Have you just signed a lease on a new rental property? If so, congratulations! Are you asking yourself “does renters insurance cover me or my community ?” If so, the next step you should take is to get renters insurance. A common misconception people have when they choose not to get renters insurance is they believe they don’t need it or they are covered under their community or landlord’s insurance policy.
What is renters insurance and why do I need it?
Many individuals think a renters insurance policy only protects the community, but the opposite is true. Renters insurance includes a few different coverages under one single policy;
First is personal liability coverage, which protects you against lawsuits. If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, or if someone got injured in your apartment or rental home and tried to sue you, this part of your renters insurance policy helps you pay for the associated costs. For example, if an accident happened where someone broke their arm on your rental property and tried to sue you for it, that is when the liability portion of your policy comes into play and will protect you from any lawsuits and/or medical bills that may come up.
A renters insurance policy also comes with personal property protection, which covers your contents such as furniture, clothing, and electronics in the event of a fire, vandalism, or theft. If the damage that occurred is a covered peril, then your personal property coverage will kick in and either repair or replace what was damaged. Most of the time your landlord or community will have their own master insurance policy, but this does not cover your personal property within the walls of your unit or rental home, and it doesn’t provide protection for your items. Here’s a worst-case scenario: your apartment catches on fire when you are away on vacation. Your personal belongings such as your bed, couch, new tv, and computer are all damaged from the fire. Instead of paying out of your own pocket to repair or replace those items yourself, your personal property coverage will do it for you up to whatever limit you have on your renters policy. In this case, it is much better to pay around $15 dollars a month to be safe, rather than having to spend thousands of dollars out of your paycheck in the event of a loss.
Renters insurance also includes minor coverages called loss of use, and medical payments.
Loss of use is when something happens to your apartment or rental home and you are unable to live there while it is being repaired. Loss of use coverage pays for your hotel and meal expenses. For example, if you live in Florida and your apartment or rental home received roof damage or flooding due to a hurricane, loss of use will assist in paying for a temporary stay at a hotel until it’s safe to return home. It will also cover any meals you eat out, or groceries you need to buy, since you are unable to use your apartment to cook, or your refrigerator to store food. Without this coverage, you would have to pay those hotel and additional living expenses out of your own pocket, which tends to be a lot more expensive.
Your medical payments coverage helps you pay for medical bills if anyone is injured while on your property. If a friend or family member was injured on your rental property and needs to seek medical attention, this coverage will pay towards any hospital visits and treatments regardless of who is at fault for the injuries. For many tenant policies, this coverage limit usually ranges from $1,000 to $10,000.
Keep in mind your renters insurance policy will usually have some type of standard deductible on the policy as well. A deductible is the amount of money that the insured pays out of pocket before the insurance company will pay out the claim. Usually the standard deductible on a basic tenant policy is $500. Renters insurance is extremely affordable for the amount of coverage you receive. For example, a $15/month policy will often get you $100,000 worth of personal liability coverage, $15,000 of personal contents coverage, $6,000 loss of use and $1,000 of medical payments!
If you are ever questioning whether or not you should get renters insurance, just think of all the scenarios that could occur that you may not be able to afford otherwise. Renters insurance protects not only you as the renter, but also all of your personal belongings, in addition to often being a requirement at your rental community. Anything can happen at any given moment, it is important to have a sense of comfort knowing that no matter what life brings, you are ready for it.