Does Renters Insurance Cover Lost Items?

Q&A: Does Renters Insurance Cover Lost Items?

(What's lost isn't typically found or covered by standard renters insurance)

Table of Contents

Does renters insurance generally cover lost property?
Is it possible for a standard renters insurance policy to cover lost property?
If renters insurance doesn't cover lost items, what will?
How much do I have to pay for additional property coverage?

Does renters insurance cover lost property?

I know that renters insurance covers my personal property, but I'm unclear about when and how that property is covered. For example, if I'm traveling and I lose my camera, will my renters insurance cover that loss? 

This is a great question. It's great because generally speaking, renters insurance covers personal property. But there's a catch, it only covers specific "perils" (or risks). Lost property generally isn't one of those perils.

Let me set up a scenario for you, and let's go with the lost camera example while you're traveling. Assume you're at the airport and you leave a camera under the chair. 

If you leave without it,  i.e. you lose it, your renters insurance won't kick in to cover the loss. However, if that same camera was  stolen or destroyed in a fire, flood, or other named peril, it would be covered.

That being said, you should generally assume that lost property isn't covered by your standard renters policy. Only property that is (1) damaged or stolen, and (2) specified under the named perils is covered.  

Is it possible for a standard renters insurance policy to cover lost property?

Generally speaking, no. The issue again is the "lost" part of the scenario. Because you need the property to be damaged, destroyed, or misplaced due to a named peril, anything that you genuinely lost is going to be your responsibility to replace. 

If renters insurance doesn't cover lost property, what will?

If you're concerned about accidental loss, you can add scheduled personal property coverage to your renters insurance policy. The idea behind this is to schedule your priciest possessions so that you're covered for certain enumerated risks including accidental loss. 

The benefit of scheduling personal property coverage is that the value limits in the policy are generally higher than they would be under a typical renters insurance policy that covers your personal property.

Scheduled personal property doesn't require a deductible, but you'll need appraisals of any personal property you want covered. You'll also want to speak with your independent insurance agent for a range of policy and pricing choices that make sense for you and the property you want covered from accidental loss.

How much do I have to pay for additional property coverage?

There's no clear answer to this question. The reason is that you won't know how much it costs to purchase scheduled personal property coverage for accidental loss without additional information, including the appraised value of the property you want covered.

If you're concerned about accidental loss and you want additional coverage for certain personal property items, talk to your independent insurance agent

Doing so is the simplest way to get accurate policy pricing and to better understand whether the additional coverage makes sense.

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