Renter’s Insurance generally provides:
- Personal Property Contents Coverage — protects your personal property and belongings in the case of fire, theft, and other perils covered in your policy.
- Additional Living Expenses — pays for your living expenses if the living space you rent becomes unlivable due to fire, theft or other damage to your home.
- Personal Liability — protects you against claims someone else makes against you.
- Premises Medical Coverage — pays the medical expenses of others accidentally injured on the property that you rent.
Renter’s insurance premiums will depend on your amount of coverage. You may be eligible for discounts if you purchase both your renter's insurance and auto insurance through the same company. Check with your insurance provider to find discounts. Also you can view our Homeowners Premium Cost Comparison.
- "Named Peril" is the most common renter’s or homeowner's policy. It will cover personal belongings against specifically named events such as fire, explosion, smoke, vandalism, and water-related damage. The burden of proof is on the claimant, who must show that a loss was caused by a named peril.
- "Open Peril" provides coverage for any reason not specifically excluded. Because there is more coverage under this policy, this kind of insurance is more expensive. The burden of proof is on the insurance company to show that coverage is excluded.
- As the name implies, “actual cash value” reimburses you for the value of your property at the time of the claim and accounts for depreciation of your belongings. Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, will reimburse the full value of the items you buy to replace your belongings.
- Let’s say you lose an audio system that was purchased five years ago, and you make a claim. If you have actual cash value coverage, you will be reimbursed for the current value of the system, but this may result in a lower claim payment than you expect. Meanwhile, replacement cost coverage will reimburse you for the cost of a new audio system, after you purchase the new system and submit your receipts. Although the up-front cost is greater for replacement cost, you are more likely to receive better compensation for your lost possessions.
- It is also important to remember that the value of the dollar changes over time. Your audio system may have cost $1,000 when you bought it, but the same audio system may cost $1,200 now. Be sure that your insurance policy accounts for the cost of your belongings in today’s dollars.
- Students often bring their most valuable possessions to college: their laptops, tablets, bikes or guitars. Students living away from home can experience loss of these belongings through events like fires and thefts.
- For college students who live on- or off-campus housing, personal belongings can be covered with their own policies or through an extension of their parents’ homeowner or renter's insurance policies. If a college student is under 24 years old, enrolled in classes and living in on-campus housing, the student may be covered under his or her parents’ policy. On average, a dependent is covered for up to 10 percent of the parent's content coverage. For example, if the content coverage on the parent's policy is $100,000, the student's coverage would be for up to $10,000 in losses.
- However, if a student is independent and living in an apartment, a separate renter’s policy would be appropriate. Check with your insurance agent for the specific provisions of your policy.
Create a Home Inventory
Make a list of your belongings before disaster strikes - If you ever have to file a claim, the insurance company will ask for proof of purchase for all items reported on the claim. You should have a comprehensive list of all possessions, including purchase prices, model numbers, and serial numbers; the list should also include pictures of your belongings, especially any high end valuables. You can start simple by using a pad and pencil, but know there are many versions of home inventory checklists available online and as apps for smartphones - and these versions are detailed and thorough. If you create a physical document, be sure to store a copy in a safe place away from your home, or create an electronic copy and email it to yourself.