Learn About Renter’s Insurance

As a tenant, your landlord’s insurance policy does not cover your personal belongings in case of theft or fire damage. Renter’s Insurance is not required by law, although an increasing number of landlords are including in their leases a requirement that tenants buy renter’s insurance. Most insurance companies that sell homeowner’s insurance policies, which also includes coverage for the structure of the home itself, also sell renter’s insurance policies, which do not include coverage for the home itself. To get the best renter’s insurance policy you can at the best price possible, shop around, comparing no less than three rate quotes. You can further save on renter’s insurance premiums by taking out a policy with a higher deductible. Price should not be your only consideration in choosing a renter’s insurance policy, however. You should also look for an insurance agent or company who answers whatever questions you may have and takes care of your claims efficiently and fairly.

Find Out What Renter’s Insurance Covers

Renter’s insurance covers damage to your personal property from smoke and fire, vandalism, lightning, explosions, water, windstorms and other types of disaster and loss of your personal property due to theft. It also covers you from liability claims by another party that you injured that person or their personal property. Additionally, renter’s insurance can cover additional living expenses due to fire damage or other catastrophes. Renter’s insurance does not cover damage from floods and earthquakes.

Learn About Liability Coverage

The liability coverage in renter’s insurance policies protects you from being sued for property damage or bodily injury caused by you, a member of your family or your pet. Liability coverage in a renter’s insurance policy covers both your court defense costs and court awards, if you lose the case, up to the policy’s limit. There is also an Excess Liability or Umbrella policy you can purchase with your renter’s insurance that covers more expanded coverage with higher limits. Renter’s insurance policies may also offer No-fault Medical coverage, which pays for medical bills incurred by a neighbor or friend who is injured inside your home. No-fault Medical coverage in a renter’s insurance policy does not, however, cover your own medical bills or those of your pets.

Information About Additional Living Expenses

Called ALE for short, coverage for Additional Living Expenses in your renter’s insurance policy pays for your costs of living should you need to move homes because of a catastrophe to your own home. The ALE coverage amount for a claim is determined by calculating the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional living expenses you incur due to the forced move. Examples of covered expenses under the ALE portion of a renter’s insurance policy include temporary rentals, hotel bills and restaurant meals until your home is restored and ready for you to move back in.

Learn About Types of Renter’s Insurance

There are two kinds of renter’s insurance you can choose from: actual cash value and replacement cost. Actual cash value renter’s insurance policies cover the replacement of personal property less depreciation up to the policy’s limit. Replacement cost renter’s insurance policies cover the actual cost to replace your personal property without any depreciation deduction up to the policy’s limit. Actual cash value renter’s insurance coverage is less expensive than replacement cost renter’s insurance coverage. Two other ways that renter’s insurance policies are categorized are as Named Peril or Open Peril policies. Named Peril policies cover you against specific events and the burden of proof is on you to show that the property being claimed was damaged or lost due to one of the Named Perils specified in the policy. Alternatively, more expensive Open Peril policies covers any event not explicitly excluded by the policy and the burden of proof falls to the insurance company to show that a particular claim is, indeed, excluded from your policy.

How much renter’s insurance should I buy?

To determine how much renter’s insurance coverage to purchase, you need to calculate the value of all of the personal property you plan on covering under the policy. Such property may include clothes, appliances, utensils, furniture, electronics, bedding and towels. One easy way to do this is to compile a home inventory of all your personal possessions, which can also come in useful if you ever need to file a renter’s insurance claim.

How to File a Renter’s Insurance Claim

If you have renter’s insurance and experienced a covered event, contact the police first in order to receive a police report for the incident. Then, you can present that police report to your insurance agent as well as get questions answered about whether the property in question is actually covered, whether your claim exceeds the amount of your deductible, the time frame you have to make the claim and how long it will take the company to process your renter’s insurance claim. Once you notify the agent about your need to file a claim, he or she is mandated by law to send you the relevant claim forms in a timely fashion. In the meantime, make a list of all your property that was damaged or lost due to the covered event. If you have to relocate, make sure you hold onto your receipts.