As a renter, you may not think much about having insurance. You may assume that the landlord must have insurance for the property in case of fire or other damage. While this is usually the case, your landlord’s insurance is limited on what it can do for you. The short answer to the question of whether you need insurance as a renter is yes, but here is a detailed look at why.
Your landlord’s insurance will include liability in case someone should get hurt on the property. However, you may also be sued if it is deemed that you could be responsible in any way. The most common situation is if you own a dog who bites someone. This is not the only scenario, which is why it is better to have the security of a liability policy.
Another instance where this would come into play is if a fire should start in your apartment and spread to other areas. Other tenants and the landlord could sue you for damages if you are found at fault. Your insurance will pay out up to the maximum amount of coverage if you have a renter’s policy.
In many cases, there are arguments for who is at fault and responsible for damages or injuries that occur. If you carry renter’s insurance, then your provider will help you deal with these issues and protect you. (Who Needs Renter’s Insurance?)
Protect Your Belongings
The more common reason for carrying renter’s insurance is to protect your investment in the items you own if damage should occur. Most landlord policies only cover damage to the building but not to your individual belongings. You will need your own policy to replace anything ruined by fire, water, or other factors.
Many renters do not think about the cost of replacing their items until something happens. Take the time to make a list of what you own and how much it would cost to replace it. Include everything, such as clothing, shoes, dishes, and linens. When you add in electronics, such as televisions and laptop computers, you can begin to see where the costs add up. An insurance policy will pay you to replace those items if they are damaged or stolen.
Many policies cover personal items even if they are not at your home location. For instance, if a laptop is stolen from your car or a friend’s house, you may be able to file a claim for reimbursement. (Do You Need Renter’s Insurance, 2012)
Protect Your Money
If the place you rent becomes unlivable for some time, your insurance policy would cover the costs of obtaining temporary housing. While your landlord may also pay for expenses incurred from being displaced from your home, you will not know this for sure until it happens. It is much better to have a policy of your own that will cover the cost of a hotel and other basic living expenses for a short time. (Do You Need Renter’s Insurance, 2012)
Only in one case would you determine you do not need rental insurance coverage when renting a place. For college students living away from home, they may be covered under their parents’ homeowner’s insurance if they rent an apartment. However, do not assume this is the case until you talk to your insurance agent. Find out what the limits are and at what point coverage would no longer exist.
Anyone in temporary housing such as a college dorm or hotel will not need a policy because renter’s insurance won’t provide coverage for those situations. If you are unsure whether you are covered or can be covered, talk to an insurance agent. (Do You Need Renter’s Insurance, 2012)
When deciding if you need renter’s insurance, think about the worst-case scenario and protect yourself before something happens. In most cases, you will need to sign up for a policy to protect yourself and your belongings. You will never know when you need renter’s insurance, so act now and go get it before the next problem hits.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
President and CEO