Why You Should Have Renters Insurance for Your Apartment

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Tragedy can strike unexpectedly. It is one of those lovely lessons that life has taught me, and if you haven't learned that yet, you will. But whether you have experienced a tragedy (loss of loved one, a home fire, floods, etc.), or not, one thing is certain, being prepared can save you a tremendous amount of pain, heartache, time, and money.

One such way that you can be prepared is by having renters insurance. If you are currently renting an apartment, or will be renting an apartment, use the following to help you understand why you should have renter's insurance.

Things Covered by Renters Insurance

The following items are covered by renters insurance, and are not limited to just the following. This will give you an idea of the things that can be recovered (usually by replacement) by renters insurance.

  • Computer
  • TV
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Jewelry
  • Electronics (stereo, iPod, iPad, phones)
  • Musical instruments
  • Liability of injury (in the event a guest gets injured in your apartment)

What Your Landlord Covers in Insurance

Most likely your apartment complex and/or landlord only has insurance covering the building as a whole, not your personal belongings.

What this means is that if a fire happens (even smoke damage) within the building, your landlord may not be liable for damages to your belongings. It also means if your apartment gets broken into, your landlord is NOT liable for stolen items.

In short, your landlord is looking out for the building, the structure you live in, and not your personal belongings. This alone is the single most important reason to get renters insurance, but an even further breakdown below shows just how common and how much renters insurance covers.

Cost of Renters Insurance

Cost varies with insurance companies, and also the amount of coverage can vary. Here are three quotes based on my information to give you a quick idea of quote amounts and differences

 
Liberty Mutual
American Family
Allstate
Deductible
$500
$500
$500
Personal Property Coverage
$50,000
$50,000
$50,000
Liability
$100,000
$10,000
$10,000
Guest Medical Expenses
$1000
$1000
$1000
Price per month
$35.08
$10.30
$16.00

Renters Insurance in Apartment Lease

When getting into a new apartment, all the paperwork and moving is overwhelming. Almost one hundred percent of the tenants I process for move-in don't take the time to read, or keep a copy of their lease, even when I highly advise it and provide a copy for them. And even though I read over it with them in person, it is human nature and understandable with all the changes and work in moving that they soon forget everything except how much rent is and when it is due.

Some apartments will require that you carry renters insurance. Some will have you provide proof, while others will state that it is your responsibility within the lease. Either way, be familiar with what your lease requires of you in regards to renters insurance.

To find out what your lease says about renters insurance, do the following:

  • Ask your landlord/apartment manager specifically about renters insurance
  • Check your copy of the lease
  • If you don't have a copy of your lease, request a copy from your landlord/apartment manager

Renters Insurance for Natural Disasters

One of the most common perspectives on renters insurance is that it can assist in the event of a natural disaster. Remember, the landlord's insurance will fix the building and structure, but not your belongings. Renters insurance may cover and is not limited to the following:

  • A windstorm/hail/lightning damage
  • A fire and smoke damage
  • Tsunamis/Rain damage
  • Floods typically are not covered (depends on insurance company), but can purchased as an extra
  • Tornadoes/Tropical Storms

Renters Insurance for Thefts

This is one of my greatest fears, having someone break into your home (apartment) and steal items. It is such a violation, which is why I take precautions against it by putting in wood dowels so the windows can't open unless they are out. In the event that this doesn't deter criminal behavior, I also have renters insurance to take care of stolen items.

An apartment fire in Massachusetts
An apartment fire in Massachusetts | Source

Renters Insurance for Apartment Damages

Your renters insurance should cover damages that happen within your apartment, or perhaps a neighboring apartment.

Being an apartment manager I had an opportunity to meet with a young lady who had experienced a fire in her last apartment, which resulted in a total loss of everything. I didn't ask if she had renters insurance, but by the sound of things, it didn't sound like it. She had struggled to replace items on her own through donations or saving up and purchasing them later. My advice was to purchase renters insurance, because some of the following scenarios may happen.

  • A fire (neighbor starts a fire, or a short in your apartment causes one)
  • Smoke damage from an apartment fire
  • Flooding due to broken pipes/tubs/toilets
  • Damage due to a frozen pipe break
  • Washer/Dryer causes damage (washer overflows or drains wrong)

Renters Insurance for Bodily Injury

Another good thing about renters insurance is that while it can't protect your guests from physical harm, it can assist in paying the bills in the event it happens.

Imagine that your grandma slipped and fell at your apartment, causing an injury. Your renters insurance may cover her medical expenses or cover you in the event granny wants to sue you. Trust me, when granny comes at you with a $100k lawsuit, your renters insurance will have your back.

Involuntary Unemployment Insurance

Some insurance companies may also provide an involuntary unemployment insurance as part of your renters insurance, usually for a few dollars more a month.

What this does is provides a specified amount (depending on which insurance coverage you buy) to be paid out for rent in the event of involuntary termination of employment, a strike, or a layoff. Your rent can be taken care of for a few months while you search for employment or wait out a strike.

This is not available in all states or with all insurances, and if it is, will most likely require a larger payment each month.

As an Eagle Scout, I suggest "be prepared". As an apartment manager, I give the same advice by being prepared through insuring your apartment with renters insurance. If you think you are immune to tragedy, think again. Is it better to spend several extra dollars a month to ensure that you can replace belongings? The peace of mind you will have when tragedy does arise will be more than worth the cost of a few dollars a month.

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Comments 3 comments

glockr profile image

glockr 4 years ago

Great advice. Also - for landlords, it's a good idea to make sure your tenants know that your property owner's insurance will not cover their personal property. Some don't know.


tipstoretireearly profile image

tipstoretireearly 4 years ago from New York

Even if you're not worried about your belongings, its important to get renter's insurance for the liability coverage. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and so its best to be prepared. Useful hub!


TKisling 3 years ago

If you are thinking of going with State Farm renters insurance, read this first!

My girlfriend and I moved into an old apartment building in Brooklyn and after making the place look nice and dealing with a near miss from a broken radiator we decided to get renters insurance. We put the word out on Facebook, checked sites like this and asked around. We decided to go with State Farm renters insurance.

The policy we got is $180 per year, which is about average. They specialize in apartment renters insurance so it seemed like a smart choice.

I am a musician and have a small music production room on the other end of the apartment from the bedroom. It is where I spend most of my time and do my work.

Early Wednesday morning my girlfriend woke me up, her words were "you are not going to like this".

My little music studio was a disaster. During the night water must have filled up the ceiling and burst through making a hole and blowing the glass light fixture out of the ceiling shattering it on the desk below along with lots of dirty water, debris and plaster. The only comfort I had was as I went through all my jacked up stuff was that it was covered by my State Farm renters insurance. We took pictures and got to work cleaning up and trying to dry things out. My girlfriend was amazing, she worked with me all morning cleaning and picking up glass, and getting things so that they were clean enough to be moved out of the room to dry.

Now the room is empty and it stinks, and the whole apartment smells like sewage. We bought a dehumidifier which we hope will help.

The only thing that was getting me through was the idea that State Farm would make it right.

After a long phone call, State Farm said it was not covered, none if it! They said that whoever fixed the roof so water could leak in was liable.

I have this phrase stuck in my head "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." and it makes the whole mess so much more painful to deal with.

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