How to Get Renter’s Insurance
It’s a common misconception that you only need to have insurance on your home if you’re a homeowner. Even if the owner of the property you rent has an insurance policy, that doesn’t mean that your property is covered as renter. In fact, if your landlord’s water heater breaks in the middle of the night, flooding your bedroom and ruining the laundry mountain you’d been meaning to hang up for weeks, you won’t be covered without a separate policy. And if you have to move out? You may not receive any assistance there, either.
The bottom line: Whether this is your first time out on your own or your 20th lease, you need coverage. Here’s how to get renter’s insurance, step-by-step:
- What Is Renter’s Insurance?
- How to Get Renter’s Insurance?
- Finding the Best Deal
- What’s Included in a Renter’s Insurance Policy
What Is Renter’s Insurance?
Renters insurance is a set of coverages designed to protect renters. While the owner of your rental probably has an insurance policy covering the physical property, the coverage from that policy does not extend to you or your belongings. Some landlords or owners may actually require you to get renter’s insurance before you sign a lease.
How to Get Renter’s Insurance
Whether your landlord requires it or you just want to make sure you have it, there are a few steps you’ll need to take:
First, speak with your landlord or the property owner to see what is covered by their insurance. They may also have specific requirements as far as what you need to have included in your renter’s insurance policy to be compliant with your lease agreement.
Next, think about the value of your personal property. It may feel time-consuming, but it’s important to take stock of all of your items from clothing to furniture. To make it easier, you can make a list of your items broken down by room or category. You’ll want to make sure that you estimate the cost of replacing those items, not how much you paid for them or how much they’re worth now. You’ll need to know a rough estimate to find a policy that has enough coverage for your needs.
Find a renter’s insurance agency that offers an affordable rate and good service. You can do this by calling around, comparing quotes from individual agency’s websites, or by using a comparison tool like Gabi to help you compare multiple quotes in seconds.
Finding the Best Deal
When you consider the alternative, renter’s insurance isn’t all that expensive. You can make it even more affordable by taking a few steps to help you find the best deal on your policy.
You’ll want to start by getting a renter’s insurance quote from several different insurance companies. You can use the quotes to compare costs and coverage amounts between companies.
If you already have an auto insurance policy, you may be able to receive a discount for bundling your auto and renter’s insurance policies. You can start by reaching out to your current auto insurance company to see if it offers renter’s insurance. But keep in mind: Just because they offer it, doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal. To maximize your savings, get a bundled quote from your current provider and then use a comparison tool to compare multiple quotes against it.
What’s Included in a Renter’s Insurance Policy
Most standard renter’s insurance policies include three different types of coverage:
Personal property coverage
This covers your belongings, such as your furniture, clothing, and other items that are owned by you and stored in your rental unit.
Most renters insurance policies will cover personal property damages due to the following events:
- Accidental damage: including vehicle impact, falling objects, fire, smoke, and water damage from plumbing or appliances in your unit.
- Weather damages: including damage from heavy snow, sleet, or ice, hail, lightning, windstorms, and water damage due to the freezing of plumbing systems.
- Unpredictable events: including vandalism, theft, or riots.
- Outside theft: Personal belongings stolen outside of your rental, such as a laptop that was stolen from your vehicle.
Liability coverage can help you cover costs that you may incur for accidental damage to someone else’s property. It can also help cover the medical bills of a person that was injured in your rental unit if you’re found legally responsible for the damages or injuries in an accident. Your policy may also be able to help cover legal expenses if you’re sued over something that took place in your rental. Like personal property coverage, your liability coverage will have a set limit. Your insurance agent can help you determine how much liability coverage you need.
Loss of use coverage
Also known as additional living expenses coverage, loss of use coverage can help out in the event that your rental unit is damaged to the point where you cannot safely live there. To use this coverage, your rental unit must have been damaged by a loss covered by your insurance policy, such as a fire. You can use this coverage to maintain your usual standard of living while your rental is being repaired. The amount of loss of use coverage included in your policy may be a set dollar amount or a percentage of your personal property coverage.
Examples of additional living expenses that may be covered include:
- Temporary housing, such as a hotel room or a different rental unit.
- The cost of additional utilities.
- Moving and storage costs.
- Laundry and dry cleaning costs.
- Additional fuel costs.
- Food costs, such as restaurant bills, groceries, and cooking supplies.
- Boarding costs for your pets.
Remember, while there are a few steps that you need to take first, purchasing a renter’s insurance policy is a relatively quick and easy process. Even if your landlord doesn’t require you to have it, renters insurance is a low-cost investment that can give you peace of mind, even if you never need to file a claim.
Ready to compare quotes? See multiple offers from agencies nationwide in minutes with Gabi.