What does your renters insurance cover?
What is Renters Insurance?
Insurance is often confusing. But sometimes, the name says it all. Luckily, that’s the case with renters insurance, which is — no surprise here! — insurance coverage for renters.
Renters insurance offers financial protection to tenants and is primarily meant to safeguard your personal belongings if they are stolen or damaged within your rental property.
These policies will also cover medical payments and legal expenses if the policyholder is found liable for injuring someone or damaging property. And if your rented home is being renovated and becomes uninhabitable, your insurance may also cover temporary living expenses.
There are a lot of other bonuses too, like helping to cover fraudulent use of a credit card or the cost incurred for spoiled food owing to circumstances beyond your control, like a power outage. And best of all, renters policies are normally pretty inexpensive, despite the fact that they can provide thousands of dollars in coverage should you need it.
Whereas homeowners are very likely to purchase insurance policies to protect their assets, many renters are skeptical if they need to invest in insurance. Often, that’s because they don’t totally understand the coverage that it could provide. But don’t worry: we’ve got all the info you could need to understand what renters insurance covers!
Do You Need Renters Insurance?
Our short but enthusiastic answer is: Hell yes! Here at Marble, we don’t like to tell you what to do, so we’ll just stress that we are big, big fans of renters insurance. First of all, renters insurance can provide you with much needed coverage in the event that anything happens in your rented apartment or home.
And second of all, it’s not uncommon for a landlord to require a certain amount of coverage to protect you and your belongings — so you may have to purchase renters insurance whether you had planned on it or not.
While your landlord will probably have some level of insurance coverage in place, that policy will only cover losses or damages to the building itself. Many people think they are covered by their landlord’s policy, and unfortunately, that’s just not true! Personal possessions — like your clothing, furniture, and digital devices — are only covered if you have renters insurance. So if something goes awry and you don’t have any insurance yourself, you’ll be left high and dry.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
Renters insurance offers protection when an item is damaged due to a covered peril. Remember to ask your insurance agent what exactly is covered before you purchase a policy. Standard types of coverage your renters insurance should offer include:
- Personal property coverage
- Loss-of-use coverage
- Personal liability coverage
- Medical expenses coverage
- Additional living expenses (ALE) coverage
“Okay,” you think, “but what do those actually mean?” Well, as they say, let’s get into it.
Personal Property Damage
First and foremost, renters insurance protects your stuff — like jewelry, furniture, appliances, and electronics. So if a covered loss like fire, water damage, theft, vandalism, explosion, or snow has affected your rented home (and with it, your stuff), your renters insurance personal property policy will cover damages — up to the policy’s limit, of course. (As ever, we advise you to read the fine print, because not everything is covered. You may want to look into a rider if you want to add more coverage to your policy.)
And more good news: Your personal belongings are covered both in and around your rental property, meaning that if your laptop is stolen from your car while it’s parked in your building’s garage, your policy will likely cover the theft. That said, if the laptop is stolen from your car while it’s parked at the supermarket, your renters insurance probably won’t cover it. (So please, do us a solid and don’t leave your laptop in your car in the first place!)
If your rental property has become uninhabitable owing to a fire, leak, explosion, etc, your policy will cover the costs of temporary accommodation — up to the coverage limit, that is. This means that if your apartment needs repairs in the wake of a fire, loss-of-use coverage will compensate you for hotel bills and reimburse you for the cost of meals.
FYI: Any kind of flood or earthquake damage is excluded, so you’ll have to purchase flood insurance or earthquake insurance add-on — which, given the news these days, might be worth considering.
When considering any policy, you will want to look at plans that can cover you in the event of a total loss. And, as with all things insurance, you’ll want to check what counts as a named peril, because what you need protecting against may vary from place to place. (And here’s a friendly tip: do a home inventory once you move into your rental, so you know exactly what you own and its value in case of a total loss.)
Let’s say you throw a rager of a housewarming party. If someone gets injured after slipping in spilled beer or if their personal property gets damaged while in your home, your renters policy will cover the legal and liability costs. This means that, in the event that your fallen, beer-soaked guest decides to sue you, you can make a claim to be reimbursed for attorney fees (no guarantees that personal liability insurance will help mend your friendship, though!).
Note that insurance companies often maintain in their contract that they will only cover the legal fee and lawsuit costs for attorneys of their choice. That said, attorneys that are appointed by insurance companies are usually experienced professionals who work in favor of their clients.
If that person who took a spill in the beer breaks their ankle, your policy may cover their medical expenses. Same goes for a pizza delivery woman injured in your doorway or a mailman who is chased off your lawn and bitten by your dog. Just keep in mind that this policy only extends to visitors. So if it was your roommate who broke her ankle in the beer puddle, your renters policy may not cover the medical bills.
Additional Living Expenses
If your unit becomes unlivable and you’re forced to live elsewhere for a time, a renters insurance policy’s additional living expenses (ALE) will cover the cost of, yes, you guessed it, any additional expenses. This could be things like the cost of gas if your commute is temporarily longer, laundry services, and storage. Just keep track of your receipts, because insurance providers love documentation!
Find the Coverage You Need with Marble
So that’s the basics of renters insurance, but for the nitty-gritty (which you’ll want!) speak with your agent. And check out Marble, where you can compare renters insurance policies, evaluate coverage options, and make the right decision for your budget — all while earning rewards. So sign up for Marble today!