If you rent living space, your landlord has the building insured. However, in the event of a fire, storm or other incident, none of your belongings would be covered under that policy. Apartment insurance, commonly called renter’s insurance, can help protect you in case of such an occurrence.
Renter’s insurance will or may cover:
- The loss of any belongings you own in the event of a fire, storm, burglary or other incident. This includes electronics, clothing, furniture and virtually everything you own.
- The cost of your living expenses for a period of time if the damage has rendered your apartment unlivable.
- Medical expenses and legal representation if someone sustains an injury in your apartment by, for example, slipping on a wet bathroom floor.
- Protection for a pet’s health or well-being after an accident, as well as liability coverage for damage or injury a pet may cause to the apartment or to people.
- Damage to a neighbor’s belongings if something you own malfunctions. For example, if you own a waterbed that leaks into the apartment below, your policy can cover the cost of your neighbor’s furnishings or other property.
Tips and Warnings
- Take an inventory of everything you own, record each item, its value and its serial number. Take a photo or video of each piece. This will help ensure that you receive compensation for everything in the event of a loss.
- Most insurers will give discounts for smoke detectors, burglar alarms, fire extinguishers and other safety devices. Some will also give discounts if the renter’s policy is combined with another, such as an auto policy.
- Let your insurer know about particularly valuable items. You may need a rider on your policy to ensure that you can receive the full amount the item is worth.
- Ask your insurance agent about the difference in the policy’s cost between coverage for actual cash value and replacement cost. With the former, you’ll receive what the item is worth when you lose it; with the latter, you’ll receive the amount needed to replace it.
- Floods and earthquakes are generally not covered by renter’s policies. You’ll need a separate rider on your policy if you live in an area prone to those types of events.
To find a local insurance agent who can help you find the best policy, look in the Dex listings.