Learn Renters Insurance 101 with these FAQs | Trusted Choice

Renters Insurance 101

Learn Renters Insurance 101

(Get your FAQs answered by the pros)

Jessica Huneck | March 2, 2020

Q.What Is Renters Insurance?

Q.What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Q.How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Q.Is Renters Insurance Necessary?

Q.Why Is Renters Insurance Important?

Q.How Much Is Renters Insurance?

Q.Is Renters Insurance Tax Deductible?

Q.How Much Renters Insurance Should I Have?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Car Damage?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

Q.Does Renters Insurance Cover Flooding?

Q.Will Renters Insurance Cover a Broken TV?

Q.Where Can I Get Renters Insurance?

What Is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance provides coverage for your lost, damaged, or stolen personal possessions. It also provides coverage for injuries to another person that might occur in your rented home or apartment. 

For example, if someone is hurt in your apartment, and the injury is deemed to be your fault, that person can file a liability claim with your insurance company to cover the costs associated with the injury.

If the injured person chooses to file a law suit against you, your renters liability insurance would pay for your legal defense, up to the limits set on your policy. If you do not have renters insurance, these costs would be your responsibility to pay out of pocket.

To learn more about renters insurance and the amount of coverage that makes sense for you, talk to an independent agent in our network. A local member agent can provide free renters insurance quotes from several different insurance carriers and help you find the right coverage at an affordable price.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance provides financial reimbursement to cover a tenant’s lost or damaged possessions as a result of fire, theft or vandalism. It also covers a tenant’s liability in the event that a visitor is injured on the premises. 

Whether the renters insurance or the landlord insurance pays for the costs associated with the injury will depend on the circumstances of the incident, the location on the premises where the injury occurs, and who is at fault.

Renters insurance can also provide compensation for alternative living arrangements in the event that your rental unit or rented home becomes uninhabitable due to storm damage or an apartment fire.

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

Renters insurance will help to pay your costs if you suffer a loss, such as a burglary. The amount of compensation you will receive depends on the type of loss and the amount of coverage you have in place. 

For example, you can buy “actual cash value” (depreciated) coverage for your personal property, or you can buy replacement cost coverage for your personal possessions.

Certain items such as jewelry, collectibles or other valuable items may have a value limit or require additional insurance coverage to provide full coverage for loss, theft or damage. You will also be responsible for a deductible, which is an out-of-pocket expense.

In the event that a visitor to your home, condo or apartment is severely injured, that person can file a claim with your insurance company, and your insurer will address the claim.

Is Renters Insurance Necessary?

Renters insurance is necessary if you are renting a home or apartment and want to be sure your valuable possessions are protected from loss, theft or damage, and protects you in the event of liability claims as well.

You are not required to carry renters insurance by law, but a landlord can require renters insurance in your rental agreement in your lease. 

Carrying renters insurance protects you and the landlord by ensuring that no matter what happens on the premises, either your renters insurance or the landlord’s insurance will provide compensation.

As an example, what happens if a neighboring tenant leaves cooking unattended and starts an apartment fire that damages your unit and belongings? 

It’s possible that some combination of the neighbor tenant’s renters insurance, the landlord’s property insurance, and the personal property insurance in your renters policy will come into play to cover the cost of repairs.

Why Is Renters Insurance Important?

Renters insurance is important because your possessions are not protected by the landlord’s insurance policy. Landlord insurance covers damage to the building but does not protect your possessions.

Another good reason to have renters insurance is for protection against liability claims. The liability portion of your renters insurance will provide compensation if a visitor to your rented home is injured. If that person files a lawsuit against you, your renters liability insurance will also help to cover the costs of your legal defense.

Renters insurance can also cover temporary accommodations in the event that you have to live elsewhere while your rental is being repaired due to fire, smoke or water damage.

How Much Is Renters Insurance?

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.

The best way to find the renters insurance you need is to contact an independent agent from the Trusted Choice network to compare renters insurance costs and find an affordable policy that meets your needs.

Is Renters Insurance Tax Deductible?

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 relative to the total size of the premises.
  • 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.

How Much Renters Insurance Should I Have?

When you choose a renters insurance policy, you will need to choose coverage amounts for three basic types of coverage:

  • Personal property: Typically a minimum of $2,500 worth of coverage
  • Liability: Amounts you choose, such as $100,000 of coverage for liability claims and legal defense
  • Additional riders: Coverage you may need for your collectibles, personal items of value such as jewelry, and outdoor toys such as snowmobiles, ATVs or personal watercrafts (PWCs)

Did you know that the average person has over $20,000 worth of personal belongings? When you consider the cost of electronic equipment, clothes, jewelry, tools, kitchen gadgets and other personal items, you probably have far more invested in your personal property than you realize.

The best way to determine how much insurance you should carry for your personal property is to create an itemized list of your belongings and their replacement costs. 

It is important to determine how much it would cost to replace each item as brand new. This should give you a ballpark figure for the total amount of insurance coverage you should carry.

To choose the amount of liability coverage you need, consider the potential costs of a liability claim if you were sued for negligence or for another person’s loss. 

An independent agent in our network can help you assess your needs and risks and choose the coverage amounts that are right for you.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

Renters insurance covers fire and smoke damage after you pay your deductible. The amount of compensation you will receive in the event of fire damage depends upon several factors, including:

  • The amount of coverage you buy
  • Whether you choose actual cash value (depreciated) coverage or replacement cost coverage for your belongings
  • Your deductible amount

In the event of a fire, you will file a claim for the loss, pay the deductible for your policy, and then receive compensation for the remaining costs of your loss, up to the limits of your policy.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Theft?

Renters insurance covers your possessions from theft, after you pay your deductible amount. Renters policies typically cover your belongings, whether your rental home is burglarized, or the items are stolen from your car or while you are traveling. 

Review the specifics of your policy to determine the circumstances under which you can file a renters insurance claim for theft.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Car Damage?

Your renters insurance will typically cover your belongings if they are stolen from your car, but would not cover damage to the car itself. For car damage, you will want to check your comprehensive automobile insurance policy.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Storage Units?

Whether your items are covered if they are damaged, stolen or destroyed while in your storage unit depends on the specifics of your renters policy. 

Some insurance companies do not cover personal items in a self storage unit while other companies will extend limited coverage. You can buy additional insurance coverage through the storage facility, if it is offered, or through your insurance company.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Many renters insurance policies exclude certain pets. And some insurance companies will not provide coverage at all if you have a high risk breed such as a pit bull. You may need to get special insurance coverage that covers dog owners’ liability.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Bed Bugs?

Renters insurance policies typically exclude bug infestations of any kind, including bed bugs, cockroaches and other bugs as well as rodent infestations. You most likely are also not covered for any damage these pests cause, or for the costs to eliminate an infestation problem.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Flooding?

Most renters insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Like home owners, 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.

Will Renters Insurance Cover a Broken TV?

Whether or not damage to any of your personal electronics or other belongings is covered depends on the coverage you buy and the cause of the damage. 

If you have replacement cost coverage for your personal belongings, and the damage to the television was caused by a covered peril such as fire, theft or vandalism, your TV will be most likely be covered. If it breaks from wear or misuse, your broken TV will not be covered.

Where Can I Get Renters Insurance?

The most common way to buy renters insurance is through an insurance agent. You can find a local independent agent in our network, right in your area. 

Our agents have access to several different insurance companies, and can help you compare policies, get renters insurance quotes and find the right policy for your particular circumstances.

Now, who's ready to get their insurance problems solved?