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Do I Really Need Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance protects your stuff from theft or damage. Plus, if you ever lose access to your rental for some reason, your policy will pay the hotel bills until you can move back in.

If your landlord doesn’t live on their rental property, it’s likely they have a landlord’s insurance policy. This will cover the structure and their financial interest in it, but won't cover you in any way. A renters insurance policy will cover your stuff, medical bills in case anything happens to you or a guest, and the cost of a hotel if you lose access to your rental for any reason. Policies usually cost around $100 per year.

What's typically covered by renters insurance?

There are four categories of coverage for any renters insurance policy:

Personal belongings: Personal belongings coverage means that, if for some reason, anything you own is damaged on the property, you will be repaid the value of the damage. Coverage ranges from $6,000 to $1 million.

Personal liability: Personal liability coverage protects you the same way that liability coverage protects landlords. If you get injured on the property, your medical costs may be covered, and any income you missed due to the injury may be paid out to you.

Medical payments to others: You're not the only one protected from injury. Almost all standard renters insurance policies include coverage for medical payments to others. This coverage protects you if a situation were to arise where someone was injured in your rental unit and sought compensation for medical bills from you.

Loss of use: Loss of use coverage, also called additional expenses coverage, ensures that if your home is damaged and is being repaired as a part of a claim on the insurance policy, you will be paid for any alternative accommodations you book. If the roof is being fixed and you can’t sleep in your bedroom, they’ll cover the cost of a hotel.

How much does renters insurance cost?

There are multiple factors that determine the amount you will pay monthly for renters insurance.

Your building: The age of your building, its proximity to bodies of water, and whether or not it has a sprinkler system all make a difference. Insurance companies offer you the opportunity to choose the amount of coverage you want for certain situations.

What’s getting covered: Any insurance provider will ask you to provide the estimated value of the items you want to protect in your rental unit. The standard range is between $10,000 and $100,000; the more expensive your belongings, the higher your monthly payment will be.

Your deductible: You can choose the amount of your deductible. This works just like any other insurance policy—the deductible is the amount that your claim has to exceed in order for you to receive a payout. For example, if your deductible is $500 and someone steals your $600 guitar, you will receive $100 from your insurance company. The standard deductible for renters insurance is $500, but you can change it. The higher your deductible, the less your monthly rate will be.

Extras: You can also add certain coverages to your policy in exchange for paying a higher price. Examples include coverage that protects you while you’re traveling—if a hotel tried to hold you responsible to damage to a room for example—and protection against identity theft.

Who is covered by my renters insurance?

Renters insurance cover your spouse and family members—anyone related to you by marriage, blood, or legal adoption.

No matter what kind of coverage you choose, it won’t cover your roommates. Any roommate you have will need to get their own policy to cover their stuff. You could add them as an “additionally insured” for an extra cost, but it is usually cheaper for them to just get their own policy.

Does my renters insurance still apply if I sublet my apartment?

If you go away and leave stuff in your apartment that you want to remain covered, then make sure this is part of the policy you buy. If you get a plan with Allstate or State Farm, your items will still be covered as long as you let the insurance company know you’ll be living somewhere else (which you can do simply by calling, no proof of address needed). Any valuables your subtenant brings into your unit will not be covered by your policy. If you have Lemonade or Jetty, however, your items will not be covered during the sublet.

What happens to my renters insurance if I move?

One benefit of renters insurance is that it generally moves with you, as long as you are staying in the same state. You will need to let your insurance provider know your new address, but you won’t have to apply for a new policy.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.