Tenant Insurance 101
We give you the DL on everything you need to know about tenant insurance.
So you’ve just landed the perfect apartment! It’s clean, close to work and has all the amenities you love. But between picking out new furniture and organizing the logistics of your move, you’ll need to find the time to think about tenant insurance.
From sentimental jewelry to pricey electronics, you’ll want to protect your valuables in the event of an emergency. While most people think of home insurance that protects a homeowner’s house, it’s also available for renters to protect their belongings.
What is tenant insurance?
For those living in a leased or rented home, tenant insurance is the best way to protect your belongings. This coverage is very helpful in the event of a fire, break-in or any other situation beyond your control.
A renters insurance policy typically includes three key benefits that will protect you after a covered loss.
Coverage for your personal property
The loss of your most treasured belongings can be devastating. Personal property coverage (also known as contents coverage) will take care of the cost to replace damaged or stolen belongings, up to the limits of your policy. Items can include furniture, clothing, electronics and jewelry.
Protection for accidents or injuries
If someone gets injured in your home, you could be held responsible even if you didn’t personally cause the accident. Liability coverage will take care of several costs, including property damage, medical expenses and even legal fees if required. It'll also protect you if you accidentally injure or damage someone’s property anywhere in the world.
Coverage in case you need to relocate
If your apartment is damaged and needs to be repaired, this coverage will help with the costs of relocating until your place is fixed up. Hotel bills, restaurant tabs and other miscellaneous costs can be taken care of until you move back home.
Is tenant insurance mandatory?
Although tenant insurance isn't required by law, uninsured tenants are certainly missing out on key benefits and taking quite a risk with their stuff. Whether you live in a condo or rent a townhome, many lease agreements will include a requirement for tenant insurance. Although, it’s important to note this is a condition put out by the landlord, not the government.
Tenant insurance is particularly valuable for renters who may not have a cash reserve to deal with unexpected costs. In the event of an emergency, you could be forced to pay out of pocket to cover your losses. When you choose not to invest in renters insurance, you open yourself up to other risks, including:
Being responsible for all property damages
Being left without a place to live in the event of a disaster
Being on the hook for legal fees
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Why bother if my landlord already has insurance?
Your landlord might have some form of insurance, but it’ll be designed to protect their interests. A landlord’s home insurance policy will typically cover building damage, liability and loss of rental income. What it won’t cover is the replacement of your personal belongings, or any expenses you incur if you have to move out. Look out for your best interests with a renters policy that puts your needs first.
I’m a student. Do I need tenant insurance for my dorm?
Your college dorm may be temporary, but it has all the things you’ve come to expect at your family home. From expensive laptops to musical instruments, student residences are filled with valuables. Theft can happen on and off-campus, so it’s important that you protect your belongings no matter where you are.
Renters insurance is recommended, even if you’re away from home temporarily. With all the stresses of the academic school year, avoid burdening yourself with the financial fallout from an emergency. Basic tenant insurance is often enough to take care of your most important valuables.
Putting insurance into perspective
Without rental property insurance, you could be risking everything you own. Monthly premiums can be quite affordable; often about the cost of a few lattes per week, which is a small price to pay for some peace of mind. Your personal belongings are worth more than you know, and while sentimental value can’t be replaced, tenant insurance can at least make things financially manageable in case of emergency.