You may think your landlord has covered your building and its contents with adequate insurance. Think again. If you rent a home, an apartment, a town home or condominium and you experience a fire or theft, your belongings are not covered by the insurance taken out by your landlord.
For complete protection, renters should purchase renters insurance. It’s the only way to fully protect your personal belongings. This can also be important for parents as they send their children to college or for newly graduated students as they enter their first rental homes.
Renter’s insurance covers losses to your personal property from a variety of issues, such as:
- Fire and smoke
- Lightning, hail and windstorms
- Vehicles and aircraft
- Vandalism and theft
- Falling objects
- Electrical current damage
- Accidental overflow of water
In addition to covering your personal property, there are other important benefits. Renters insurance often:
- Includes liability protection, which pays legal or medical bills if you are sued by someone who tripped and got hurt at your home, if your dog bit someone, or for damage to others from a fire that started in your unit
- Provides living expenses if you’re evacuated or while your place is repaired or rebuilt after a fire or flooding from a broken water pipe
- Covers personal items damaged or stolen from your vehicle (after the deductible)
- Pays for items stolen while traveling or on vacation
And the protection your policy offers also extends into your work life. Imagine the cost if you had to replace everything you owned because of a fire or burglary. Renters insurance will help replace your teaching materials and other school-related items that were in your home.
Your policy will also replace your mattress and bedding, clothing, stereo equipment, computers, other electronics, and all the cookware, silverware and accessories in your kitchen. You’ll also get help with living expenses, like meals and a hotel, if you’re forced out of your unit.
It’s very important to note, however, that damage from earthquakes and flooding are not covered by renters insurance. You will need to purchase separate earthquake and flood insurance policies.
To further protect yourself and your belongings, take an inventory. Photograph or videotape each room, and be sure to open closed doors and drawers. Keep a list of each belonging and its value. Attach receipts to the list, if possible. Be sure to keep the list and the video or photographs somewhere other than your rented space, in case of a loss.