Apartment dwellers: Don’t miss out on the protection that renters insurance offers


happy woman with boxes at a new aparment

Great, you have a great new apartment. You’ve thought of everything – the mover, the new furnishings, the utilities. You’ve got everything covered. Or do you?

Too few people are taking advantage of one of the most affordable and practical forms of property insurance available: Renters insurance, or sometimes also called tenant’s insurance. According to a 2016 poll by the Insurance Information Institute, while some 95% of homes are covered by homeowners insurance, just over 40% of tenants carry renters insurance.

Homeowners insurance, is, of course, required for a mortgage. Banks want to protect their assets! It’s much less common for landlords to require a renter to have an insurance policy – it’s usually optional. In either case, having an insurance policy that covers the loss of your possessions just makes sense. Most renters insurance policies also offer liability protection and coverage of additional living expenses.

Who need renters insurance?

If you rent, you do! Your landlord’s insurance does not cover your possessions. Their insurance covers the building and grounds, not the contents of each unit. Tenant’s insurance covers your belongings in the event of fire or smoke damage, vandalism or theft, lightning, and some specific types of water damage (such as a burst pipe or a forgetful upstairs neighbor leaving the tub running).

A great way to help determine what coverage you need is to make a home inventory. This will help you get an accurate picture of the value of your belongings, and that, in turn, will inform your renters insurance policy choices. Having your possessions accurately and thoroughly documented will also be a huge help if you need to file a claim. For help with making a home inventory, check out how to create a home inventory.

What else does renters insurance cover?

Many policies also offer off-premise coverage. This means that belongings outside your home (such as items in your car or hotel room) are protected just like they were sitting in your living room.

Renters insurance also offers liability protection. This covers you from lawsuits should someone be injured on your property. Your policy will cover the cost of a court defense, up to the limits of the policy.

Some tenant’s insurance policy also cover the costs associated with the aftermath of a home-destroying disaster: hotel rooms, rental cars, meals, and other expenses incurred while you home is rebuilt or you are able to relocate.

Determine your policy needs in consultation with your independent insurance agent. She can recommend additional policy provisions such as extra coverage for valuables like jewelry, art, or firearm collections; a policy deductible that suits your circumstances; and umbrella liability protection beyond the scope of your renter’s policy.

What isn’t covered?

While renters insurance offers significant protection from many common disasters, there are a couple of big exceptions. Most tenant’s insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage. Insurance for flood damage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program. Most rental insurance won’t cover earthquake damage. Policies specifically covering earthquake can be purchased separately or added as an endorsement to your renters insurance policy. You should also talk to your agent if you have any valuable collections that may need additional coverage.

How much does renters insurance cost?

The short answer is: not much, compared to the cost of replacing all your stuff. Your independent insurance agent can help you find a policy with the coverage that suits your needs. She’ll help you decide whether you need “actual cash value” or “replacement cost” coverage. Actual cash value pays out what your possessions are actually worth, including depreciation. It’s more affordable, but pays out less than a replacement cost policy, which would pay what it would take to replace the items if you bought them today.

Your independent insurance agent will also steer you toward any available discounts, too. Policies bundled with car or business policies are often discounted. Discounts are also sometimes available for having a security system, proper smoke detectors, and deadbolt locks. Your age, credit history, and length of time with the same insurer can also trigger significant policy savings.

Ask your independent insurance agent

If you have renters insurance already, it’s still a good idea to go over the policy once a year in consultation with your independent insurance agent. Your circumstances may have changed. Your insurance should reflect those changes. If you don’t have rental insurance, ask your insurance advisor for more information, make a detailed home inventory, and get some quotes. You may be surprised at how affordable tenant’s insurance policies are. And if the worst happens and you are a victim of theft, vandalism, or natural disaster, you’ll rest easy knowing that you were properly prepared.

Consider Renters Insurance as a Gift for Graduates


This is a guest post by Penny Hanley & Howley Co., a Renaissance Alliance member agency. It is a post that was previously featured on the Agency’s Blog.
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Will your graduating students be coming back to the nest, or considering renting their own place?
This is a wonderful time in your student’s life. Graduation from college brings on so many new adventures to look forward to. One of which can include whether they will be renting their own apartment after graduation. With some many decisions to process after graduation, make the easiest one there is for your student who will be moving to their first apartment-Renters Insurance.
Purchasing Renters Insurance for your student is a gift of security for them and yourself. You’ll be putting your mind at ease knowing that your students first apartment is protected in case of fire or theft.
An average Renters policy runs around $200 a year for the basic $20,000 in coverage, that’s only $16 a month for your piece of mind and security of your student’s new apartment.
So when considering what gift to give your student for graduation this year, give them a protection policy with Renters Insurance.

Insurance tips to protect expensive electronic gifts


Planning to get or give a flat screen TV, a new laptop, or a smart phone this holiday season? If so, you aren’t alone. For the first time in more than 25 years, electronics are virtually tied with toys as the top Christmas gift item, according to holiday shopping polls conducted by America’s Research Group. CEO Britt Beemer says, “Electronics sales, especially flat-panel TV sets, are flying out the door this Christmas season.”

The Insurance Information Institute offers good advice for protecting your expensive electronics. Among some of their suggestions and ours:

  • Contact your insurance agent to find out if your current policy will cover the new equipment or if you need additional coverage
  • Learn what your homeowners or renters policy does and doesn’t cover and what your dedutciblesare
  • Learn what your credit cards and product warranties will and won’t cover. Be sure to fill out any warranties
  • Keep a copy of your purchase receipt
  • Add the new item to your home inventory
  • Read the product manuals to learn how to properly set up, maintain, and clean your new electronic goodies
  • Invest in good surge protectors but even those won’t protect your equipment from lightning. The best protection is to unplug expensive equipment during electrical storms

See more in our post from last year: Make sure your expensive gifts are protected – insure those valuables!

Renter’s insurance – common questions and misperceptions


In today’s tough economic climate, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) notes that many former homeowners may now be renters, either due to their own choice to downsize or due to a home foreclosure. In the light of this, NAIC offers an alert about renter’s insurance, which discusses the importance of renters’ insurance and dispels some of the most common misperceptions that people have about this type of insurance.

  • “Renter’s insurance is too expensive, and I already have enough bills to pay.” The average renter’s insurance policy costs between $15 and $30 per month. Replacing all of your possessions or being liable for an accident on your premises will cost much more.
  • “I don’t have that many valuables; renter’s insurance isn’t worth the cost.” Renter’s insurance policies can cover everything from electronics to clothing to household appliances. Even a minimal number of items could add up to thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, which can all be covered in a basic policy.
  • “My landlord has insurance, so I’m already protected.” Your landlord has insurance for structural damage to the building, and might even be protected against damage caused by tenants. However, this coverage does not extend to your personal property, nor does it protect you from being liable for damage you might cause to the building inadvertently (e.g., a kitchen fire or a plumbing mishap).

The alert also includes other common questions and answers related to renter’s insurance. If you have questions about whether or not you need renter’s insurance, how much coverage you need, or what it will or will not cover, your independent agent is also a good source of information.

Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, the Insurance Information Institute offers a free downloadable home inventory software This software will help you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you:

  • Purchase enough insurance to replace the things you own
  • Get your insurance claims settled faster
  • Substantiate losses for your income tax return