Though renters insurance isn't legally required in any states, your landlord may still require you to purchase coverage as part of your lease. But if they don't and there is no contractual provision in your lease that you have to have renters insurance, the decision is up to you.
However, it's generally beneficial to purchase renters insurance for peace of mind should your personal property get damaged or you're found liable for injuries or property damage to another person.
Although renters insurance isn't legally required, a landlord can still require that you purchase coverage as part of your lease. Ultimately, it's the landlord's discretion whether they want you to carry a policy. However, if you live in Oklahoma, it's against the law for a landlord to require a renters insurance policy.
No, but also yes. In many cases, renters CAN share a single policy as long as they are both named on the policy, though it may not give you the coverage you need. While splitting the cost of the policy is attractive, if one of the roommates moves out, it can get a little messy financially. Or, if your roommate files a theft claim after losing belongings, that will follow you on your claim history as well. If the policies were separate, though, you'd be in the clear.
The gist of renters insurance is that there are disasters named in all of the small print of your policy. If any of them occur, your personal property is covered up to the policy limit (minus any deductible you have to pay).
Renters insurance also provides coverage if you're responsible for personal property damage, or destruction, or the accidental injury of another person. That being said, you can think of renters insurance as personal property and liability coverage.
The other thing to keep in mind as a general overview of renters insurance is that it provides coverage even when you aren't at home. If someone steals your laptop while you're traveling, renters insurance covers a portion of that personal property.
The most important coverages that renters insurance include are personal property and liability (medical and legal coverage if someone is injured on your property).
The catch with personal property coverage is that the issue has to be due to a named peril, such as the following.
- Fire, lightning and other natural disasters
- Theft or vandalism
- Appliance or system damage
- Short-circuit damage
If you want a full list of perils, it's best to discuss your policy options with your independent insurance agent.
Most renters insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Like homeowners insurance, renters must purchase flood insurance separately to be covered for damage from flooding.
However, you will likely be covered if there is a water leak within your rental unit that causes water damage to your belongings. Be sure to read your renters insurance policy carefully so you know what is and is not covered.
First, it's important to understand the value of your belongings, which is over $20,000 for the average person once you add everything up. Creating an itemized list is important to your application and when filing any claim down the road.
Next, with liability, it's important to know that legal fees and medical bills are astronomical and add up very fast. However, $100,000 of coverage is a good place to start when it comes to coverage for liability claims and legal defense.
Last, it's important to think about additional riders you may need to help cover your collectibles, personal items of value such as jewelry, and outdoor toys like snowmobiles or ATVs.
An independent agent in our network can help you assess your needs and risks and choose the coverage amounts that are right for you.
The cost of renters insurance is generally quite affordable. You can typically expect to pay between $100 and $250 per year on average, depending on where you live and the coverage amount you carry on the insurance policy. The national average for renters insurance is $15 to $30 per month.
Renters insurance is not tax deductible EXCEPT in the following situations.
- You use a part of your residence regularly and exclusively to operate a business. You then may deduct a portion or your renters insurance, based on the dimensions of the space where you operate your business.
- You are an employee and work in both your employer’s office and your rented premises. In this case you can deduct a portion of your renters insurance in the same manner as a home office. Check with your accountant for complete details.
With access to multiple insurance companies, independent insurance agents are unlike any other type of agent out there. They’ll help find you the best coverage options and most competitive prices, all for free.
More often than not, renters skip insurance on their rental property, either assuming they don't need it, or not knowing that it's even a real thing. 1. It is a real thing, and 2. it can be just as important as homeowners insurance in many cases. Just imagine the hospital bills you'd be stuck with if someone injured themselves on your property. Or what if someone breaks in and steals everything? The cost of replacement would be out of this world.
Thankfully, renters insurance is fairly inexpensive and offers comprehensive protection that can be customized to help keep your finances safe. An independent insurance agents can walk you through the process to help you find the best, most affordable policy for your situation.
What Is Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is similar to homeowners insurance, but since you don't own the structure, it doesn't cover it. That's your landlord's responsibility.
