Insurance 101 – Renters Insurance

Home is where the heart is, and maybe all of your stuff too But if you're among the one-third of all U

S households that rents, your stuff may not be protected should you suffer a fire or theft While the landlord, or owner of the building you live in likely carries insurance, that insurance only provides coverage for the building itself, not your personal property inside that building Where would you get coverage for your furnishings, clothing and electronics? The answer is Renter's insurance! A renter's policy offers protection for your personal property at your place of residence, or anywhere in the world, against covered losses Examples of some covered losses include lightning, wind or hail, and the previously mentioned fire and theft Renter's insurance, like a homeowners policy, has two sections: property coverage and liability coverage

The main difference between the two policies is the property coverage section under a renters policy does not cover the building you live in or other structures on the property – only your personal belongings inside that building This section of the policy also includes coverage for small alterations or additions you may have made to your rental at your own expense A renter's policy also provides Loss of Use coverage for any additional living expenses you incur when you have lost the use of your home For example, should you have to vacate your apartment due to a fire in the building, this coverage would pay for the additional cost of a hotel, or other temporary living expenses you would not normally have until the damage to your apartment can be repaired The second part of a renter's policy provides liability and medical payments coverages

Liability coverage protects you and your guests for unintended damage to your rental, or for an accident that occurs in your home For example, if you were to leave the water running and flood your apartment (and maybe the one below), your liability coverage would pay for the damages (up to the policy's limit, of course) And should the tenant of that apartment below you choose to sue you for their damages, this coverage could also defend you against a lawsuit and help pay for the expenses associated with that lawsuit Medical Payments Coverage pays for medical bills incurred by guests injured on your property It also covers injury you cause to someone else while you're away from home

So should a guest in your home fall and injure themselves, or if you poke someone in the eye with your umbrella while getting on the bus, your renters policy would cover their medical expenses, as well as any legal fees incurred because of the incident This coverage does not, however, cover your own medical bills if you are injured Your health insurance would take effect in this situation Additional liability coverages under a renters policy include claims expenses, first aid expenses, damage to property of others, and loss assessment While renter's insurance is an important coverage for anyone who rents their home, it's a common misconception that if a renter is still in college, their parent's homeowner's policy will cover their belongings if the unthinkable happens

While there may be limited coverage for this personal property, the truth is, anyone who rents their residence – including college students – should have a renters policy to protect their possessions in the event of a loss If disaster strikes, the cost of all your belongings can add up quickly Fortunately, renters insurance is extremely affordable Talk to your independent insurance agent today to learn more about how to protect your belongings with a low-cost renter's insurance policy