What Damages Are Covered by Renters Insurance?
According to data, 55% of renters – or an estimated 61 million renters – in the U.S. are required to have renter’s insurance. The reason? Most landlords require renters to have this type of coverage to prevent any claims from targeting their own insurance policies.
But getting renters insurance simply because you’re required to do so is not enough. The goal here is to protect everything that is valuable to you and your loved ones. Times change, accidents unfold, and unexpected things happen.
In most cases, a renters policy is more affordable and accessible than you may think. Let’s break down what renters insurance covers, what it doesn’t cover, what kind of renters insurance you may need, and how to file a claim.
Renters Insurance Coverages: The Basics
Generally speaking, a basic renters insurance policy (or an HO4 policy) offers three categories of coverage. These include:
If your property is damaged, lost, or destroyed within the covered loss, personal property coverage will help you recover the costs.
A standard policy would cover costs in the event of named perils – specific losses that are listed in your coverage – such as lightning, vandalism, kitchen fires, theft, smoke, fire, hail, damage from vehicles or aircraft, and freezing, to name a few.
Remember, the policy only covers stuff that belongs to you, meaning anything in the apartment belonging to the landlord doesn’t make the cut. In addition, the insurance won't cover anything that may be stolen in an under-construction area.
When it comes to your personal possessions, the insurance only covers stuff within a specific price range. In other words, for valuables such as antiques or jewelry worth over a grand, you’ll need to go for some extra coverage.
Temporary Living Expenses
In case named perils render your home uninhabitable, you’ll naturally want to reside in a hotel for some time. If that happens, here’s some good news: Under the loss of use coverage, most policies cover expenses that unfold from these events. The coverage may also extend to the money you’d need for food and laundry.
Medical Bills and Personal Liability Coverage
When someone in your home gets hurt, renters insurance covers the costs associated with that as well. This also includes any legal fees or hospital bills. The coverage also includes certain damages you may cause when you’re away from your place.
Damages that Are Generally Covered
A basic renters insurance plan shields you and your possessions in case of:
Personal Property Damage
Additional Living Expenses
Damages that Are Generally Not Covered
Renters insurance fails to be a “cloak of invincibility” in case of events that occur on a regular basis. These include:
Areas where natural disasters like earthquakes and floods are a common occurrence
Undocumented items for which there is no valid proof
Your roommate’s belongings
Car-related theft or any type of car damage such as a broken car window, or anything related to motor vehicles
Damage from mold and pests
Damages caused by pets
Damages to the physical building
Determining How Much Renters Insurance You Need
How much renters insurance are you going to need? A quick answer would be: it depends on what you need and what additional costs you want covered.
Your renters insurance may cover the costs if someone gets injured at your place. It may also cover the costs of damage you may cause to others’ property. Generally speaking, a typical policy would shell out $100,000 in liability coverage. This type of coverage is often enough for most renters.
However, if your possessions are worth more than what the coverage offers, or if you like having company at home, it would be best to consider coverage that would sum up to the total monetary value of your assets.
Filing A Claim
When you file a claim, you request the insurance company to compensate your covered losses. As a renter, you could file a claim for personal liability coverage, theft, or any additional living expenses that may incur. The process typically includes three steps:
Sketch An Inventory Before Anything Happens
Make a list of all the possessions you want covered and gather documents (receipts, for instance) that disclose their value. Your inventory could include data such as the value of your possessions, the date of purchase, and any other notes (for example, “gift from mom”).
Craft A Detailed Damage Documentation
After the occurrence of a named peril – such as theft or kitchen fire – document all the items that were damaged or destroyed. Remember, your claim will have more credibility only if you have evidence.
File the Claim
This can be done virtually through your company’s app, over the phone, or in person with your agent. You can call the adjuster home to kickstart the process. If you’re filing the claim via the app, remember to upload photos and videos as proof.
A Few Words of Wisdom
When it comes to renters' insurance, many people get two common things wrong – you might either think your landlord’s insurance would cover your stuff or you only head home to crash and don’t believe in the idea of getting insurance.
The fact is, your landlord's policy doesn’t include anything within your house, and accidents happen regardless of whether or for how long you’re at home.
That said, when you finally decide to acquire renters insurance, it’s critical to consider a policy tailored only to you. Why? Because there is no on-size-fits-all scenario when it comes to your personal property and a general policy might fail to cover it all.
Get in touch with us today to safeguard everything that’s valuable to you.