Unlike homeowners, renters are not often required to have insurance. However, this does not mean that you should skip this coverage.
As a renter, you might not realize how valuable an insurance policy can be. Learn why you should never be without renters insurance, as well as what benefits you can expect to receive when you have a policy with good coverage.
You're Not Covered by Owner Policies
Some renters mistakenly assume that their landlord’s insurance policy will cover some of their losses in an emergency. This is not usually the case. Landlords and owners of rental properties do have insurance, but the insurance is to protect the building itself — it is not in place to protect the belongings of the residents.
For example, if a fire starts in your building, the owner can rebuild with money from their insurance company. But all of the damage done to your belongings, including items lost in the fire, will not be covered under traditional policies. This is true even if the fire was not your fault. You need to have a separate policy for your own possessions in case of flooding, earthquakes, fire, or even vandalism.
Your renters insurance can even replace your bike or any items stolen from your car if either of these vehicles are parked on the rental property. The owner of the rental property, on the other hand, will not be liable for stolen property.
Of course, you can always try to find ways outside of insurance to recoup the losses you might experience.
For example, if flooding that caused damage to the building was caused by negligence, you might sue your landlord. But litigating court cases cost money, and you won't see any compensation for months as you work through the legal system. Instead, you should invest in a policy that can help you get back on your feet immediately.
You Can Still Be Liable for Injuries on the Property
Sometimes, people get injured on rental properties. When you live in a home that you own, your homeowners insurance policy covers injuries to others that occur on the property. On a rental property, liability for injuries can be more complicated.
Sometimes, the landlord can still be liable for injuries. If the injury was caused because of a lack of maintenance or some other form of negligence, the liability payment comes out of the landlord's insurance policy, and it does not affect you at all.
But if the injury occurred because of an action (or even a partial action) on your part, you could be liable for someone else's injuries. Say, for example, that your rental contract requires you to remove snow. If a visitors slips and falls because you haven't stayed on top of the task, you could be responsible for their injuries.
If you have renters insurance, your policy can cover personal injury lawsuits filed against you, even if the injuries came as a result of your negligence.
You Can Get Protection for Certain Belongings
A perk of renters insurance is that you can make sure that certain belongings you own have extra coverage. Some insurance companies will offer policies that cover things like cell phones and computers. If you depend on your phone or laptop, having extra insurance for drops, spills, and theft can give you greater peace of mind.
You can also get insurance for things like jewelry and heirlooms. Rental coverage might cap at a certain dollar amount, but it is nice to know that if you're saving your grandmother's wedding ring or have a few valuable coins that these can be covered at least in their monetary value.
When you look into getting a renters policy, make sure you’re aware of what's covered. Sometimes, valuable instruments and items that are worth thousands of dollars might need separate policies.
You Have a Place to Go in Emergency Situations
When you own your own home, your homeowners insurance does more than cover your belongings and your physical property. It also provides a way for you to have housing while you look for a new place to live.
In a rental situation, you can be displaced in a matter of a few hours because of a flood or a fire. You can also suddenly be evicted from the property without sufficient time to find a new home, especially in competitive markets.
In situations such as these, your renters insurance is your safety net. It provides you with the means to live in a nearby hotel or pay for other accommodations while you find a new place to live. Some policies might even cover temporary relocation costs, including the price tag that comes with hiring movers.
Check with your insurance company to make sure that your policy covers these costs.
Renters insurance is a must-have for any tenant. Contact us at L.A. Insurance for more information on renters insurance policies.