The Truth about Renter’s Insurance

Susan Broderick

You’re looking to move, either to a new area or to a new apartment. Your rental application says renter’s insurance is required, but you’re not sure about having yet another monthly expense.

Here’s your 3 minute read to learn all the basics about renter’s insurance: what it is, who it protects, and why it’s so important for a shared apartment building.

What is Renters’ Insurance?

Renter’s insurance is a form of liability insurance, protecting a renter’s personal property against such unfortunate events as fire, theft, and vandalism, among others. It pays expenses when the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, covering hotel expenses if you need a place to stay and covers injuries that happen at your place, including lawsuits/legal fees if someone sues you.

Many property owners will require proof of renters’ insurance at the time of lease signing or within 30 days or so of lease signing. Renter’s insurance protects your possessions when living in close proximity to others (i.e. apartments) and, while some landlord insurance may help protect against limited damages caused by renters, you could still be held liable for damages in certain circumstances — for instance, if you caused a fire or plumbing accident.

A renter’s insurance policy typically helps protect your belongings and provides liability protection. Most renters’ insurance will even offer some coverage for your belongings in mini-storage units.

Another Safety Feature in Your Apartment Building

Have you noticed the fire alarms and sprinklers in a building? They are two levels of defense against fire damage to life and property.Renter’s insurance will protect you from the direct damage of a fire and the indirect damage of water from the sprinklers or the fire department hoses.

The average policies cost approximately $100 per year. You can often bundle your renters’ insurance with your car insurance (or other insurance policies) you might have with the same company for greater savings.

You might also be eligible for discounts based on being “claim free”, automatic funds transfer, home security systems or even the rental building’s safety features!

Estimate the Value of Your Personal Property

The monetary value of your personal belongings in your rented space may be more than you think.

Take an inventory of every item in your space – from electronics to art to home goods to clothing. Estimate the current value of these items (not what you paid for them) and tally them up. This is a good way to approximate how much insurance you will need in the event your belongings are stolen or destroyed.

An added plus to this exercise is that you will have a list of your belongings for any other purpose for which you might need it!

Conclusion

You may temporarily balk at the additional expense, but renter’s insurance costs a lot less than restoring an apartment or building. You’ll be grateful if you ever need it.

Published: Apr 12, 2018. Updated April 18th, 2018