Close up of renters insurance application with pen on top

If you own a home, you know how important it is to insure. Renters, though, often skip renters insurance. A commonly held belief is that it is unnecessary since the landlord already has insurance for the building. The reality is that your landlord’s policy won’t cover any of your possessions. For that, you need renters insurance coverage. So exactly what does renters insurance cover?

Why should I purchase renters insurance?

A renters insurance (sometimes called apartment insurance) policy is intended to cover loss or damage to a tenant’s personal property. As a renter, you might not think you have enough to be worth insuring, but if you start adding up the value of the things you own, you’d probably be surprised. You’ve probably accumulated a lot more possessions than you realize. Think about what all of these things cost you:

  • Your furniture
  • Your TV and/or entertainment system
  • Your smartphone or tablet
  • All your clothes
  • Any sporting equipment
  • Your computer

As you start looking around your home or apartment, you’ll probably notice a lot more. Can you afford to lose all of it? This is a big reason to have rental insurance.

Another important reason is personal liability. If you ever have a guest who is injured, you could be sued – the personal liability component of your renter insurance is there for exactly this situation. It can also help with medical payments for the injured person. In addition, you’ll be covered when you’re away from home, so if you happen to damage someone else’s personal property, your policy is there to help pay to fix or replace it.

Finally, there’s living expenses. If something happens that’s covered under your policy that makes your home uninhabitable, your renters insurance helps you pay for a place to live while your apartment is being fixed.

What types of events does renters insurance protect against?

Every policy will specify what events will be covered. These events are called “named perils” and can include a number of things. As you shop for policies, be sure that you are comparing equivalent coverage. Some of the named perils you might see include:

  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Water leaks or overflow

Of course there could be many others in your policy. If there are specific perils that are of concern for you, look for policies that include them.

How much renters insurance do I need?

Depending on the survey you read, the average renter has between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of possessions. You might have more, you might have less; the only way to know is to add it all up. It’s going to take time, but fortunately it doesn’t have to be done often. Start by going around the house with a camera, photographing or videoing everything. Take shots of whole rooms, and close-ups of the various items. Then you’ll list everything out on paper.

Once you’ve got an inventory of your possessions, you’ll need to determine the value. You won’t be able to get an accurate renters insurance quote without knowing the value of what you have, so take your list and start shopping online. Get prices for items that are equivalent to what you have, or at least as close as possible. Don’t skip the clothes, either, as those costs add up quickly.

If you own anything that’s really valuable, you might need additional coverage for those items. Most policies limit how much they will pay for jewelry or art, but you can get a rider to cover those things.

How much does renters insurance cost?

As with anything, when shopping for renters insurance, cost is always a concern. Most people are pleasantly surprised to learn how cheap renters insurance can be, averaging about $20 per month. Of course the cost will vary with the amount of coverage and the amount of your deductible, as well as where you live. Of course rates vary by company, too, so shop around and you should be able to find a policy that’s right for you, at an affordable price.

There’s little good reason to be without renters insurance. Knowing what it is and what it covers, you have the information you need to find the right policy for you.

Requesting a renters insurance quote from USAgencies is fast and easy. Enter your information in the form at the top of the page to request a renters insurance quote online or give us a call at 800-958-8545 to speak to one of our friendly, knowledgable insurance advisors who can help you choose the policy that’s right for you.

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