If you rent your home you might be surprised to learn that your landlord's insurance policy doesn't cover you or your personal property, which is why having your own renter's policy is so important.
Renter's insurance works a lot like homeowner's insurance. It includes three major types of financial protection to keep you financially secure in the event of a covered peril.
- Coverage for personal possessions
- Liability coverage
- Loss of use / Additional living expenses.
Since renter's insurance does not provide coverage for the building or structures (that is the landlord's responsibility) it is generally less expensive than a homeowner's policy. However, the cost of a policy will depend on the amount of coverage needed and other factors such as location.
While carrying rental insurance is not required by law, many property owners, landlords, and property management companies require renters to purchase liability coverage.
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Personal Property: When deciding how much coverage you need for personal belongings it is recommended you do a home inventory. You should also pay attention to if your policy if offering replacement cost or actual cash value. Actual cash value policies pay the current value of your possessions, which have depreciated over time, while replacement cost ends to be more expensive it pays the amount to replace stolen or damaged items. To help understand the difference consider what it would cost to buy a new entertainment system versus what you would get if you tried to sell your current used one.
Personal property coverage also includes items stored off-premises, however some companies place limits on the amount. If you often travel with expensive belongings, you should talk to your agent to see if a personal property endorsement or floater policy is right for you. These endorsements can also be purchased for high ticket items such as engagement rings, furs, art and other high valuable collector items.
Liability Protection: Liability protection covers you in the event of a lawsuit claiming bodily injury or property damage that you or your household family members caused to other people. This coverage pays for the cost to defend you in court and any damages the court awards - up to the limit stated in your policy.
This includes any damage caused by your pets to a 3rd party.
Liability protection often extends to include no-fault medical payments coverage. This allows friends and neighbors who are injured in your home to submit medical bills directly to the insurance company without having to file a lawsuit.
It is important to note that this does not include medical bills for you, your family, or your pets.
Loss of Use / Additional Living Expense (ALE) Coverage: If you are unable to live in your home due to damage from an insured peril this coverage will cover the costs of hotels, restaurant meals and other costs above your normal living expense while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
It is important to note that some policies include time limitation as well as normal limits to this coverage.
Renter's policies can be customized to balance value with your budget.
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