It’s true that your landlord probably has insurance, but it probably is not doing much – if anything – to protect you and your financial interests in the event of a loss. While a landlord’s policy typically covers damages to the structure of your apartment building or rental unit, it is up to you as a tenant to purchase coverage for your own belongings and risks. At Giuffre Insurance, we can show you just how easy and affordable it can be to find renters insurance that covers damages to your belongings, pays for your displacement costs, and even shields you against potential liability.
What is Renters Insurance?
A renters insurance policy is coverage that is custom-tailored to the unique needs and risk exposures of a tenant. In many cases, the coverage is required in the terms of a lease agreement, although we typically recommend renters insurance to anyone who is renting property. With the right policy and coverage limits, your insurance could protect you against a wide range of loss events, such as fire, explosion, smoke, wind, theft, and vandalism. In most cases, renters insurance policies are very affordable, especially considering they could save policy-holders tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss-related damages.
Types of Coverage in a Renters Policy
Renters insurance typically includes a compilation of several different types of protection, each offering different benefits. This may include protection for:
The cumulative value of the belongings inside your apartment is probably much higher than you might assume, even if you purchased your items second-hand. Personal property insurance covers the things you own, from the big-ticket items like furniture and electronics to the smaller possessions in your apartment, like your lemon zester and your candlestick holders. While replacing one or two items might not cost a lot, replacing everything you own could cost tens of thousands of dollars – money you could avoid spending if you have adequate personal property coverage.
A typical renters policy covers damages caused by many different types of perils, such as fire, wind, and fallen objects. It can also help protect your belongings when you carry them elsewhere besides home. For example, if your wallet, laptop, and cellphone are stolen from your locked car while you are at the park with your kids, renters insurance can help cover the damages up to the limits of your policy. Although the claims are typically subject to your deductible, it could save you thousands in losses.
If you do not know the value of your belongings, consider taking inventory of your home, recording each item you own room-by-room. Be sure to include your apparel, shoes, and accessories, as well as your home décor. Keep in mind that certain items may be excluded from personal property coverage or may otherwise be subject to additional limitations. Always talk to your agent if you do business from your home or if you own high-value belongings, such as fine jewelry, firearms, or fine art.
You should also review your personal belongings coverage to determine whether your items are insured for their actual cash value or the replacement value. Replacement value coverage reimburses you for the cost of replacing your damaged or stolen items with a new one of comparative value. Actual cash value coverage, on the other hand, only compensates you for the depreciated value of your belongings – not enough to cover the cost of replacement.
Sometimes rental properties are so badly damaged that tenants must find somewhere else to live until their homes are repaired or they can find a new permanent residence. Renters insurance typically covers the cost of displacement, helping to pay for necessary living expenses like hotel charges, laundry fees, and even the cost of feeding your family restaurant meals until you have access to a kitchen again.
Liability coverage helps pay for your defense costs and judgments against you if you or another member of your household is sued for third-party injuries or damages. Although some incidents, such as car accidents, are excluded, renters liability protection typically extends to accidents occurring in your home and also extends to damages caused away from home, such as while your child is at school or you are on your morning bike ride.
We typically recommend purchasing high-limit liability protection, as any damages more than your coverage limits are still your responsibility to pay. If your insurance limits are too low, you could be forced to liquidate savings or make payments from future income to satisfy an outstanding debt. At Giuffre Insurance, we are happy to help you determine your risk vulnerabilities and make recommendations for ways you can reduce your losses in the event of a lawsuit.
Making the Most of Your Renters Coverage
At Giuffre Insurance, we know how to help you make the most of your renters policy. We can explain the details of your coverage, help you select limits, and explain the differences in available deductibles. Though renters premiums are generally low compared to other types of coverage, as an independent agency, we are committed to helping you maximize your savings by shopping and comparing coverage from multiple Wisconsin insurers.
We can also show you additional ways of saving money on insurance. This may include raising your deductible to lower your premiums or qualifying for money-saving discounts for things like:
- Having no claims against your policy
- Purchasing additional lines of coverage, such as auto insurance
- Paying your premiums in full instead of in monthly installments
- Implementing home security features, such as a monitored anti-theft alarm