Choosing to rent rather than own your home has plenty of benefits — some of your utilities may be covered, you aren’t responsible for routine maintenance, and you don’t have to worry about paying for repairs in the event of a fire or flood. Your landlord’s insurance will cover the costs of repairs in the unfortunate event of a natural disaster, but if you don’t have renters insurance, the cons of renting might outweigh the pros.
As of April 2021, about 44.1 million US households rent their homes. This number is higher than at any point since 1965, and surveys have found that 77% of Americans prefer to rent rather than own their homes. However, despite these numbers, only 37% of renters actually have renters insurance. If you’re not among that 37%, you’re seriously missing out.
So, what exactly is renters insurance?
Renters insurance is pretty much what the name implies — property insurance designed to provide coverage for your personal belongings, liabilities, and potentially your temporary living expenses in the event that your home is damaged beyond livability. Additionally, renters insurance protects against liability claims, including injuries that might occur on the premises, as long as they aren’t due to a structural issue with the property. If that’s the case, the property owner’s policy, not the renter’s, would apply.
Why do you need renters insurance?
For some folks, taking out a policy is a complete no-brainer. For them, the potential benefits speak for themselves. However, plenty of other renters need just a bit more convincing, as we saw by the low percentage of renters with renters insurance policies. If you fall into the latter category, here’s why you definitely need renters insurance:
First of all, renters insurance is generally very affordable. On average, renters insurance only costs about $15 a month, which works out to around $180 per year.
With the protection and peace of mind that renters insurance provides and the low cost at which it’s available, you can’t afford not to have it.
Your landlord’s insurance covers them, not you
Contrary to a somewhat common assumption, your landlord’s insurance only protects their investment — your home or apartment rental. Their policy protects the physical building but does not protect any of your personal belongings inside. Plenty of people take the value of their belongings for granted, but it’s important to take stock of what they’re really worth and what you would do if you lost them.
Renters insurance covers your personal belongings
When you think about valuable personal belongings, fancy jewelry or expensive works of art might come to mind. However, even if your own personal items are a bit more practical, they’re still plenty valuable and well worth protecting. With a renters insurance policy, items such as your laptop, TV, clothing, and furniture will all be protected in case of a robbery or damage.
You may think of liability insurance as something that only commercial businesses need, but as a renter, you’re better off having it too. Liability coverage protects you in the event that someone visiting your apartment injures themselves and decides to sue. This might sound far-fetched, but think about it: what if your pet got a little too excited and bit someone? What if someone took a bad fall tripping over your furniture, or your friends got a bit too drunk at a party and managed to hurt themselves?
Of course, everyone hopes that nothing along those lines will ever happen in their home, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Personal liability protection lets you protect yourself from any unforeseen, potentially litigious eventualities. It can help pay for third party medical expenses as well as help cover your bills for defense against legal claims.
Renters insurance can cover your living expenses
We’ve already mentioned that your physical home or apartment building is covered by your landlord’s insurance in the event of serious damage, but it doesn’t go so far as to cover your living expenses while repairs are underway.
Renters insurance can. Most renters insurance policies include coverage for additional expenses that will come up while your home is being repaired. This is called loss of use coverage and means that your policy could cover expenses, beyond the price of your rent, that you incur while staying in a hotel or other temporary housing.
Who should get renters insurance?
Simply put, anyone who rents! Even if you’re a college student living off campus or a first-time renter without too many belongings to speak of, renters insurance is still well worth the $15 monthly investment.
Regardless of whether your landlord requires renters insurance or whether you think you’ll ever need to use it, it’s worth learning more about different policies and amounts of coverage so you can be sure you’re making the right choice for your unique situation.
Do I have to get it (legally)?
Technically, no. There’s no legal requirement stating that you have to have renters insurance. However, it’s perfectly legal for your landlord to make it a requirement. This is a case where it’s a great idea to go above and beyond the letter of the law — just because renters insurance isn’t legally required, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get plenty of coverage to keep yourself and your personal belongings safe.
How does renters insurance work?
Now that you’re (hopefully!) convinced that you should get renters insurance, let’s run through how it works.
If you’re happy with your current auto or life insurance company, that’s a good place to start. Get some information on their renters insurance policy options, but feel free to shop around as well. Gather recommendations from friends and family and see what their preferred companies have to offer.
When comparing companies and policies, make sure you’re looking at the amount of insurance that’s actually right for you. The best way to determine the amount of coverage you need is to figure out the value of your belongings. From there, you can purchase enough coverage to ensure full reimbursement in the event that you lose your belongings in a disaster.
Finally, you’ll want to consider certain types of supplemental insurance, such as coverage for floods, earthquakes, pests, or sinkholes, depending on where you live.
Most insurance companies offer plenty of policy information online and it’s generally very easy to get a quote. With a little research, you should have no trouble finding the right policy for you.
Renters insurance is an integral part of responsibly renting a home. It protects your belongings in the event of a disaster and can provide for your living expenses if your home is damaged to the point of needing serious repairs. What’s more, it can help cover your legal expenses if someone is ever injured in your home and decides to sue. And even with all of those benefits, renters insurance is remarkably affordable, with the average cost at $15 per month.
If you’re renting your home and don’t yet have a renters insurance policy, don’t wait any longer. Contact Elephant Insurance and get a quote today.
Article last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 8:40 pm