If you haven’t had a policy before, you’re dealing in unknown unknowns rather than known unknowns, and you deserve to know exactly what you’re buying – and why.
There are four major types of coverage that you’re buying when you purchase renters insurance in Oregon. The one that most people think of first is called personal property coverage.
It pays the cost to replace the things you own if they’re damaged, stolen, or destroyed by a covered peril such as fire, theft, vandalism, smoke, explosion, or burst pipe. There are a number of other perils that are covered under your policy, as well. They’re enumerated in some detail at the above link, and also in greater detail in the policy document itself.
The policy document, of course, is the actual contract that makes up the policy and tells you what the insurance will cover, who it will cover, and the other details. That’s supplemented by a declarations page that lists the amounts and general types of coverage. Your landlord will want to see the declarations page, not the entire policy which can run to fifty or sixty pages.
Personal property coverage is important not only because you want to protect the things you’ve worked for, but because when you buy apartment insurance you’re not just insuring against your own risk. You’re also insuring against the risk of a neighbor causing a loss that affects you. If someone on the other end of the building has a fire, your things might not be burned, but you’ll have smoke damage and probably water damage as well. Renters insurance helps to mitigate the risk of someone else’s loss becoming your loss.
One coverage that people often forget about is called loss of use. To run with the above example of a fire, what if there’s smoke damage to your apartment and it will take several days to clean it? Or what if it will take several days for a structural engineer to certify that your building is safe to enter after the fire? You’ll need someplace to stay in the meantime, and you’ll have other costs that you incur as a result of not being able to use your apartment or the things in it.
Loss of use coverage pays for those expenses. It’s triggered by a covered loss – so any loss that would cause you to use your personal property coverage, essentially. Loss of use coverage is there to make sure that you don’t suffer a financial loss because of a disaster that prevents you from using your home, because your home is where your life centers around in most cases.
Liability might seem like a minimal risk to you, but it’s a risk that has serious consequences. That’s why every Portland Renters Insurance policy includes liability coverage. You can incur liability by doing anything that results in your negligence causing a bodily injury loss or a personal property loss to someone else. Certainly, it would help if you were responsible for the fire mentioned above, but it’s not just limited to that.
Imagine that your child is riding their bike in the park. You’re paying attention – mostly – while chatting with a neighbor. In the blink of an eye, your child is riding directly into the path of an adult who’s carrying home fragile holiday gifts that they just purchased. When the bike knocks that person over, you’ve got bodily injury losses from the fall and subsequent injuries as well as property damage from the broken gifts.
Renters insurance liability would cover both parts of that loss, and you can rest assured that your child is covered because they’re part of the definition of named insured, as is a resident spouse. They’re included because children can’t contract (obviously) for their own insurance and you’re responsible for them regardless. That’s all written into the policy as part of the standard language.
Medical payments to others coverage is another one that many people forget about until they need it. If you have a guest in your home and that guest suffers an injury, medical payments coverage can respond. In this case, fault and negligence are irrelevant unlike liability – if the injury happened to a guest in your home, the coverage can respond.
Medical payments coverage is there for injuries that happen, but don’t rise to the level of a liability claim. Having the coverage can smooth over relationships. If you had company for dinner and they hurt themselves on a chipped plate, they’d want you to pay for the urgent care visit, of course. With renters insurance, you don’t have to.
There are some additional kinds of coverage in your policy, as well. For example, you are likely to have a small amount of coverage for damage to the property of others. That’s great for when you’re at someone’s house and drop a plate from their expensive china set – you don’t want to pay $250 for a plate out-of-pocket, do you?
The average renters insurance policy in Portland is about fifteen dollars a month, or around $180.00 for the year. Most people choose to pay for it for the year, but convenient billing is also available. The coverage only takes about sixty seconds to get if you click above, or about three minutes on the phone if you’d rather call or have some questions.
Hopefully now you know a bit more about renters insurance in Portland, to help you make informed decisions about how much renters insurance liability and how much personal property coverage you need on your renters insurance. Remember that your landlord isn’t responsible for any of your property, so it’s up to you to protect it.
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