If you live in a rented house or apartment, you need renter’s insurance to protect your property. Renters insurance pays to repair or replace your clothes, furniture, and other things you own if they’re stolen or damaged by something your policy covers, like a fire or storm.
The property owner’s insurance will pay to repair the house or apartment building. But it won’t pay to replace your property.
Some property owners require you to have renter’s insurance.
Note: Texas has a Consumer Bill of Rights for renter’s insurance. Your insurance company will give you a copy when you get or renew a policy.
Renters insurance coverages
Most renter’s insurance policies provide three types of coverage:
1. Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace the things you own. It also covers your luggage and other items when you travel.
2. Loss of use coverage pays your additional living expenses if you have to move while your home is being repaired. Additional living expenses include things like rent, food, and other costs you wouldn’t have if you were still in your home.
3. Personal liability coverage protects you if someone is hurt in your home. It also pays your legal fees if the person sues you.
What risks does a renter’s policy cover?
Your renter’s policy protects you against different risks, or perils. These are things that could damage or destroy your property. Most policies protect you against things like fire, theft, and storms. But exact coverages vary by policy.
Deductibles and dollar limits
A deductible is the amount of a claim that you must pay yourself. For example, if you have a $1,000 claim and your policy has a $250 deductible, the insurance company will deduct $250 from your claim amount and pay you $750.
Each type of coverage has a dollar limit. This is the most the company will pay, even if the cost to repair or replace your property is higher. Make sure you have enough coverage to replace your property if it’s stolen or destroyed.
In addition to a total dollar limit, policies limit payment for some kinds of property. Most policies have a $100 limit for cash and a $500 limit for jewelry. The dollar limit for your property when you travel is typically $1,000 or 10 percent of your property coverage limit, whichever is more.
Note: The first page of your policy is the declarations page. It has a summary of your policy, including your coverages, dollar limits, and deductibles.
Make a list of the items you own
A list of your property can help you decide how much coverage you need and will make things easier if you have a claim.
For each item on your list, include the estimated cost and the date you bought it. Also, photograph or videotape each room, including closets. Open drawers and photograph what’s inside. Keep the list and photos in a fireproof safe or at another location.
Other coverages you might need
Your renter’s policy might not protect you against some risks, or might not provide enough coverage for the things you own. Ask your agent about buying extra coverage if you need more protection.
- Additional coverage for disasters. Depending on where you live, you might need coverage for floods or earthquakes. Not all renter’s policies cover these risks.
- Extra coverage for jewelry, art, electronics, and other expensive items. Your policy will pay to repair or replace these items, but your dollar limits might not be high enough to pay the full cost.
- Business coverage. Most renter’s policies limit what they’ll pay for items you use for business. If you work from home or have a home-based business, make sure you have the right coverage.
- Extra liability coverage. Your insurance company might require you to buy more liability coverage if you have a certain kind of dog or your rented house has a pool, trampoline, or other items that could cause injuries.
Coverage for college students and dependents
If you’re still a dependent, you might not need renter’s insurance. Your parents’ homeowners policy might cover your property, even if you don’t live at home.
Most homeowners policies cover a dependent’s property at 10 percent of the policy’s personal property limit. For example, if the parents’ homeowners policy has a personal property limit of $50,000, their dependents have $5,000 in property coverage while living away from home.
- Tell your company as soon as you can. Most companies have deadlines for you to file a claim.
- Send the company any information it needs right away. You might need to fill out a claim form or give the company a copy of a police report or other information.
- Keep receipts. You may need to show the insurance company that you replaced stolen or destroyed items. Receipts will help you do this.
The best tip we can give is to encourage you to compare multiple insurance quotes.
Give us a call to get a quote and start saving money.