What is Covered in a Renter’s Policy?
Although a fire, storm or other natural disaster can happen and damage your belongings, theft is the most common rental insurance claim and risk to your possessions.
|Renter’s insurance often excludes coverage for earthquakes, which require a special type of insurance, intentional destruction of property, floods, and wind damage from hurricanes.|
|Renters insurance can also cover personal liability for you, your family and guests in your rental property. This is typically overlooked by most renters, yet should be addressed when shopping for a policy.|
Common Liability Scenarios
All of these scenarios can be covered by the liability section of a standard renter’s insurance policy. Renters insurance is broad in coverage and can help cover expenses for many scenarios, and for that reason, it’s a wise investment.
|Medical Expenses:||A party gets out of hand and a guest needs medical attention. Personal liability coverage can be added to your renters policy and is even required by many landlords.|
|Legal Expenses:||Your dog bites a passerby and the individual sues you for medical expenses and trauma|
|Accidents Off Property:||Your son accidentally kicks a ball into the window of neighbor. Your renters policy can help cover the cost of the window, even though it wasn’t your property.|
|Offsite Property Incidents:||Renter’s insurance can even cover items you take outside of your home, such as a cracked phone screen, but it would require a low deductible.|
Is Renters Insurance Expensive?
Renters insurance is frequently the cheapest insurance available to consumers. Most policies are priced at $100 – $300 per year for adequate coverage. The cost to insure all of your possessions plus personal liability is cheaper than insuring a car, house, your health, life and more.
|Why is Renters Insurance Cheap?||It comes down to claims. Cars are dangerous devices and there is a much higher risk per year that you will be involved in a car accident. However, the probability of a renter’s insurance claim is minimal. It’s not to say renters insurance doesn’t cover a lot of scenarios, simply that many people don’t know what is covered and don’t report claims when losses are encountered!|
It helps to shop at an independent insurance agent, like Hettler Insurance Agency, which offers renters insurance from four carriers Safeco, Travelers, ASI Lloyds, and Republic. Although renters insurance won’t differ much from carrier to carrier. Bundling renters insurance from the same umbrella or car insurance carrier is one of the biggest ways to save! For that reason, try to purchase renters and auto insurance together and use an independent agent, as car insurance rates can vastly differ from carrier to carrier.
|Building Amenities||Gated communities, requiring an access code can lower costs. Security features including: smoke detectors, burglary alarms, deadbolt locks, and more|
|Payment||Payment upfront for the entire year vs. each month, bundled with auto insurance can yield savings.|
|Ratings||Good credit score and good grades if a student can provide a discount.|
|History||Number of years you or a roommate have rented or if you are over 55 years old, you can earn a discount!|
Is Renter’s Required?
Auto insurance is required by the state of Texas, yet renters insurance is not required by the state. However, many landlords will require proof of renters insurance during lease signing. The most common liability limits are $100,000, yet even though this may be the minimum your landlord requires, consider higher liability limits for your situation by discussing with your insurance agent. Even adding an additional $100,000 in liability for a $200,000 policy would increase the cost by only $30 – $50 a year.
|Don't Lie About Coverage||Forging or lying about having renters insurance when required can be a serious crime and lead to legal issues with a landlord.|
|Renters is Strongly Recommended||Even when renters insurance isn’t required, it provides coverage for many scenarios and it’s very affordable. All renters should have renters insurance, even if not required, and renters should consider higher limits.|
Renters Insurance Coverage Options
Would you be able to replace all of your clothes, luggage or furniture in the event of a claim? There are two main distinctions between types of renters insurance and it relates to the payout in the event of a claim.
The two types of renters insurance are Actual Cash Value (ACV) and replacement cost coverage.
|Actual Cash Value:||For example, that 1992, 46 inch Sony Trinitron TV (that weighs 50 pounds) you borrowed from your parent’s for college, would receive very little with an Actual Cash Value policy. That’s because the TV has depreciated over the years and might fetch $50, even if the original cost was $1,000.|
|Replacement Cost Policy:||That same TV under a replacement cost policy, would fetch the price of a new 46 inch TV, perhaps around $600. In most cases, total replacement cost coverage is a better renter’s insurance policy to own, because you could actually make an income in the event of a legitimate renters insurance claim! It will also only be slightly more expensive than an actual cash value policy in premiums.|