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Renters Insurance 101

Are you renting an apartment? If so, keep in mind that it’s up to you to protect your personal belongings from damage or theft with renters insurance.

Your landlord insures the building in which you live. However, it’s up to you to protect what is inside your apartment? As a renter, you need insurance to cover your personal things, such as clothing, furniture or electronic equipment.

Plus, renter's insurance protects you if someone gets hurt in your apartment or breaks something. For example, a friend visits your apartment and trips over a rug, breaking an arm. Not only may your renters insurance cover the medical costs (depending on the policy) but also the cell phone your friend broke when tripped.

Personal property coverage

A renter's policy protects your things, such as an iPod or computer, from theft in your apartment or anywhere in the world. The coverage may extend to fire damage, weather damage, explosion, smoke, vandalism, and plumbing leakage.

Additional property coverage options

Depending on the extent of your possessions, you may require additional coverage for your individual needs. You can buy additional coverage for the following:

  • Contents Replacement Cost: pays to repair or replace most personal property in your apartment with no deduction for depreciation.
  • Valuable Items Plus: provides higher limits and worldwide protection for special property such as jewelry, fine art, cameras, computers, and musical instruments for an extended variety of losses.
  • Additional Coverage Endorsement (ACE): extends protection or increases limits on special types of property (for example: jewelry or silverware). This coverage also increases personal liability coverage by $100,000 and includes coverage for personal injury.

Personal liability protection

If you are sued, your renter's personal liability protection helps cover the associated legal costs and related damages. Most renters policies provide $100,000 (minimum) of financial protection against liability claims and/or lawsuits brought by others for accidental bodily injury or damage to their property while

  • in your apartment ,
  • as a result of your personal activities, including most sports, or
  • caused by your children or pets.

Additional living expenses

If you must move out of your apartment for a period due to a covered hazard such as fire, the policy might pay you up to 20% of the contents coverage for necessary additional living expenses (hotel, meals, laundry, etc.) while your damaged apartment is being repaired.

Improvements

Many renters spend considerable time and money on alterations or redecorating. Under a renter’s policy, you may apply for up to 10% of your contents coverage to repair or replace these damaged improvements.

Conducting a Personal Property Inventory

It's important to inventory your apartment and possessions. It will save you precious time and frustration later. A personal property inventory is important because it:

  • guarantees that you have sufficient coverage
  • makes it easier for you to file a complete and prompt claim, supported by accurate documentation

What is a personal property inventory?

A complete inventory includes the following information about each item on your inventory list:

  • The room in the house where it's located
  • Item description and quantity
  • Purchase date
  • Place of purchase
  • Original cost
  • Estimated current value
  • Serial and model number (if applicable)
  • An accompanying photographs of each item
  • Receipts and current appraisals for the most valuable items

No one can ever be prepared for a loss due to theft or damage, but make sure you take the necessary steps to reduce the stress from the aftermath. It’s only after a loss, that many people find out they were not sufficiently covered.