Renters Insurance

Understanding Your Renters Insurance

(When you need it, how it works, and all sorts of other good info to know.)

Renters Insurance Coverage

For those who rent, insurance can be a little confusing. You may have questions like: Is this covered? Is that my responsibility? Do I even need insurance on a rental? How about an Airbnb, or a vacay rental?

Don't worry, your independent insurance agent can help sort all of that out, getting you the coverage you need at the perfect price for your budget. Your agent knows exactly how to insure your specific rental situation and can help navigate the insurance world. 

What Is Renters Insurance?

A renters insurance policy is similar to a homeowners insurance policy, except without all the structural coverage that you don't need because you don't actually own the property. 

Key renters insurance coverage:

  • Personal liability: Financial coverage for your negligence, as in bodily injury or property damage.
  • Personal property: For all your non-permanently attached items such as furniture, clothing and more. 
  • Additional living expenses: Coverage if you have to move out of your rental home because of a claim. This will help pay for that stay.
  • Theft and vandalism: Coverage for property that is stolen or damaged due to theft or vandalism.

How to Know If You Need Renters Insurance

Simple, if you're renting, you need it. If you are renting a single-family residence, an apartment, a condo, a mobile home, a tiny home, or whatever else can be rented, you'll need renters insurance. In fact, the majority of landlords will require this in order to offer a lease. But even if it's not a requirement of the owner, it's just plain good sense to have. 

If you don't have renters insurance and a storm comes whipping through and demolishes all your personal effects, you'll be wishing you did. If your landlord requires a renters policy from you prior to signing the lease agreement, then it's a good idea to know who to call.

Vacation Homes, Airbnbs, & Short-Term Rentals

This can be requested in all sorts of rental transactions, such as when you are renting an apartment, townhome, or single-family residence. But it may also be required when you are renting a vacation home, Airbnb and the like. Typically, renters insurance isn't required when you are renting, say, a condo on the beach for a week, because most insurance companies won't write a short-term renters policy like that. 

However, the primary homeowners or renters insurance that you have on your place back home may have coverage that extends to you while you're on vacation. In fact, most policies will have liability that extends to you while you travel, as well as a percentage of personal property coverage off-premises. The big kicker is that if you're traveling out of the country, that is usually when the buck stops and your coverage won't follow you. It's best to discuss this with your independent insurance agent so you know how you are covered while renting a short-term vacation home. 

Things Your Independent Insurance Agent Should Be Asking You

When you are obtaining renters insurance, or any insurance for that matter, your agent should be asking you probing questions to make sure you are covered properly and all your assets and belongings are accounted for. If they're not asking about this, then you may want to look for a more detail-oriented independent insurance agent. 

Questions your agent should ask about your renters insurance:

  1. What address will you be renting?
  2. Is this coverage for a long-term rental or short-term rental?
  3. What dollar amount do you want listed to replace your personal belongings?
  4. What dollar amount will you need in coverage for personal belongings while traveling?
  5. How old is the property you will be renting?
  6. What limit of personal liability do you want?
  7. Do you want to bundle your renters and auto insurance for added savings?
  8. Does your landlord have adequate coverage on the property themselves? 
  9. Is there anything that your landlord is not covering with insurance that you would need coverage for?

Certificates of Insurance as They Pertain to Renters Insurance

Now, you may get something like the sample request form below from your landlord if they are requiring insurance from you in order to get proof of insurance. This proof of insurance is called a certificate of insurance. It will give an insurance preview, if you will, of what coverage you have, your policy term effective dates, and the carriers that write your policies.

Sample of landlord insurance request form

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

Renters insurance costs vary just like anything else. If you haven't noticed by now, no two people and circumstances are the same. If you've ever asked your neighbor about how much they pay for their renters or auto insurance, you'll notice it probably doesn't match what you pay. The answer to this is simple: Your insurance is like your credit score, individualized and completely specific. 

The best way to find out how much renters insurance will cost you is to discuss your specifics with your independent insurance agent. They will know which carriers to present your situation to and find you the best premiums and coverage.

Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility and competitive pricing while working for you. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.

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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Candace Jenkins

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