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Common Renters Insurance Questions Answered

If you are looking for a renters insurance policy, you may find more questions than you find answers. Here are some common questions about renters insurance answered in one place.

1.      Does Renters Insurance Cover My Apartment?

Contrary to popular belief, renters insurance doesn’t actually cover your physical apartment. Damage to your unit and apartment complex should instead be covered by your landlord’s property insurance. This doesn’t mean the landlord can’t seek compensation, however. If you cause damage to your apartment, the landlord may withhold your deposit or even seek direct compensation.

This also applies if your pet or child causes damage to the apartment. Damages caused by your pets or family members will not be covered under renters insurance.

2.      What is Covered by Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance covers three main areas:

  • Personal Belongings: Personal belongings coverage provides compensation for your personal items that are lost or damaged due to fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, explosions, theft, vandalism and more.
  • Liability: Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you may cause to someone else on your apartment property. If someone trips and is injured in your apartment, liability insurance will help with the victim’s medical bills and protect you in case of a lawsuit.
  • Additional Living Expenses: Additional living expenses provide monetary assistance for temporarily moving in case your apartment is rendered uninhabitable due to a disaster.

3.      What Items are Not Covered Under Renters Insurance?

There are certain items that have limited coverage under renters insurance. Expensive items such as jewelry, collectibles, art, furs, firearms and electronics can generally only be insured for $1,000 under a basic renters insurance policy. You can purchase a policy floater, also known as a rider, for extra coverage. If you have an expensive engagement ring, for example, you may want to cover it with extra insurance in case something happens to it.

4.      What Accidents are Not Covered Under Renters Insurance?

Certain incidents are also excluded from renters insurance. Damage caused by floods and earthquakes are not covered under a basic renters insurance policy. Depending on where you live and your insurance provider, you may be able to purchase these coverages separately.

Other accidents can include liability. Liability insurance does not cover intentional damage. Many insurers also often exclude certain breeds of animals from renters insurance liability. Different dog breeds, such as huskies, pit bulls and German shepherds, are often excluded from renters insurance.

5.      Is Renters Insurance Required?

There is no state or federal law requiring you to have renters insurance, whether you live in an apartment or a home. However, landlords are legally able to require you to have insurance. In some states, there are restrictions on how much landlords can require you to carry, but overall you will likely need renters insurance before moving anywhere. This is in part to protect the landlord from liability issues in case you or a family member cause property damage or bodily injury to someone else. Landlord insurance also will not cover your personal belongings in case of a disaster, so you should carefully choose your coverage limits to protect your items.

6.      How Does Filing a Renters Insurance Claim Work?

When you have a renters insurance policy, you pay monthly premiums in exchange for coverage. Say a fire breaks out and damages your belongings, so you need to file a renters insurance claim. Call up your agent to file the claim. You will want as much information as possible, including pictures of the damaged items. A claims adjuster from the insurer will investigate your claim. If approved, you will receive compensation for your items based on your policy. Keep in mind that every policy is different and you should understand how much coverage you have so you aren’t blindsided when it comes time to file a claim.

7.      Should I Share Renters Insurance with My Roommate?

It is possible to have two people on a single renters insurance policy. Be careful when choosing to do so, however. Their credit can affect the cost of your renters insurance. Also keep in mind that if one of you moves, policies don’t transfer. If you are on your roommate’s policy and you move out, they cannot transfer their renters insurance policy to you. You will have to purchase your own policy for coverage.

8.      Are Children Covered Under Renters insurance?

Children are automatically covered under renters insurance. This includes if they cause property damage or bodily injury to someone else on accident. Even intentional damage can sometimes be covered for young toddlers, as they are not seen as understanding the consequences of their actions. If you have any additional questions, be sure to ask your insurance agent for clarification. The last thing you want is to discover you weren’t covered like you thought you were after an incident.

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