Renters Insurance

What Is Renters Insurance

Renters insurance provides people in rental housing with coverage for loss or damage to their personal property, and also with liability coverage in case somebody is injured while in the rental premises. Approximately one third of renters carry insurance. The rest do not, placing themselves at considerable potential financial risk.

Your Landlord's Insurance Doesn't Cover Your Losses and Liabilties

Some renters believe that because their landlords carry insurance, they don't need to have their own coverage. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A landlord's policy typically applies to the physical structure of the building and to any common areas, but does not cover a tenant's property or injuries which occur within rental units as a result of tenants' negligence. This means that the landlord may be insured if a pipe breaks or a sewer backs up, or if the building burns down, for any damage to the building or to property owned by the landlord, but coverage will not ordinarily extend to any property belonging to tenants property that is also damaged or destroyed. A landlord's policy also won't cover injuries caused by a tenant's pets.

Other People's Insurance Policies Probably Won't Apply

Typically, even where people live as roommates, a renter's policy held by one roommate will not cover the property of the other. While sometimes a parent's homeowner's insurance policy will cover the property of a student who lives in a college dormitory, students should check their parents' policy language before assuming that their property will be covered. Even where coverage is available to a student through a parent's insurance policy, the coverage will rarely extend to off-campus housing.

Protect Yourself

If you are a renter, take a look at your property and ask yourself how much it would cost to replace it, in the event it was lost, destroyed, or stolen. That will give you an idea of the amount of renters' insurance you should carry. If you then contact an insurance agency about renters' coverage, based upon the estimated value of your property, you will likely be surprised at how affordable the coverage will be.

Copyright © 2003 Aaron Larson, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was first published on Aug 1, 2003, and was last reviewed or amended on Jan 17, 2015.