While one of the benefits of renting is not having to pay for many of the things that can go wrong when you own the place, you aren’t entirely safe from disasters. You can still lose your belongings in a disaster or be sued for damage that you cause. Renter’s insurance is what protects you.
What is Renter’s Insurance?
Renter’s insurance is a special type of insurance that works just like home insurance except for renters. Renters don’t need full home insurance because their landlord is responsible for insuring the structure of the home. Renter’s insurance covers the renter’s own belongings and many types of liability.
Does the Landlord’s Insurance Give Coverage?
It is very rare for a landlord’s insurance policy to protect a renter. Most of the time, the landlord gets insurance for the things they need protection against, and the renter gets insurance for the things they need protection against. A small number of landlords may arrange to bundle in renter’s insurance coverage with your lease. More commonly, the landlord will have a deal to refer you to a specific renter’s insurance company, but you don’t have to use that company and may be able to find a better price elsewhere.
In addition, there could be situations that the landlord’s insurance company would pay for but then sue either you or your insurance company. An example might be if you negligently start a fire.
Do You Have to Have Renter’s Insurance?
If you ignore all the reasons why it’s smart to have renter’s insurance whether or not it’s mandatory, it really comes down to what your landlord asks for. Many require you to obtain renter’s insurance and provide proof of coverage before you can sign a lease or move in. This is smart for both the landlord and the tenant because it guarantees that if one tenant causes covered damage to another, there will be at least some protection for everyone involved.
What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?
Most renter’s insurance policies are fairly similar. However, the coverage you have will still vary based on the options that you select.
This is the biggest need for most renters. If your apartment burns down or you have a burglary, personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your belongings. This can include things like your laptop, clothes, furniture, and other items.
You also don’t want to be sued if you accidentally cause damage to or hurt someone else. This could range from someone getting hurt by tripping on something you left outside or if you cause a fire or flooding that destroys the belongings of the tenant below you.
Additional Living Expenses
If a disaster destroys your home, your landlord usually only has to let you out of your lease. They might offer you a spacious unit if they have one, but you’d otherwise need to find a new place to live. Additional living expenses can cover moving costs, temporary lodging, and other expenses you may face after being displaced from your home.
When you buy personal property coverage, the standard option may place limits on what it will pay for things like electronics, jewelry, and other high-value items. You can get additional coverage specifically for those items if you need them fully insured.
Floods and Earthquakes
Coverage for floods and earthquakes is usually a separate option, if not an entirely separate policy. If an earthquake or flood strikes and you don’t have these options, your standard coverages, such as personal property, usually won’t apply.
What if I’m Moving?
If you haven’t rented before and don’t have renter’s insurance, you can buy your policy in advance with a starting date of your move-in date. If you’re moving from one rental to another, you usually just need to let your insurance company know ahead of time. Your premium may be different for the new location, but they can set your policy to cover your new address including any temporary overlap as you move from one place to another.
If your current renter’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your new address, you can buy a new policy from another company just as if you didn’t already have renter’s insurance. Once you cancel your current policy, you usually get a prorated refund for the remaining time.
How Much Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?
Renter’s insurance is very inexpensive because you aren’t paying to insure the building itself. The main driver of cost is the limits you select. If you have more belongings to protect from disasters or more assets to protect from liability, you’ll pay a little extra for that coverage. Other factors in pricing can include your claims history, the age and type of building you’re in, crime rates, and how frequently disasters happen in your area.
Should You Get Renter’s Insurance With Your Car Insurance?
Insurance companies frequently offer to bundle renter’s insurance with your car insurance. The main advantage to you is that you may get a discount for bundling that might be cheaper than buying separately. You should still consider the coverage options and pricing separately just to make sure the bundle is the right move.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Your independent insurance agent can help you figure out how much renter’s insurance you need and the best place to buy it. Sagen & Associates Insurance has locations in Shawano and Brodhead, WI. Contact us now to request more information or start your quote.