Renters Insurance: What you need to know

Kathryn PaviaGeneral Insurance Tips

The Importance of Renters Insurance

If you live in a rental home or apartment, chances are you don’t have the proper insurance. According to a 2016 poll conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 41% of renters did not have renters insurance.  Advisors Insurance Agency is here to make sure you understand the importance of a Renters insurance policy.

Why does it matter?

Renters insurance policies cover your possessions, liability and additional living expenses.  If there is a fire, theft or some other catastrophe in your rental dwelling, your landlord is not financially responsible. Your landlord’s insurance policy most likely protects the building you are living in, but not your possessions. In addition, a renters policy will pay for your living expenses during building repairs, not your landlord’s insurance.  The best way to protect yourself financially against unforeseen disasters is to purchase a renters insurance policy.

Let’s take a look at these three types of protection covered under renters insurance:

Possessions

Standard renters insurance protects your personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy. Renters insurance does not cover floods and earthquakes.

To decide how much insurance to buy, you need to know the value of all your personal possessions. This includes furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even towels and bedding. The easiest way to figure this out is to create a home inventory. A detailed list of all of your personal possessions and their estimated value will help if disaster strikes.

There are two types of renters insurance policies for your possessions:

  • Actual Cash Value:  pays to replace your possessions minus an amount for depreciation (the reduction in the value of items due to age and use) up to the limit of your policy.
  • Replacement Cost:  pays the full cost of replacing your possessions (with no deduction for depreciation), up to the limit of your policy. The price of Replacement Cost coverage is about 10 percent more than Actual Cash Value coverage, but can be well worth the additional cost.

Note that a standard renters insurance policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, most insurance agents recommend that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables.  It covers them for perils not included in your policy, such as accidental loss.

Liability

Standard renters insurance policies also provide liability protection in the event you or members of your family cause injury to others or damage their property.  It also pays for damage your pets cause.

If you are sued, the liability portion of a renters policy may pay for both the cost of defending you in court and for court awards, up to the limit of the policy. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Your policy may also provide No-Fault Medical coverage. In the event a visitor is injured in your home, regardless of fault, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not however, pay medical bills for your own family or your pets.

Additional Living Expenses

A renters insurance policy typically includes Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage. Your renters insurance will cover your additional living expenses if the home or apartment you are renting is damaged or destroyed and you need to live elsewhere during the repairs/rebuilding.  For example, the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional costs incurred by having to live away from your home, such as hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, etc.

Need help deciding what coverage is best for you?  Contact us today!  Our Advisors are here to take the headache out of insurance and make sure you have the correct protection.

 

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