed you’ll have something to show for your loss.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs or Mold?

Renters insurance does not usually cover infestations so bed bugs are not covered. With mold it’s a little trickier. Mold is often a result of water damage. It would be covered if the water damage was a covered peril. For instance, flooding is not covered by renters insurance but a leak that caused an internal flood would be covered so the mold caused by the resulting water damage would be covered too.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Some types of water damage are covered by renters insurance but others are not. For instance, flood insurance is a separate policy. It is the only policy that would cover water damage caused by flooding. However, if you have damage that is caused by an internal flood that happened as a result of a burst or clogged pipe, you will most likely be covered.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?

Yes, renters insurance covers storage units for up to 10% of the personal property portion of your coverage if there are damages to your property while it’s being kept in a storage unit. In fact, most belongings outside of the home are covered up to 10%. To be covered for more than 10% of your contents coverage, you can elect to buy insurance from the storage company.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Earthquakes and Flooding?

No, an earthquake policy and a flood policy are sold separately from renters insurance and damages from a flood and earthquake are not covered by renters insurance.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Yes, dog bites are covered under the personal liability coverage portion of your renters insurance. In fact, any damage caused by your dog is covered. Some renters insurance policies exclude certain dog breeds or will refuse to cover you at all if you own a certain breed.

What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover?

Renters insurance covers most types of theft and damage but it does not cover accidental damage. For instance, if you drop your phone and it no longer works, you cannot file a claim to be reimbursed for a phone. If you do, you will not be covered. Accidents are not a covered peril. Renters insurance also doesn’t cover flooding, sinkholes or earthquakes. You can always add flood and earthquake insurance to your standard renters insurance policy if these are high risk incidents where you live.

Even if it’s a result of a covered peril, your belongings will not be covered if you don’t have proof of ownership of the damaged or destroyed items. This is why it’s important to keep receipts and photos of your expensive belongings on your phone. In some cases, you may need a police report.

Renters insurance only covers the belongings of the person who took out the policy. This means that your roommates and their belongings are not covered if they don’t have their own policies in place along with an inventory of their belongings. Damage done by pests, rodents and bugs is not covered, nor is the cost of exterminating them. Renters insurance will also not cover damages to a car.

Is Renters Insurance Required?

Is Renters Insurance Required?

In some apartment buildings, renters insurance is required. Some homeowners who rent out their houses or condos require renters insurance . However, only about 37% of renters in the U.S. are covered by renters insurance, whereas 95% of homeowners have home insurance.

How to Get Renters Insurance Quotes

How to Get Renters Insurance Quotes

As with any kind of insurance comparison, if you shop renters insurance quotes you will get you the best rates from the top insurance companies. It’s important to buy insurance from a reputable source to ensure that they have the financial strength and history of paying losses.

Most Popular Articles
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6 Surprising Things that Renters Insurance Covers

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?

Renters Insurance Articles
Renters Insurance 101: The Basics
Renters Insurance
What Is the Difference Between ACV and RCV

Actual Cash Value (ACV) is also known as market value; a Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is when you're reimbursed for the same or similar item.

Renters Insurance
Filing a Renters Insurance Claim

Guide to understanding how to file renters insurance claims with your carriers. Avoid unnecessary steps and process the claim with less confusion.

Renters Insurance
Is Renters Insurance Required?

Learn the importance of renters insurance. Renters insurance offers many coverages -- find out if it's required when renting your home.

Renters Insurance
Renters Insurance vs Home Insurance

See the difference between the two policies. Learn about the distinction between renters insurance and homeowners' insurance and understand the coverages.

Renters Insurance
Renters Insurance: What’s Not Covered

Flooding, sinkholes, or earthquakes are not covered by renters insurance. Understand how renters insurance applies in certain unexpected instances.

Renters Insurance
Renters Insurance Explained: Understanding Your Coverages

Theft, lawsuits, and other valuable properties. Discover other coverage a renters insurance will cover. SmartFinancial will help you understand a renters insurance policy.

Renters Insurance
How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Understand how renters' insurance policies will cover your belongings. Find out if renters' insurance is really worth it. Learn more about renters insurance today!

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