Renters Insurance FAQ

Renters Insurance FAQ

Getting Renters Insurance

Many people who look for rentals for the first time don’t know that they might want to get insurance.  Renters insurance covers everything inside a “dwelling.”  In addition, people who look for townhomes and condos for sale can will often be able to get renters insurance vs the more expensive “home owner’s policy.”  There tends to be a lot of questions around renters insurance so we wanted to create a FAQ (or Frequently Asked Questions) around Renter’s Insurance.  We figured if you were going to pay for it, might as well know how to shop for renters insurance.

Q: “What does renters insurance cover?”
A: Depending on your coverage options, a renter’s insurance policy covers your personal items lost due to:

  • theft
  • fire
  • lightning
  • smoke
  • windstorms
  • hail
  • vandalism
  • Some policies cover living expenses if you’re forced to live elsewhere due to a covered loss.

Q: “What Does My Landlord’s Policy Cover then?”
A: In most cases, a landlord’s insurance only covers structural damage to the home. The easiest way to look at it is this, the Landlord’s policy covers the outside and the renter’s policy covers the “stuff” on the inside.

Q: “Do I really need renters insurance?”
A: It depends.  Do you own anything that should it be stolen, burned or destroyed that you would want it replaced or are you ok replacing those items out of your own pocket?  According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rented property is 79% more likely to be burglarized than an owned property.  

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Q: “How does renters insurance reimburse lost, stolen or damaged items?”
A: There are two basic types of renters insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost coverage. Actual cash value pays the cost to replace your items minus the depreciated value. Replacement cost coverage reimburses the full amount you paid for the items. Replacement cost coverage is typically going to lead to higher renters insurance rates, but pays out more should you file a claim.

Q: “How does the insurance company know what to pay me when something is damaged or stolen?”
A:  The best option is to have the receipts along with the make and model of every item you’d like to get reimbursed for.  Some of the more common ways to ensure that you get the full amount is recording a video of the items in the home just in case something does happen.  Upload the video to a cloud service like dropbox.  

Q: “Do college students need renters insurance?”
A: College students “renting” dorms or living off-campus are essentially no different then anyone else. According to the Insurance Journal, the average student will bring between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of personal property to college. Most landlords’ policies only cover the exterior and infrastructure of the building, leaving the student responsible for his/her personal possessions.

Q: “What’s liability insurance? What does it cover?”
A: Personal liability protection covers unintentional bodily injury and property damage. For example, if a guest in your home is unintentionally injured and sues you for damages, personal liability insurance protects you against financial loss up to your policy limit. It may also help cover legal defense costs.

Q: “Is my roommate insured under my renters insurance policy?”
A:  The short answer is, no.  There could be instances where this is the exception.  Before you sign you should check with the insurance agent.

Q: “Are expensive items covered?”
A: Anything that is “unique” such as jewelry or expensive cutting edge technology tools or antiques require an extra rider and declaration. 

Q: “Who pays living expenses while my home is being repaired due to damage?”
A: The loss of use provision in your renters insurance policy should cover your temporary housing expenses while your home is being repaired. However, depending on your policy, coverage may be limited to a few months or a fixed dollar amount. Check with your insurance agent for specifics.

Q: “What else does renters insurance cover?”
A: Renters insurance can extend beyond the occasional household theft or damage. If your luggage is stolen while on vacation, some renters insurance policies will reimburse your losses. If an item is stolen from your car, it will likely be covered by renters insurance too.

Q: “How much does renters insurance cost?”
A: According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of a renters insurance policy is between $15-$30 per month.

Q: “How can I find the best renters insurance rate?”
A: Renters insurance is already a bargain, but there’s no reason a great deal can’t be made even better. Keeping a healthy credit score, installing home security devices (with the approval of your landlord) and investing in multi-line policies (auto and renters insurance with the same company) are just a few ways you can save on renters insurance.

Comparing quotes and coverage from several different companies is the best way to find an affordable renters insurance policy. Get free, no-obligation renters insurance quotes from top companies!


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Joshua Jarvis

Joshua and his family have served Gwinnett County for over 20 years, specializing in homes for sale in Buford, Braselton, Hoschton and areas in the north Gwinnett area. Jarvis Team Realty has sold over 1,000 homes all over Atlanta