Here's Everything You Need To Know About Renters Insurance
Laptop get stolen at a coffee shop? Renters insurance will cover it. Camera stolen on vacation? Renters insurance again.
Like many things in adulthood, renters insurance is as important and useful as it is confusing.
1. Tbh, it should actually be called property insurance, because that’s what it covers: your stuff.
Your landlord has insurance that covers the actual building and structure that you live in; renter's insurance covers all the stuff you own: furniture, jewelry, clothes, electronics, bike, small appliances, art, etc.
2. You might not think you own a lot of stuff, but you probably can’t afford to replace EVERYTHING if something destroyed all or most of it.
Clothes, pots and pans, furniture, electronics…it all starts to add up quickly.
4. As long as it’s a “covered” kind of loss, your renters insurance will cover your property no matter where the loss occurs.
"Covered" risks usually include theft, vandalism, fire, water damage (but not flooding), and extreme weather events at a minimum.
Laptop get stolen at a coffee shop? Renters insurance will pay. Bike vandalized while parked outside a bar? Renters insurance. Camera stolen on vacation? Renters insurance again.
5. Renters insurance also covers your property when it’s in your car.
Say your car gets stolen and your computer was in it—renters insurance covers that. Or if you're in a car accident and your camera gets damaged—renters insurance covers that, too. (This is true of homeowners insurance, too. Car insurance covers only the vehicle itself, and sometimes injuries.)
6. The average cost of renters insurance is pretty low, around $10-20 a month or $100-200 a year.
The exact amount depends on where you live, how much stuff you have, the company you use and your deductible.
7. Almost all renters insurance policies cover the same things, so it’s fairly easy to shop around for the best rate.
NerdWallet has a great breakdown of different companies and the benefits they offer here.
8. If you already have car insurance, you can usually get a discount on renters insurance from the same company.
It's called "bundling" and it can save you a little on your monthly premiums. It could even make the cost of your car insurance go DOWN because there are redundancies in coverage.
9. The best kind of coverage is “replacement cost coverage."
Renters insurance has two types of coverage:
Actual Cash Value is cheaper, but it only covers the depreciated value of your stuff based on the condition it's in and when you bought it. For things like laptops, this will be significantly less than you paid.
Replacement Cost Coverage is more expensive but it will cover the current cost to get you a new version of whatever you lost.
10. The deductible is for each claim you make.
Unlike health insurance, where you often have a yearly deductible, your renters insurance deductible is for each claim that you make. So if your computer gets stolen in May and your clothes are all ruined by a fire in July, not only have you had a shitty year, you'll also have to pay your deductible twice. That's why a lower deductible is usually worth paying a slightly higher premium.
11. The default deductible is usually $500, but you can opt for a lower one or contact your insurance rep to get it lowered.
On average, the monthly premiums are raised $1 a month or $10-12 a year for every $100 you lower the deductible.
12. Most plans have a maximum limit for each kind of item.
Jewlery, watches and computers, for instance, are only covered up to a certain amount, usually around $1,500. And for those who work from home with expensive equipment, there's usually a limit on that, too. You can buy an addition to the plan, called a "floater" or "rider," if you want to insure something particularly valuable.
13. Up to 2 unrelated roommates can usually be put on a single policy, even if they're not both on the lease.
But no matter whose stuff is damaged, claim checks will be made out to both roommates, so you better have a good relationship. And theft BY a roommate is not covered.
14. If you live in a dorm, your parent’s homeowners or renters insurance will still cover your property.
Since you're still technically part of your parent's household while you're in college, you don't need your own insurance for the stuff you keep in your dorm.
For more FAQ's, go here.
15. If you have to leave your home for a covered risk, renters insurance will pay for all your expenses while you’re out.
So if there's a fire and you have to leave, they'll pay for hotel, food, laundry, childcare and other expenses that arise because you're away from home.
16. Renters Insurance includes liability coverage for if someone gets hurt in your home.
If your dog bites someone, your renters insurance would cover the medical costs you would be responsible for, including medical and legal fees up to a certain amount. (If you own an "aggressive" breed, this might not be covered—check before you buy your policy.)
17. Renters insurance covers a lot of other things: identity theft, lost luggage, a power surge that fries your electronics.
See more here.
18. There's one big scenario that isn't covered: when you rent or sublet your place.
So if something happens to your stuff when you AirBnB your rented apartment, that's not covered by your renters policy.
19. Before you get renters insurance, you should make a 'home inventory' of all your stuff.
Not only will this help you know how much property you need covered, it will also make it easy to file a claim if you ever need to.