One interesting way to help understand what is considered part of the structure and what’s considered your personal items is to imagine flipping your place upside down and shaking it. Anything that would drop out is usually considered personal contents, while anything that stays would be part of the house.
There may still be exceptions to this, though, like certain appliances, so it's important to read through your rental agreement in full detail and ask your independent insurance agent to help clarify any questions that need it.
What Does Renters Insurance Cover?
On a basic level, renters insurance will cover your contents and give you liability coverage. However, you can customize your policy to include many of the following additional types of coverage options.
- Personal contents: This is the backbone of a renters policy. It covers your personal belongings, like clothes, furniture, and electronics. There’s typically a minimum coverage amount, such as $20,000, but this can be increased.
- Personal liability: Provides coverage for lawsuits that could be brought against you, including both defense costs and settlement amounts. Typically starts at $100,000 in coverage.
- Medical payments: Typically between $1,000 and $5,000, this pays for smaller injuries that occur in your household, but only to people who don’t live there.
- Loss of use: This is usually an automatic coverage that reimburses you to temporarily live somewhere else if your house or apartment is uninhabitable due to a covered claim.
- Water damage: While you might not be on the hook to pay for water damage to your floor or cabinets, adding this option gives you protection from water damage to your contents.
- Cyber insurance: Many insurance companies offer cyber protection on a renters policy, which would pay for things such as online extortion, cyberbullying, and online fraud attacks.
- Valuable articles: If you have expensive or valuable jewelry, firearms, computers, or other items, you can add these separately to cover them for almost anything, including if you lose them, without any deductible.
Keep in mind that if you have a claim, the insurance company probably won’t just blindly write you a check. They’ll want to know what items you had in your rental and what the value was, most likely with some type of proof, such as pictures or receipts.
Is Renters Insurance Mandatory?
More often than not, renters insurance isn't mandatory. There are some apartment complexes and rental home companies, however, that require you to show proof of a renters insurance policy before you sign a lease.
This is partly to absolve them of any business responsibility for your contents or lawsuits brought against you in their rental units. It can also show a level of personal financial responsibility that indicates a good tenant, since you’ll have to put down the money to buy a policy.
How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?
Thankfully, the average annual premium for renters insurance is extremely affordable, costing only around $188.
Many insurance companies set a minimum premium for renters policies at around $150 for the basic limits before building coverage to include more protection. For policies that include more coverage on your belongings, higher liability limits, water damage, cyber protection, and valuable article coverage, you could be looking at premiums between $200 and $300 a year.
Is Renters Insurance Worth It?
Yes, you can easily make the case that renters insurance is always worth the cost for the peace of mind alone. If you were to lose all of your belongings in an apartment fire, you could be left in financial ruin trying to recoup and get your life back to the way it was.
Another aspect that makes renters insurance so well worth the purchase is the cost. As mentioned, an annual premium is only around $188—small price to pay, especially to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in liability claims.
Beware Certain Online Renters Insurance Quotes
Most insurance companies allow you to buy a renters policy online by yourself, just like you would with car insurance. Extremely simple and fast, you can easily overlook certain coverage options or even shortchange your limits just for the sake of the low price. But again, with renters insurance, the cost is so minimal it's worth it just to have the right protection for a few extra dollars.
In many cases, people think $20,000 is more than enough coverage on their contents. While this may be true for some people, $20,000 actually wouldn't go all that far if you had to replace every single one of your clothing items, appliances, kitchenware, electronics, etc. Itemizing and valuing each piece of property you own is a good way to help you find the right amount of coverage.
It might also be tempting to go as low as possible on your liability coverage, but liability is one of the least expensive options on your policy. Increasing your coverage to $300,000 or $500,000 might only cost you another $5 or $10 a year.
Your Independent Insurance Agent Has Your Answers
Whatever you need, your agent has your back. With a brief intro into the terms, discounts and process of your renters insurance, you know the kinds of questions to be asking. Your agent will ask you all about your rental property, its use and your goals, and help find the perfect blend of coverage at the right cost for you.