As a renter, knowing that you can call the landlord when things break is comforting. Or you can contact them if you have trouble with neighbors. Renting has its perks. This is one reason many renters don't buy renter's insurance coverage. Renter's insurance is not legally required. But it's a good idea to consider buying coverage.
Renters sometimes face unexpected events in their rental property. These events can include:
- Negligent destruction of the tenant's property
- Natural disasters
- Water damage
Your landlord's insurance only covers a renter's property losses if they result from the landlord's negligence. The renter needs personal liability coverage for themselves.
The article below explains the benefits of renter's insurance and the obligations of your insurance company.
It's common for homeowners to have homeowners insurance. Most homeowners buy homeowners insurance. Home insurance protects:
- The homeowner's house
- The homeowner's possessions
- People who get injured while visiting the homeowner
The same is not true for renters. A much lower percentage of renters have similar insurance despite their similar risks. Your landlord's insurance will cover damage to the building. But it won't cover your possessions or liability. You must have renter's insurance if something happens and you want to protect your property.
Am I Required to Have Renter's Insurance?
Unlike car insurance or other types of liability insurance, you are not legally required to have renter's insurance. But, some landlords may only agree to a rental agreement if you get renter's insurance.
A landlord's insurance does not cover a renter's personal belongings. A renter's personal property is not always covered if something happens at the rental. Even if you don't have to have coverage, buying at least a basic policy is a good idea.
What Types of Property Does Rental Insurance Cover?
Renter's insurance policies can cover rental properties where renters live, such as:
- A rental home
- A condominium
- An apartment
Renters' insurance can also cover rentals such as storage units. People store a variety of possessions in storage units. This includes items like:
Many storage facilities need renters to get property insurance to cover their belongings in case of theft, fire, flood, or pest damage.
How Much is Rental Insurance?
Getting a renter's insurance quote from a licensed insurance agent is the only way to know how much it will cost for renter's insurance. Each case is different. But getting as much renter's insurance as you need is wise.
Renter's insurance is cheap compared with other types of insurance. Affordable renter's insurance is readily available. The best renter's insurance policy is the one that covers all your needs at a price that fits your budget.
What Does Renter's Insurance Cover?
Renter's insurance will need you to pay regular premiums like life insurance and auto insurance — or other types of insurance. This is the case for any kind of coverage.
An experienced insurance agent can explain the following:
- Coverage options
- Coverage limits
- Covered losses
- A deductible
- Policy limits
- Insurance rates
- Optional coverages
- Multi-policy discounts
Three primary areas of coverage in a renter's insurance policy include:
- Premises liability
- Personal possessions
- Cost of temporary accommodations
This protects you from personal liability if someone gets hurt on the property because of your negligence. The injured person can file a claim with your insurance company or sue you directly. The injured person may seek medical payments for medical expenses, including medical bills or other damages.
This personal property coverage covers your belongings. For example, your personal property may get stolen in a burglary. Or they can get damaged by fire and certain kinds of water damage (such as a leaky pipe).
Cost of temporary accommodations
Living expenses coverage protects you if your home becomes uninhabitable. If the damage results from a covered type of damage, your insurance can help.
Your coverage can cover the cost of living elsewhere if the unit becomes unlivable due to a covered peril, such as a fire. Your insurance can cover housing, food, and other care costs.
Also, you can choose the amount of coverage you want based on several factors. Factors include:
- The value of your belongings
- The types of additional living expenses you have
- The condition of your house or apartment
- The frequency with which visitors enter your home
There are limits to what the policy covers when you file an insurance claim.
What Are Typical Exclusions to Renter's Insurance?
Renter's insurance has its limits. Certain types of perils are specifically excluded from coverage. For example, unlike homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance doesn't cover the building itself – your landlord should have insurance to cover that.
Renter's insurance will typically not include coverage for earthquakes and floods. It will generally not cover car thefts or home business expenses. But you can buy more coverage if you:
- Run a business out of your home
- Keep dangerous pets
- Are at risk for damage caused by floods or earthquakes (purchasing flood insurance or earthquake insurance would address this risk)
- Seek coverage for certain items such as jewelry or a coin collection. You can add more coverage with scheduled personal property coverage for these items.
Buying additional coverage can address the risks that apply to you.
Cancellation and Non-Renewal of Your Renter's Insurance Policy
States set rules for canceling or not renewing a given insurance policy. An insurance company can only cancel your policy if you stop paying your premiums. But, an insurance company can cancel your policy if you misrepresented or lied on your application.
The insurance company can choose not to renew your policy. In cases of cancellation or non-renewal, the insurance company must give you proper notice according to state law before discontinuing your coverage.
Other Insurance Company Obligations
Each state regulates its insurance industry differently. Your renter's insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. You both have certain rights and responsibilities depending on the terms.
The insurance company agrees to pay legitimate claims in exchange for paying your premiums and filing claims on time. Your insurer should pay up to the policy limit after you've paid any deductibles.
Under your liability coverage, your insurance company must provide your legal defense if someone sues you. They must pay for covered property damages, subject to your policy limits.
If your insurer denies your claim, you can first appeal to the insurance company to have the company reconsider. If that doesn't work, you have options.
If your insurance company fails in its obligations, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You may consider a claim for a breach of contract or bad faith. You can also request help from your state's insurance oversight organization.
Get Help With Your Renter's Insurance
Everyone hopes to avoid using their renter's insurance. But you never know when your property or assets are at risk.
Hopefully, you'll never experience a denied claim or a canceled policy. But, if you have issues with your renter's insurance, contact a local insurance attorney. Choose an attorney with experience dealing with insurance companies and protecting the interests of renters like you.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.