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What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Standard renters insurance policies include liability, personal property, loss of use, and medical payments to others coverage. Keep reading this guide to learn more about what renters insurance covers and doesn’t cover.

Front view of large cape cod style home. iStock

A renters insurance policy will cover major events, like fire, theft, and falling objects, that cause damage to your personal property and leave your home temporarily uninhabitable. Additionally, most renters insurance will include personal liability and medical payments to other protection in a policy.

Keep reading to learn what is and isn’t covered in a renters insurance plan and how to find the best renters insurance company for your home protection needs.

Renters Insurance Coverage

A renters insurance typically includes four types of coverage: personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to others.

Personal Property

This part of your policy covers damage to your personal belongings caused by a covered peril. To ensure you purchase the right amount of coverage, take inventory of your belongings and estimate their value. The average renter has $25,000–$30,000 worth of personal property coverage, so use that as a point of reference when estimating the value of your items.

Note: There are two types of personal property policies—replacement cash value (RCV) and actual cash value (ACV). A replacement cash value policy costs a little more, but it replaces your items as if they are new. An actual cash value policy gives you enough money to replace the items based on their value today.

Loss of Use

If a covered loss makes your apartment temporarily unlivable, your insurance company will cover additional living expenses. Depending on the company and its loss of use coverage, you may get coverage for the hotel room, laundry, and food.

This part of the policy is usually expressed as a percentage of the personal property coverage, with 20% being common. For example, if you have $25,000 worth of personal property, your loss of use will be $5,000.

Liability

This covers any incidents that you’re responsible for that causes bodily injury or property damage to someone else. For example, if your dog bites your neighbor and they need to see a doctor for stitches, or if you leave a candle burning and start a small fire that damages your neighbor’s belongings, liability coverage will protect you.

Liability coverage may even cover legal fees if someone sues you. Most landlords require $100,000 worth of this coverage.

Medical Payments to Others

If a guest is injured in your home, your policy will pay for their medical bills. A standard amount of this coverage is $1,000 per person, but you can usually go up to $5,000 per person.

Here are some events that are typically covered under a policy when filing a personal property or loss of use claim:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Riots
  • Explosions
  • Hail
  • Wind
  • Falling objects
  • Damage from another vehicle
  • Smoke damage
  • Explosions
  • Weight of snow, sleet, or ice
  • Water damage, excluding flooding

Additional Renters Coverage Options

Most insurance companies offer a few additional coverage options called endorsements or floaters that you can tack onto your base policy. Here are some of the more popular endorsements available:

  • Identity theft protection—If your identity is stolen, your company will help cover the costs associated with restoring it.
  • Earthquakes—Base policies don’t typically cover natural disasters, but most providers will offer an endorsement for earthquake protection.
  • Scheduled personal property—Scheduled personal property covers valuable property that you’ve gotten appraised, like jewelry or artwork.
  • Jewelry—This endorsement allows you to get coverage for items of high value that aren’t typically protected under personal property coverage.
  • Water backup—This endorsement covers water damage caused by clogged pipes.

There are a few companies that go above and beyond to offer unique endorsements:

  • Travel protection (American Family)—This coverage provides travel perks, like trip cancellation and global medical insurance.
  • Waterbed (State Farm)—This covers the loss of your waterbed and water damage caused by the loss.
  • Rent protection (Assurant)—If you’re unable to pay your rent, Assurant will help you with payments.
  • Decreasing deductible (Travelers)—This allows you to decrease your deductible throughout the term of your policy if you remain claims-free.
  • Bed bug remediation (ePremium)—Most companies don’t cover damage from pests, but with this add-on, ePremium will pay to get rid of your bed bugs and restore any damage caused by them.

What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover?

There are certain situations and items that a base policy won’t cover:

  • Natural disasters—In states that are prone to hurricanes and earthquakes, you’ll have to buy an endorsement to protect your property. The only big name insurance provider that offers natural disaster protection in all of its policies is USAA, so get a quote from them if you’re eligible for membership.
  • Pest damage—Companies won’t typically cover damage caused by pests, so talk to your landlord about pest control services to prevent pests like termites and bed bugs from infesting your home.
  • Personal injury—Most policies will only cover medical payments of neighbors and guests, not yourself. However, some companies like AAA and Progressive offer a personal injury add-on.
  • Roommate property—Your policy protects your belongings, not the belongings of your roommate. Most companies allow you to add a roommate to your policy, but make sure the value of both of your belongings combined won’t exceed the personal property coverage limit.
  • Valuable items—Items of high value like jewelry, artwork, and antiques aren’t covered under personal property because they exceed the personal property coverage limit. However, almost all companies offer add-ons for scheduled personal property or jewelry.
  • Car damage—Your policy protects any belongings in your car, but it doesn’t protect the car itself. Any damage to your car should be reported to your auto insurance provider.
Renters Insurances Adobe Licensed

How Much Does Renters Insurance Cost?

The Insurance Information Institute conducted a study in 2019 that found that renters across the country paid about $15 per month, or $180 per year, for renters insurance. However, the cost of your policy will depend on a few factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Claims history
  • Age of your building
  • Credit score
  • Safety features
  • Pets
  • Proximity to a fire hydrant and fire station
  • Susceptibility to natural disasters
  • Cost of living

How to Find the Best Renters Insurance

Now that you know what to expect from a renters insurance policy, use these tips to help you find the right policy:

  • Get a quote from your auto insurance provider—With all of the insurance companies available, it can be difficult to know which company is best for you. The best place to start is with your car insurance provider because you can get a discount for bundling your two insurance policies.
  • Decide the type of customer service you prefer—Some companies have 24/7 customer service, while others only have customer service during business hours. If you prefer to handle claims yourself, this factor won’t affect your choice much because most companies will have a portal and mobile app to manage your policy and claims.
  • Determine your budget—The average renters insurance policy costs $15 per month, but it can go as low as $5 and be more than $30.
  • Talk to your landlord about renters insurance requirements—Before purchasing a policy, talk to your landlord about any requirements they have. Renters insurance mostly protects you and your belongings, but you want to make sure you also fulfill any landlord requirements before choosing a policy.

Compare Renters Insurance Companies

Compare the coverage provided by our top renters insurance picks:

Renters Insurance Options Breakdown

Companies Allstate American Family State Farm
Companies Allstate American Family State Farm
Monthly price About $16 Less than $15 About $12
Personal property coverage limits $25,000–$150,000 $10,000–$100,000 No limit
Liability coverage limits $100,000, $200,000, $300,000, or $500,000 $100,000, $300,000, or $500,000 $100,000, $300,000, $400,000, $500,000, $750,000 or $1,000,000
Available discounts 5 5 2

Our Conclusion

A typical renters insurance policy will offer personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments to other coverage. We recommend getting renters insurance quotes from at least three providers to compare coverage, pricing, and discounts.

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