Housing: Renter’s Insurance

Renters-insurance-bdf14eWhat is Renter’s Insurance? ¬†Renter’s Insurance is essentially a “personal property” insurance. ¬†Meaning it covers your personally owned items within the dwelling, while the homeowner carries “Landlord Insurance” that covers the structure (and that is different from typical Homeowner’s Insurance).

Why do I need it? ¬†If you, as a renter, experience theft, fire or water damage, Renter’s Insurance will help you replace those items. ¬†If you experience a catastrophic loss, you will be VERY thankful for this coverage. ¬†Some companies also offer personal liability coverage, which would cover injury to another person on your property.

Is it ever provided by the Landlord? ¬†Yes, you may find some complexes or housing authorities provide a limited amount of personal property insurance, but it typically isn’t enough to cover a service member with dependents and all of their belongings. Check your lease or contact the property management office or landlord to find out what is offered.

Can it be required?  Yes, your landlord can require that you provide proof of personal property and/or personal liability insurance in the lease.  If the terms of your lease require this, you must maintain the insurance until you move out and letting it lapse can be grounds for eviction.

Renters insurance can protect you in the following ways:

  • Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your personal belongings in case of fire or theft (although you may need to purchase a special rider for jewelry or other high-value items that exceed the coverage of a typical policy)
  • May cover expenses (hotel, meals out, and laundry) if you have to leave your rented home during repairs
  • May include personal liability protection against lawsuits if someone is accidentally injured in your rented home
  • Provides coverage for your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen outside your home
  • May provide limited coverage for credit card fraud or check forgery
  • Gives continuous coverage as you move your military household goods in and out of on-installation and off-installation housing

Renter’s insurance typically isn’t very expensive, especially when you consider what it provides. Do your homework when looking for a quote – start with your current insurance provider (vehicle or homeowner’s) and find out if they offer renter’s insurance and provide a discount if you have more than one policy with them. ¬†When we moved to this current duty station, we became landlords, so our insurance carrier covered our vehicles, our renter’s insurance and our landlord insurance and we received a significant discount because of this. ¬†Now that we are close to moving from this duty station, we are shopping around and finding that we may get a better deal with a local insurance broker.

Shop around! ¬†Call a local insurance broker for quotes. ¬†Let them know you are shopping around and looking to keep your business local. They will work hard to get you the best deal. If you call a broker that represents one company, don’t be afraid to call another local broker and let them know you are shopping around to see if they can provide a better quote. Lastly, don’t forget about those companies that don’t use brokers: ¬†USAA, GEICO, Esurance, etc. ¬†Sometimes the online companies really can beat the quotes – if not for all of your insurance needs, most likely for one policy or another. ¬†Do what works best for your budget.

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